Category Archives: News

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Top tax credits and benefits for seniors


January 18, 2017

Use this list to help your senior clients ensure they claim the most common tax credits, deductions and benefits for which they’re eligible.

Read: Essential tax numbers

    • Pension income splitting — Those who receive a pension may be eligible to split up to 50% of eligible pension income with a spouse or common-law partner.
    • Guaranteed income supplement — If clients received the guaranteed income supplement or allowance benefits under the old age security program, they can renew the benefit by filing by the deadline.

Read: Navigate RRSP attribution rules

  • Goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit — Clients may be eligible for the GST/HST credit, a tax-free quarterly payment that helps offset all or part of the GST or HST they pay. To receive this credit, clients must file an income tax and benefit return every year, even if they didn’t receive income. If they have a spouse or common-law partner, only one of them can receive the credit. The credit is paid to the person whose return is assessed first.

Read: CRA tweaks process for accessing online tax info of businesses

    • Medical expenses — Clients may be able to claim the total eligible medical expenses that they, their spouse or common-law partner paid, provided the expenses were made over any 12-month period ending in 2016 and were not previously claimed. This can include amounts claimed for attendant care or care in an establishment.
    • Age amount — For clients 65 years of age or older on December 31, 2016, if net income was less than $83,427, they may be able to claim up to $7,125.
    • Pension income amount — Clients may be able to claim up to $2,000 if they report eligible pension, superannuation or annuity payments on their tax return.
    • Disability amount — If clients, their spouses or common-law partners or dependents have severe and prolonged impairments in physical or mental functions and meet certain conditions, they may be eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC). To determine eligibility, they must complete Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate and have it certified by a medical practitioner. Canadians claiming the credit can file online whether they have submitted the form to the CRA for that tax year or not.
    • Family caregiver amount — Those caring for a dependant with an impairment in physical or mental functions may be able to claim up to $2,121 when calculating certain non-refundable tax credits.
  • Public transit amount — Clients may be able to claim the cost of monthly or annual public transit passes for travel within Canada on public transit in 2016.
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New Rules for Principal Residence Exemption


In part one of a three-part series about year-end tax planning, Jamie Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning with CIBC Wealth Strategies Group, explains how the changes to the principal residence exemption will affect every Canadian. Click here to register for Golombek’s 2016 Year-end Tax Planning webinar.

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Financial Information


General Financial Information and Financial Literacy Resources:

The website, “Get Smarter about Money”, is operated by the Investor Education Fund – a non-profit organization founded by the Ontario Securities Commission – that provides unbiased and independent financial tools to help consumers improve their financial literacy.  Click on the link below to access the information:

The British Columbia Securities Commission also offers consumers online resources and tools to research and assess potential investments and protect themselves from unsuitable or fraudulent investments.  See more at:  This website offers consumer information in English, Punjabi, and Chinese.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has an online financial literacy self-assessment quiz to help you determine how well you keep track of market trends, plan to make ends meet, set goals, and choose the right products and services. Find out how your money management skills measure up.

The FCAC also has a database of seminars, workshops, and interactive tools to help you strengthen your financial literacy. There are listings from all across Canada, so you canyou access information close to your community.

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has an Investor Office page that provides consumers with information to help them understand the investment world and make intelligent investing decisions.

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) offers a series of videos focused on helping Ontarians understand retirement planning. The video series, “A Guide to Retirement Planning” outlines strategies for retirement planning in easy-to-understand terms.

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“In Denial, Regarding Bank Sold Insurance”


CBC Marketplace – In Denial – Mortgage Insurance Canada – Part 1

CBC Marketplace – In Denial – Mortgage Insurance Canada – Part 2

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Registered Education Savings Plans:


How RESPs work

A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) is a dedicated savings plan to help you save for a child’s education after high school.

Most RESPs are opened for children, but you can open an RESP for yourself or another adult. The person who opens the plan is called the subscriber.

When your child enrols in post-secondary education, they can start taking payments, called educational assistance payments (EAPs) from their RESP. EAPs are made up of the investment earnings and government grant money in the RESP. The person who is named to receive EAPs under the plan is called the beneficiary.

7 things to know about RESPs

  1. Your savings grow tax free. There is no tax on the investment earnings, as long as they stay in the plan.
  2. If you save for a child age 17 and under, the federal government also puts money into the RESP as a grant or bond. In some provinces, the provincial government may contribute too.
  3. You can usually put money in whenever you want, up to a lifetime maximum of $50,000 per child. But some plans require set monthly or annual contributions.
  4. The contributions are not tax deductible. But you can withdraw them tax free from the plan at any time for any reason.
  5. There is a wide range of investment options available for RESPs. Examples: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, GICs. Some plans let you decide how to invest your savings. Others invest your money for you.
  6. Your child can take money out of the RESP when they enrol in university or college or another qualifying education program or specified education program.
  7. An RESP can stay open for up to 36 years. Under specified plan rules, the plan can stay open for up to 40 years for beneficiaries eligible for the disability tax credit.

6 reasons to open an RESP

1. Government grants

The federal government adds to your RESP savings each year through the Canada Education Savings Grant. Lower-income families may also qualify for the Canada Learning Bond.

2. RESP savings grow tax free

You don’t pay tax on any investment earnings as long as they stay in the RESP. That means your savings can grow faster.

3. EAPs are taxable in the hands of the student

When your child enrols in post-secondary education, they can start taking payments, called educational assistance payments (EAPs), from their RESP. EAPs are made up of the investment earnings and government grant money in the RESP. Tax on EAPs is payable in the hands of your child — not you. Since students tend to have little or no income, they likely won’t have to pay much tax on the payments. Contributions can be withdrawn by you or by the student tax-free.

4. A variety of investment options

You can choose investments that best suit your investment objectives, risk tolerance, and time horizon. Different providers offer different investment options. Examples: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, GICs.

5. Friends and family can contribute

Anyone can set up an individual RESP for your child – not just you. Your child’s RESP can grow more quickly with contributions from friends and family. Consider encouraging monetary gifts on special occasions to contribute to your child’s RESP.

6. RESP accounts can stay open for 36 years

If your child chooses to defer their education plans after high school, they can still use the RESP money when they are ready to go back to school. But check the rules of your RESP to make sure there are no restrictions on waiting to continue their education. Under specified plan rules, RESP accounts for beneficiaries eligible for the disability tax credit can stay open for up to 40 years.