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Tax Planning

Changes to the Taxation of Estates

Estate, trust and tax planners have long favoured testamentary trusts as vehicles to pass along assets to beneficiaries or heirs.   A testamentary trust is generally a trust or estate that is created the day a person dies.  Commonly, these trusts are established in a testator’s will.

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Budget 2015 Highlights

On April 21, 2015, Finance Minister Joe Oliver tabled his first federal budget.  The provisions of the budget will be of particular interest to owners of small and medium sized businesses, seniors and families with children.  As well, those looking to make certain charitable donations will be encouraged by Oliver’s budget.

Below is a brief commentary on each of the key budget proposals.

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5 Recent Tax Changes for the 2015 Tax Season

Tax time is almost upon us and there are some recent changes which will affect many Canadian residents.  The important changes to keep in mind are as follows:

The Family Tax Cut

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The benefits of year-end charitable donations

By Anne Levy-Ward, BrighterLife.ca

If you’re like many Canadians, your mailbox is jammed in the holiday season with greeting cards, mail-order catalogues, promotional calendars, sale flyers — and requests for charitable donations. While you probably enjoy catching up with faraway friends and relatives and maybe even flipping through gift guides, you might not appreciate the flood of requests for money.

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Taxation of Life Insurance New Rules Create Opportunities

In August the Department of Finance published their changes to the taxation of life insurance as previewed in March 2013 Federal Budget.  When final legislation is passed later this year, these changes will result in an updating to the “exempt test” which determines how much tax-deferred value can accumulate in a life insurance policy before it is subject to accrual taxation.  The new rules take effect and will apply to policies issued January 1, 2016 and later.

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A Well-Structured Will

The Canadian income tax system is structured in such a way that taxpayers and their estates are often liable to pay significant taxes upon their death.

These taxes can represent a large proportion of the value of the deceased’s estate and can significantly reduce the amount of residual assets available for distribution to the estate’s beneficiaries.

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Estate Planning Tips for Real Estate Investors

For many Canadians the majority of their wealth is held in personally owned real estate. For most this will be limited to their principal residence however, investment in recreational and real estate investment property also form a substantial part of estates. Due to the nature of real estate, it is important to do estate planning to realize optimum gain and minimize tax implications.

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Do You Fly South for the Winter?

What Snowbirds Need to Know About Residency Rules

After another harsh winter, many Canadians dream of joining the large number of Snowbirds who make their way to the dry warmth of California, Arizona and Florida each winter season. If you are contemplating, or already are, becoming a Snowbird and whiling away the winter months in warmer climes south of the border it is important to understand how the new U.S. Tax laws apply under these circumstances. The last thing you would want is to find that the Internal Revenue Service considers you a US resident making you liable for U.S. income tax or subject to U.S. penalties or both.

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Are you paying more tax than you need to?

By Brenda Spiering, Editor,BrighterLife.ca

If you’re not claiming all the tax credits and deductions you’re entitled to, you may be paying more to the government than necessary.

What you can deduct

Deductions from income and tax credits are reported on lines 206 to 485 of your income tax return. So, take some time to review them carefully. There may be steps you can take to maximize the amount you can claim.

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