Author Archives: Stewart Stolz

About Stewart Stolz

Stewart Stolz is a Chartered Professional Accountant and is the principal of Stolz Chartered Professional Accountant Inc. providing accounting, tax, and consulting services to small businesses, individuals, families, non-profit organizations, and Aboriginals.
2017 Personal Tax Returns

2017 Personal Tax Returns

The 2017 tax filing season officially starts on February 26, 2018 when CRA re-opens it’s EFILE services for professional tax filers. We have met with clients and completed several returns already!

We have launched our cpa100.ca website for 100 Mile House residents where you can download our handy tax checklist, learn about our tax return preparation process, and find answers to some common questions.

Click here to download our PDF tax checklist. 

Remember, the deadline to file and pay your taxes is April 30, 2018. If you or your spouse is self-employed, you have until June 15, 2018 to file your return, however any taxes owing would still be due by April 30, 2018.

The following are changes to be aware of for this 2017 filing season:

Sale of Principal Residence
Last year for 2016, CRA introduced the requirement to disclose the sale of your principal residence during the year on Schedule 3 of your tax return. In 2017, if you disposed of your principal residence and wish to designate the principal residence for a tax-free transaction, CRA also requires that you fill out and sign form T2091.

Children’s Arts and Fitness Tax Credits
Children fitness and arts credit has been eliminated federally. However, in BC, the provincial credits are still available for one more year in 2017. Maximum claim amount for both provincial credits is $500 per child. Be sure to dig up or request receipts for hockey, gymnastics, music lessons, and even horse back riding.

Education and Textbook Credit
The education and textbook credit has been eliminated. However, the tuition amount is still in place. Don’t forget to download your T2202A receipts from your post-secondary educational institution student portal.

Canada Caregiver Credit
The Canada Caregiver Credit has been introduced in 2017 which consolidates and replaces 3 credits from 2016: infirm dependent credit, caregiver credit, and family caregiver credit. This should simplify the claiming of any caregiver credits.

Public Transit Pass
The Public Transit Pass credit has been eliminated effective July 1, 2017 so you’re still able to claim receipts up to June 30, 2017.

Wildfire Financial Assistance and Taxes

Wildfire Financial Assistance and Taxes

Many residents across BC were impacted by the wildfires, including Stewart and his family. We’ve had a few clients ask us about the wildfire financial assistance received from Red Cross, ESS, Service Canada, insurance, etc. and whether any of it needs to be reported on your tax returns. We cover some of the basic situations in this article but if you have any questions on more complex situations, please give us a call or email and we would be happy to talk with you.

Financial Assistance to Individuals/Families

1. Red Cross
Financial assistance provided by the BC government administered by the Red Cross was given to all residents affected by the BC wildfires and was not based on income level or employment status. The assistance was to help with basic needs such as food, clothing, lodging and essential goods and services. Subdivision D of the Income Tax Act, which outlines “Other Sources of Income” does not include this type of financial assistance and is therefore NOT included as income.

2. Emergency Social Services (ESS)
Many wildfire evacuees also received financial assistance from the BC government’s ESS program. The assistance was to help evacuees with food and lodging. Subdivision D of the Income Tax Act, which outlines “Other Sources of Income” does not include this type of financial assistance and is therefore NOT included as income.

3. Insurance Proceeds
Evacuated homeowners may have received insurance proceeds from their home owner’s insurance policy. This may include covering living expenses while evacuated, the replacement of appliances, and/or repairs to the home for smoke or fire damage. These insurance proceeds are generally NOT included as income.

4. Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits
Employees may have received EI benefits from Service Canada due to loss of employment, whether temporary or permanent, caused by the wildfire evacuations. These benefits generally ARE included as income and the recipient of these benefits should receive a T4E slip from Service Canada to report on their tax return.

5. Financial Assistance from Employers
Employers may have provided financial assistance directly to employees to assist with personal losses or damages as a result of a wildfires. As long as the assistance was received by the recipient in their capacity as an individual and not as an employee, the financial assistance would be NOT included as income. However, if the assistance was paid to the recipient in their capacity as an employee, the financial assistance IS included as income. More details around these rules can be found on CRA’s website here.

