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Full Forecast

David Christianson

  • Tax change helps families with children under 18

    On top of the usual unbridled excitement you likely feel at tax time, this year we have some actual tax changes and the opportunity for many families to pay significantly less income tax than in past years. The biggest change is the new income-splitting opportunity called the family tax cut. Although you have likely heard about this, a recent survey conducted for H&R Block Canada showed only 15 per cent of Canadians expect this to have any effect on their tax return.
  • Time to organize for income taxes

    Well folks, it's time again to start thinking about filing your 2014 tax return. My job is to make the process as painless as possible for you, whether you file yourself or use a professional tax preparer. (We are also approaching the RRSP contribution deadline. I recommend you review Joel Schlesinger's great column Another February, another RRSP deadline. This will tell you everything you need to know to help you make the right RRSP decision for you.)
  • Insurance policy can be sold to corporation

    So, three weeks into our trial separation, how are you feeling? I admit I've missed you, but must also admit there are benefits to my new freedom. (I have switched to a once-a-month format for Dollars and Sense. Let me know what you think.) Today's column focuses on a fairly narrow niche, which is people who have a corporation and who also have a personally owned life insurance policy. If you are in that situation, or you are a professional adviser, lawyer or accountant, this will be of particular interest to you.
  • Achieving your big dreams easy as...

    There is an amazing phenomenon I heard about years ago -- but I was skeptical. However, having now experienced this many times myself, I have become a convert. I'm talking about the amazing occurrence of deciding on something specific you want in your life, writing down a description of that desired outcome, and then -- sometimes miraculously -- having an opportunity to achieve that outcome.
  • A time to reflect on all our blessings

    Thank you! I can't think of a better way to start this second-last column of the year. Thank you for letting me into your home through the newspaper, and now the Winnipeg Free Press website, for over 21 years.
  • Setting priorities, time still the key

    Cash flow is the engine of your financial machine. It's the energy, the driver. If you can harness that energy and run a more efficient machine, you can make your money go much further. I know you think I probably just came up with the most profound statement ever there, but we have actually been saying this in seminars and consultations since the 1980s.
  • Year-end tax planning could pay off

    Well, the weather sure says "December," as does the calendar. That must mean it's time to review your year-end tax planning. If you do nothing else, be sure to make any planned donations in time to get a receipt for this year. Gifts to registered charities create a combined federal and provincial credit of about 45 per cent (after your first $200 of annual donations), so give generously.
  • CRA looks to put a value on goodwill

    The Canada Revenue Agency has had a busy week, hasn't it? In a moment, we will talk about some possible tax changes that may increase significantly the tax cost for selling a corporation, but first let's touch on two events in CRA news. On Wednesday, the CRA announced a formal agreement with the Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) of Canada. Under this framework agreement, the two organizations will set up seven committees to increase communication and co-operation in tax compliance, administration and red tape.
  • Be creative this Christmas to avoid credit card debt

    It was Financial Planning Week in Canada this week, just as seasonal shopping starts to pick up big time. I hope you can use some of the important research released this week by the Financial Planning Standards Council of Canada, combined with the tips in this article, to significantly decrease your permanent stress about money, and get through the holiday season unscathed.
  • Protect yourself: always be paranoid

    Last week my daughter received a welcome email from the Canada Revenue agency (CRA) letting her know that thanks to a reassessment, she was going to receive a $545 refund. All she had to do was click a link in the email to confirm her banking information, and the money would be transferred electronically.
  • Good news regarding disability tax credit

    There was good news this week out of Ottawa. No, I'm not referring to the "family tax cut." However, that announced partial income splitting for families with children under 18, the increase to the universal child care benefit, its extension to children between ages six and 18, the increased deduction limit for child care expenses and the children's Fitness tax credit are obviously good news for people with children under 18.
  • Financial literacy: Make it a priority

    This week's weather makes it clear fall is here. Who would've expected that? November is financial-literacy month, with some worthwhile opportunities for you to access advice.
  • Income splitting reduces tax burden

