Winnipeg, MB

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Full Forecast

David Christianson

  • Taxing decisions to be made in light of new federal measures

    As a shareholder of a private corporation or beneficiary of a testamentary trust, you have enjoyed some tax advantages. However, what you may not know is a perfect storm is headed your way. Measures in the 2015 federal budget (released by the Conservatives) will begin to take effect in 2016. Colliding with those measures are key tax initiatives from the Liberal party. All signs point to rising personal tax rates in 2016 and future years.
  • Year-end tax planning can save you plenty

    Winnipeg is getting excited about the Grey Cup being here, so that means year-end can't be far away. It's time to review your year-end tax planning. Capital-loss harvesting:
  • Beware of changing tax rules

    Owners of corporations have always had many choices to make in order to try to minimize their total tax burden. Salary versus dividends, RRSP contributions versus retained earnings and income splitting with family members are just a few of the decision points. Integration is the tax concept that whether a business owner incorporates and pays corporate tax (then individual tax on dividends to get the money out of the corporation), or earns all of the income personally, taxes should be similar.
  • Understanding rules on residence exemption

    In years of advising clients who own cottages and vacation properties as well as their houses, we have done a lot of research on the principal residence exemption (PRE). Proper understanding of sometimes complex rules can save thousands of tax dollars when a property is sold. Failure to understand or follow the rules can put you in hot water with the CRA.
  • Little lesson on RESPs

    Wow! The sudden change in temperature this week dramatically announced back-to-school time. This column is aimed mostly at post-secondary students and their parents, starting with RESP withdrawals.
  • Financial jargon can be confusing for investors

    If you own investments, you will receive periodic statements with the value of your holdings, the details and perhaps performance. Statements might appear monthly or quarterly in the mail, or you might have converted everything to online access only. Either way, do you have questions about what some of the terms mean? Every week I meet someone who isn't clear on the industry jargon that is unfortunately still used on many of these statements. Let's try to clarify a few of those.
  • Considerations for RESPs in estate planning

    It's a good time to be reviewing your estate plans. No, I don't mean that summer is the right time, necessarily, but recent changes to the tax rules on testamentary trusts and estates that take effect Jan. 1 mean 2015 is the year to review strategies.  
  • What graduates need to know about money

    So, you're a graduate now, are you? That's exciting. Congratulations! Now, let's talk about some of the financial-planning issues you might want to consider.
  • Prepare yourself, investor, there will be a test

    Are you prepared to fully appraise the value you receive from your financial-advisory or investment relationship? If not, then get ready, as your friendly financial regulators are going to make you do this soon. Or, more correctly, they are forcing your investment suppliers to give you the tools to more accurately make such an evaluation.
  • Sound and fury

    The announcement in the federal budget that tax-free savings account contribution limits have been increased to $10,000 per year has unleashed the usual shrill cacophony of ill-informed opinions, misinformation and alarmist predictions. This being an election year, the spin doctors on all sides (including the Harper government) seem to be playing even more fast and loose with anything resembling real truth and helpful commentary.
  • Address probate before it's too late

    If you own shares in a private corporation or you have private business interests, this article will be of interest to you. We will talk about ways you may decrease the amount of probate fees you pay to the provincial government on your demise. You will also be interested in the federal government's promise in the 2015 budget to gradually decrease the rate of tax charged on the first $500,000 of profit each year on active business income, earned by Canadian small business corporations.
  • 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.