Financial Assistance to Businesses

1. Red Cross
Red Cross has also administered the BC government’s financial assistance program to businesses affected by the BC wildfires. This financial assistance is geared towards assisting businesses in recovering from the impact of the wildfires through compensating for income loss or increased expenses, the amounts received ARE included as business income.

2. Insurance Proceeds
Businesses may have received insurance proceeds from their business insurance policy to compensate for loss of income, loss of inventory, additional expenses, and/or replacement of capital assets. Generally speaking, the insurance proceeds ARE included as business income. However, keep in mind that the accounting for these type of transactions can be complicated and there may be certain income tax elections available to defer taxation. Stolz CPA is available to advise and assist with the accounting and taxation of these matters.

Proposed Tax Changes

Proposed Tax Changes

After a whirlwind summer of wildfires (literally) and the federal government’s introduction of proposed tax changes, the short 75-day consultation period has ended and here is a summary of results:

Corporate Tax Rates for Small Businesses
The federal tax rate for small business will be decreased to 10% starting January 1, 2018 and down further to 9% starting January 1, 2019. For British Columbians, with the provincial NDP government announcing that provincial corporate tax rates decreasing down to 2% starting April 1, 2017, that means the combined (federal and provincial) corporate tax rate will be 12% starting January 1, 2018 and 11% starting January 1, 2019.

Income Sprinkling
The income sprinkling proposals will proceed, however with revisions to the proposed legislation. These revisions will focus on simplifying the rules and reducing the compliance burden. There is still a lot of controversy around this topic given that “reasonableness” plays a significant part in the rules, which is open to interpretation.

Passive Income
The proposed rules around passive income, also known as investment income, earned by a corporation will be updated to include a “small business” threshold. The government has determined that no new rules will be implemented for passive income earned up to $50,000.

Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption
The government has eliminated the proposals to restrict access to the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption, which would have affected the sale of small business corporation shares, farming businesses, and fishing businesses.

2016 Tax Changes

2016 Tax Changes

The 2016 tax season officially starts on February 20, 2017 when CRA re-opens it’s EFILE services. Deadline to file and pay your taxes is April 30, 2017. Deadline to file for self-employed is June 15, 2017.

Some minor changes to be aware of for this filing season:

Family Tax Cut 
The family tax cut has been eliminated and no longer available to use in 2016.

Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB)
The UCCB program has been replaced with the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) program effective July 1, 2016. The CCB program is a non-taxable benefit whereas the UCCB was a taxable benefit. Therefore, if you received UCCB benefits during 2016, you will still need to report the amounts from your RC62 slip.

Sale of Principal Residence
If you sold your personal home during 2016, there’s now a requirement to report the details of the sale on your tax return. Although it may not result in any additional taxes owing (there may be issues if it was rented or used for business purposes), you are required to report the sale in order to claim the principal residence exemption.

Tax Brackets (Federal)
The tax bracket for taxable income between $45,282 and $90,563 has been reduced from a rate of 22% to 20.5%.

The tax bracket for taxable income above $200,000 has been added and is subject to a rate of 33%.

Children’s Arts and Fitness Tax Credits
The maximum claim for the arts and fitness tax credits has been reduced from $1,000 to $500. 2016 is also the last year to claim these credits as the Liberal government repealed them.

Education and Textbooks Tax Credits
No changes for 2016 but is the last year to claim them. Again, the Liberal government repealed this credit.

 

If you need help filing your taxes, come in to talk with Stewart, call 604-855-7975, or email stewart@stolzcpa.ca.

Click here to see our tax return pricing. 

5 Characteristics of High-Growth Organizations

5 Characteristics of High-Growth Organizations

5 characteristics of high-growth organizations originally published by .

Why is it that some organizations experience tremendous success, while others struggle? In my work as a CEO Coach to several Inc 5000 companies and high-tech start-ups, I’ve observed 5 traits that distinguish organizations with accelerated growth.

1. They Get The Right People On the Bus.
Getting the right people to innovate and grow the business is more important in achieving overall goals than any other part of a business plan. High-growth organizations also think about hiring ahead of the curve. To avoid a company growing faster than its’ employees’ skills, the bring on the talent and leadership they will need 12-18 months from now today so when the organization is 3x its current size, the team will still be effective.

