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COVID-19 Update - April 8, 2020

Please click on this link for updates announced to the Federal Economic package provided to Canadian individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19.


COVID-19 Update - April 5, 2020

Please click on this link for updates announced to the Federal Economic package provided to Canadian individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19.


COVID-19 Update - March 26, 2020

Please click on this link for updates announced to the Federal Economic package provided to Canadian individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19.


COVID-19 Update - March 20, 2020

Please click on this link for information on the Federal Economic package announced for Canadian individuals and businesses.


Tax Alerts
February 23, 2021

Check out our newsletters that provide advice on topics that are important to both individuals and businesses!


Sometime during the month of February, millions of Canadians will receive mail from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). That mail, a “Tax Instalment Reminder”, will set out the amount of instalment payments of income tax to be paid by the recipient taxpayer by March 15 and June 15 of this year.


One of the biggest pandemic-related changes in the day-to-day lives of Canadians was the abrupt change to work-from-home arrangements. While such arrangements aren’t new — employees and the self-employed have been working from home for decades, ever since the available technology made such arrangements feasible — what changed in 2020 was the sheer number of Canadians who were working from home for the first time.


Under Canadian tax law, the general rule is that all amounts paid by an employer to his or her employees are treated as taxable income. That rule holds whether those amounts are paid as cash remuneration, or in the form of non-cash benefits. However, in some circumstances, that general rule is altered to permit employees to receive certain non-cash benefits on a tax-free, or tax-advantaged, basis.


For most taxpayers, the first few months of the year are a seemingly unending series of bills and payment deadlines. During January and February, many Canadians are still trying to pay off the bills from holiday spending. The first income tax instalment payment of 2021 is due on March 15 and the need to pay any tax balance for the 2020 tax year comes just 6 weeks after that, on April 30. Added to all of that, the deadline for making an RRSP contribution for 2020 falls on March 1, 2021.


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


The Employment Insurance premium rate for 2021 is unchanged at 1.58%.


The Quebec Pension Plan contribution rate for 2021 is set at 5.9% of pensionable earnings for the year.


The Canada Pension Plan contribution rate for 2021 is set at 5.45% of pensionable earnings for the year.


Dollar amounts on which individual non-refundable federal tax credits for 2021 are based, and the actual tax credit claimable, will be as follows:


The indexing factor for federal tax credits and brackets for 2021 is 1.0%. The following federal tax rates and brackets will be in effect for individuals for the 2021 tax year.


Each new tax year brings with it a listing of tax payment and filing deadlines, as well as some changes with respect to tax planning strategies. Some of the more significant dates and changes for individual taxpayers for 2021 are listed below.


Planning for – or even thinking about – next year’s taxes when it’s not yet even mid-December may seem more than a little premature. However, most Canadians will start paying their taxes for 2021 with the first paycheque they receive in January, and it’s worth taking a bit of time to make sure that things start off – and stay – on the right foot.


During the month of December, it’s customary for employers to provide something “extra” for their employees, by way of a holiday gift, a year-end bonus or an employer-sponsored social event. And while the annual office holiday party definitely won’t be happening in 2020, employees may still be able to look forward to something additional in the way of compensation during the last month of the year.


While Canadians benefit from a publicly funded health care system, there are nonetheless a significant (and increasing) number of medical and para-medical expenses which are not covered by provincial health care plans. As well, an increasing number of Canadians – who may work on contract or who hold several part-time jobs - do not have private insurance coverage for such costs through their employer.


Canadian Emergency Response Benefit

In March of this year, in response to the pandemic, the federal government announced and rolled out a number of benefit programs to assist individuals who had experienced a pandemic-related interruption in earnings.


Raising children is expensive and, in recognition of that fact, the federal government has, for more than half a century, provided financial assistance to parents to help with those costs. That assistance has ranged from monthly Family Allowance payments received by families during the 1960s to its current iteration, the Canada Child Benefit.


An increasing number of Canada’s baby boomers are moving into retirement with each passing year and, for most of those baby boomers, retirement looks a lot different than it did for their parents. First of all, as life expectancy continues to increase, baby boomers can expect to spend a greater proportion of their life in retirement than their parents did. Second, the financial picture for baby boomers is likely to be different. Many of their parents benefitted, in retirement, from an employer sponsored pension plan, which ensured a monthly payment of income for the remainder of their lives. Now, such pension plans and the dependable monthly income they provide are, especially for boomers who spent their working lives in the private sector, more the exception than the rule. Where, however, baby boomers have the “advantage” over their parents in retirement, it’s in the value of their homes. Increases in residential property values over the past quarter century in nearly every market in Canada have meant that for many Canadians who are retired or approaching retirement, their homes – or more specifically, the equity they have built up in those homes – represents their single most valuable asset.


While most Canadians turn their mind to taxes only in the spring when the annual return must be filed (and then only reluctantly), taxes are a year-round business for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The CRA is busy processing and issuing Notices of Assessment for individual tax returns during the February to June filing season - this year the Agency had, by the third week of July, received and processed just under 30 million individual income tax returns filed for the 2018 tax year.


As the summer starts to wind down, both students returning to their colleges and universities and those just starting their post-secondary education must focus on the details of the upcoming school year – finding a place to live, choosing courses, and perhaps most important, arranging payment of tuition and other education-related bills.


Sometime during the month of July several thousand Canadians will receive an unexpected, unfamiliar, and probably unwelcome piece of correspondence from the Canada Revenue Agency. That correspondence will be an Instalment Reminder advising the recipient of tax payments to be made in September and December of this year.


A generation ago, retirement was an event. Typically, an individual would leave the work force completely at age 65 and begin collecting Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security benefits along with, in many cases, a pension from an employer-sponsored registered pension plan.


The most recent estimate issued by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is that close to half a million homes will be sold in Canada during 2019. Since that number doesn’t include moves from one rental accommodation to another, or the twice-a-year post-secondary student migration from home to school (and back again), it’s safe to say that well over a half a million Canadians and Canadian families will be faced with the need to plan, organize and pay for some kind of move at least once this year.


In this year’s Budget, the federal government introduced a new program – the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI), to help qualifying first-time home buyers get into the housing market. Under that program the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) (an agency of the federal government) will add a specified amount to the down payment made on a home purchase by a qualifying buyer, with the effect of reducing the amount of the monthly mortgage payment required of the new home owner.


Taking you beyond the numbers.