Tax Alerts

Most Canadians contemplate retirement with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation. While the benefits of an end to the day-to-day grind of work and commuting (while also having more free time to spend with family and friends) are undeniable, giving up a regular paycheque also means experiencing a degree of financial anxiety. For the majority of Canadians who are not members of a defined benefit pension plan, the overriding concern is how to manage retirement savings in a way that will generate sufficient income to provide a comfortable retirement, while still ensuring that accrued savings will last the remainder of one’s life. How, in other words, to avoid the dismal prospect of outliving one’s savings, or spending too much early in retirement and being left with insufficient income to meet one’s expenses late in life? And, of course, it’s impossible to find a definitive answer to that question, since none of us knows what the future holds, in terms of either health or longevity.

By the time summer arrives, nearly all Canadians have filed their income tax returns for the previous year, have received a Notice of Assessment from the tax authorities with respect to that return, and have either received their tax refund or, more grudgingly, paid any balance of tax owing.

By this time of the year, virtually all Canadian residents have filed their income tax return for 2023 and have received the Notice of Assessment issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) with respect to that tax filing. Most taxpayers, therefore, would consider that their annual filing and payment obligations are done and behind them for another year.

Most Canadians, understandably, think of our income tax system as a government “program” that takes money out of their paycheques and out of their pockets. And, while it’s certainly true that virtually every Canadian who earns an income must allocate a portion of that income to paying federal and provincial personal income taxes, that’s not the whole picture. Our tax system does, in fact, provide Canadians with a number of direct benefits, through a variety of tax credit and benefit programs which actually put money into the hands of Canadians. And when that money can be obtained with minimal effort (and be received tax-free) it’s a win-win for the recipient.

Two quarterly newsletters have been added – one dealing with personal issues, and one dealing with corporate issues.

The Canadian tax system is a “self-assessing” one, in which taxpayers are expected (and, in most cases, required) to file an individual income tax return each spring. On that return the taxpayer provides a summary of income earned during the previous calendar year and claims available deductions and credits. Those calculations determine the amount of tax owed for the year and any amount owed must then, of course, be paid on or before April 30.

As the school year draws to a close, the thoughts of millions of Canadian parents turn to the question of how to find – and pay for – child care throughout the summer months. While many Canadians are still able to work from home for some portion of the work week, few (if any) have the kind of work arrangement which allows them to dispense entirely with child care arrangements during the summer months.

Each spring and summer, tens of thousands of Canadian families sell their homes and move – sometimes to a bigger and better property in the same town or city, and sometimes to a new city or even another province. At the same time, university students make the annual move from their university residences or apartments back to the family home for the summer. And, whatever the reason for the move or the distance to the new location, all moves have two things in common – stress and cost. Even where the move is a desired one, moving inevitably means upheaval of one’s life and the costs involved can be very significant. There is not much that can diminish the stress of moving, but the associated costs can be offset somewhat by a tax deduction which may be claimed for many of those costs.