2. They know their metrics.
All of the companies I’ve worked with that have seen their revenues soar are diligent about analyzing sales, marketing and operating data. Companies that struggle with growth tend to have a hard time answering basic questions: What are your top verticals by revenue share? What is your customer acquisition cost? What is your customer lifetime value? What are your margins by product or service? What percentage share of wallet do we have from existing customers? What is our operating cash cycle? How do these results compare to my competitors? Often, just the exercise of obtaining this data helps a company get a better understanding of their growth potential.

3. They Show a Strategic Perspective.
This is the direct opposite of a company that is operating in panic mode, or exhibiting survival thinking. A company actively planning and moving towards national and global expansion; that has a solid one- and three-year agenda and is making steady and measurable strides to meet the critical milestones is poised to succeed and grow exponentially. This is done by “determining the activities that will lead you to the result that you want.”

4. They Operate with Transparency.
Commitment, integrity and transparency are closely related. A successful organization has little or nothing (other than its proprietary IP) to hide. Life is simpler with fewer secrets about billing methods, pricing and customer acquisition strategies. It’s also easier to keep employees committed and fully engaged. Transparency of operation is a very positive, high-growth sign.

5. They Communicate Well.
Every great leader and every great company communicates well and often. They communicate good news. They communicate bad news, with candor and straightforward language, as well. They communicate with skill—imagine the frustration of the investor who knows he or she has invested in a great company, but due to lack of communication, the world may never know. No great company was ever conceived and grown in a vacuum. High-growth organizations recognize the vital need and the tremendous opportunity they afford themselves when they communicate well.

New Societies Act in British Columbia

New Societies Act in British Columbia

Changes are coming to the Society Act in BC! Read more to find out about the most significant changes.

Originally published by Michael Blatchford and Bryan Millman – Bull Housser**

The provincial legislation that creates and governs all societies in British Columbia is receiving an overhaul. The current Society Act dates from 1977 and while outdated in some respect remains the legislation of choice for not-for-profit organizations in BC. The new Societies Act (the “Act”) was driven by a growing need to modernize the regulatory scheme governing societies in BC. On May 14, 2015, the Act received royal assent at the BC legislature, but is not yet in force. The legislation will likely come into force in 2016.

Below is a brief summary of five of the most significant features under the Act.

1. Qualifications of Directors – The Act creates certain qualifications that all directors of societies must meet. Among other things, directors must have no recent convictions for fraud, be bankrupt and be (with some exceptions) be at least 18 years of age. A director who does not meet these qualifications will be required to resign. A society is free to set out additional qualifications in its bylaws. The Act also expressly allows for “ex officio” directors – that is, directors who become directors because of a particular attribute or position they have or hold, and not as a result of an election.

2. Unalterable Provisions & Special Resolutions – Most societies are well aware of the threshold for special resolutions, currently set at 75% or more of votes cast. The Act reduces the threshold to pass a special resolution at a meeting from 75% to 66%. However, it also allows a society set a higher threshold for special resolutions, up to unanimous approval! This flexibility for special resolutions can be used to offset the fact that under the Act, there can be no unalterable provisions of a society’s constitution. Upon transitioning a society under the Act, currently unalterable provisions will become alterable and must be moved from a society’s constitution into its bylaws.

3. Member Proposals – Members of a society have always been able to requisition a special meeting for a specific purpose, provided that at least 10% sign the requisition. The Act will add to this, creating a right for members to add specific issues to the agenda of an existing members’ meeting. A “member proposal” must be added to the agenda if the proposal is signed at least 5% of the society’s voting members. A society’s board of directors have the discretion to reject the proposal if it is substantially similar to an issue that has already been proposed at an annual general meeting in the past two years.