    A headline this week announced the Conservative government might be backing down on a 2011 promise to reduce the income-tax burden on families by allowing income splitting with children. The Tories had been saying they would start reducing income taxes next year, once they had a confirmed budget surplus. Some of this reduction would be through a concept called income splitting. However, a report this week suggests the government may back down on this promise, since income splitting would mostly benefit high-income families. It might do very little for the middle class, which coincidently has more votes.
  • Common online investor mistakes easily avoidable

    This week, I was asked the question, "What are the most common mistakes investors make when investing online? Let me start by saying the mistakes online investors make are simply a turbocharged version of the mistakes all of us make as investors.
  • Snowbirds: Know your rights, responsibilities

    Hmmm... frost on the car this week, geese gathering and fattening up, those are sure signs of fall. That means snowbirds are getting ready to head south. If you are one of those people fortunate enough to spend some of your winter in warmer climates, here are a few tips.
  • Finding purpose is worth far more than money

    A funny thing happened to me last week. Several colleagues and I were invited to lunch to get pitched on donating money to a worthy cause. You know, the free lunch that may end up costing you a month's pay. Many of us have known each other since we were in our 20s, and had gone through endless business and personal challenges and triumphs together over the last three-plus decades. When you are in your 20s and working too hard, you also tend to play hard. You know, The Wolf of Wall Street sort of shenanigans (ha, I could only dream).
  • 'Come on, get happy' works

    Last week, we talked about the critical importance of setting specific, measurable goals when it comes to achieving financial success. Today, we will talk about an unexpected tool and strategy also proven scientifically to improve your chances of success. That tool is happiness.
  • Time to evaluate progress in 2014

    “HAPPY New Year” may sound a little funny with no snow on the ground, but a lot of people consider September the start of a new year, or at least a new season. After what was hopefully a slower pace through the summer, allowing time for reflection and contemplation, September is a great time to review your goals for the year and modify wherever indicated.
  • Ups and downs of dividends

    Would you agree a big reason to buy a business is so it can provide you with regular income, in the form of a share of profits? Now, what if you could buy a business that would pay you this regular cash, but you didn't have to actually work in it?
  • Back-to-school adventure shouldn't involve September credit hangover

    This is the most painful column I write. Columns on taxes or CRA penalties hurt, but taxes are a fact of life. And I can usually suggest ways to reduce taxes.
  • Replacing TFSA money too early will cost you

    The tax-free savings account (TFSA) has become a very, very popular savings vehicle for Canadian taxpayers with over 10 million accounts open at the end of 2013. As you know, there is no tax deduction or immediate benefit for putting money into a TFSA. However, any investment income (interest, dividends and capital gains) earned within the TFSA is tax-free. This has saved taxpayers over $1 billion since 2009, says CRA.
  • Be on guard for bogus iTunes Store receipts

    Over the past while, I purchased some music from the Apple iTunes Store, as have millions of other people around the world. As you likely know, Apple sends you an email with your purchase receipt and confirmation. This is nice a reminder of what you purchased and the amount that will show up on your credit card.
  • Want to save cash on gas? Here is what you should do

    I broke my record this week. That's cause for celebration, on many fronts. What record? The number of minutes I was able to glide with my foot completely off the accelerator on my morning drive to work. Lexie and I glided almost five minutes out of 14, using virtually no gas, and travelled another three minutes with a very light foot, just maintaining speed.
  • Some rare good news from CRA

    In this summer of rain and floods, it was great to get some good news for a change from our friends at the Canada Revenue Agency. Or at least limited good news. This is in the form of a partial simplification of form T1135, Foreign Income Verification Statement, which had unfortunately become very complicated and unwieldy due to changes made in 2013.
  • Interesting to watch as securities world evolves

    This week, we saw federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver announce he is resurrecting Jim Flaherty's initiative to develop a single securities regulator in Canada. Currently, there are 13 securities commissions across the provinces and territories. Issuers of stocks and other investment vehicles needing to raise capital to make the economy grow must therefore have approval from up to 13 entities to legally market their wares everywhere in Canada.