4. Member Funded Societies – The Act creates a new concept that did not exist under the former legislation – it differentiates between publicly funded societies and “member funded” societies. A member funded society is a society that is funded primarily by its own members to carry on activities for the benefit of its members. Due to the private nature of its funding, the Act outlines relaxed standards regarding corporate governance, financial disclosure, and distribution of assets upon dissolution for member funded societies. Sports clubs and professional organizations are anticipated as the types of organizations intended to fit into this new category, although others may meet the criteria. A publicly funded society is a society that obtains funding from the public or government in excess of a monetary threshold to be prescribed by regulation. Registered charities, student societies and hospital societies cannot be member funded societies.

5. Senior Managers – The Act will introduce the concept of a “senior manager”, which is any individual that has been appointed by the directors to manage the activities or affairs of the society. A senior manager may be an employee, contractor or volunteer. The Act imposes certain duties on all senior managers (including the duty to disclose a conflict of interest) but also provides rules on indemnification, insurance, and limitation of liability for such persons. The purpose of regulating senior managers is to decrease the potential for mismanagement.

6. Public Disclosure of Remuneration – The Act requires a society to disclose the remuneration, if any, paid to its directors and to its ten highest paid employees and contractors earning over an amount to be prescribed by regulation. This disclosure must be made in a society’s annual financial statements, which are available to society members and to the public. To counterbalance any privacy concerns, the names of the directors, employees and contractors need not be included in the financial statements. This disclosure of remuneration requirement is inapplicable to “member funded” societies.

The new Societies Act is expected to come into force in 2015 and will contemplate a two-year grace period during which existing societies will be expected to transition.

If you have questions about the Societies Act and how it will affect your organization, please contact Bull Housser at 604-641-4854 (mpb@bht.com) .

**Bull Housser is a Vancouver-based law firm that has been serving clients for 125 years. Our Charities and Tax-Exempt Organizations group works with not-for-profit organizations of every type and on any issue needing legal advice.

 

2015 Federal Budget Highlights

2015 Federal Budget Highlights

On April 21, 2015, the Federal Minister of Finance, Joe Oliver, presented the majority government’s budget and we’ve highlighted some of the tax initiatives that may affect our clients.

Small Business Tax Rate

The small business tax rate will be reduced from 11% to 9% as follows:

  • January 1, 2016 – 10.5%
  • January 1, 2017 – 10%
  • January 1, 2018 – 9.5%
  • January 1, 2019 – 9%

The reduction in the small business rate will be pro-rated for corporations with taxation years that straddle these dates.

Tax Avoidance of Corporate Capital Gains – Section 55

Stemming from a recent decision by the Tax Court of Canada that involved the creation of an unrealized capital loss that was used to avoid capital gains tax on the sale of another property, the budget proposes to amend section 55 to ensure that it applies where one of the purposes for a dividend is to effect a significant reduction in the fair market value of any share or significant increase in the total cost of properties of the dividend recipient. Other related rules are also proposed to ensure this amendment is not circumvented.

The budget also proposes to make a number of additional changes to the wording and structure of section 55, including changes:

  • so that any dividend to which section 55 applies will be treated as a gain from the disposition of capital property for the year, rather than being added to proceeds
  • that amend the exception for dividends received in certain related party transactions such that it will only apply to dividends that are received as a result of shares being redeemed, acquired or cancelled, and
  • that address the use of stock dividends

The above measures apply to dividends received after April 20, 2015.

Lowering the EI Premium Rate in 2017

In 2017, the government will implement the seven-year break-even EI premium rate-setting mechanism, which will ensure that EI premiums are no higher than needed to pay for the EI program over time.

This is expected to reduce the EI premium rate from $1.88 in 2016 to an estimated $1.49 in 2017.

Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

Starting in 2015, the annual TFSA contribution limit will increase from $5,500 to $10,000 and will remain at this level for subsequent years. The limit will no longer be indexed to inflation.

Home Accessibility Tax Credit

Effective 2016, eligible individuals who spend up to $10,000 on eligible expenditures in respect of qualifying individuals (seniors and certain persons with disabilities) can claim a non-refundable tax credit of up to $1,500.

Eligible expenditures in connection with an eligible dwelling for the qualifying individual include certain renovations or alterations that increase mobility or safety. This credit can be claimed in addition to the Medical Expense Tax Credit, to the extent that both apply.

 

For a more complete list of the budget highlights, please see this article published by PWC.