The month of September is synonymous with “back to school” and March is synonymous with “back to your accountant”. We will start “Tax Season” on Monday, March 13th. See the bottom of this issue for preparation tips.
If you sold your own home during 2016, you must report that on your 2016 tax return. See our blog post on this topic.
We are proud to contribute charitable donations to Foundations at McGill and UBC which celebrate the accomplishments of our clients Martha Foschi, the late David Barrett and the late Thomas Routledge.
Last year, the Spring Edition of Insight was titled the “Change Issue”. If you would like to do a little “self-test”, you can re-visit that article here.
We pick up that theme again this Spring. Inside this issue, we hope to inspire you with ideas from various “thought leaders”.
2017 AUTO RATES
Despite the moderate rise in oil prices over the last year, the rates for auto mileage reimbursement will stay the same as 2016, at 54c on the first 5,000 kms and 48c after that. The taxable operating rate also stays the same at 26c.
Free seminar for clients and guests
Saturday, March 25th 10am –1 pm
We will be presenting a seminar entitled “Estate Planning Primer: The Highs and Lows of Inter-generational Wealth Transfer” at a location in West Vancouver. This is the fourth course in our series addressing a healthy and successful approach to the custodianship of money across Family generations.
This Spring, we stay on last year’s theme of change…with a collection of random, provoking thoughts from various sources.
We load our entire office with artworks produced by a variety of amazing artists. Most of its is representational art. I try to encourage our staff to take a moment’s respite whilst solving difficult problems to withdraw from the problem and place themselves inside the art that lies before them. Drink in the ancient totem pole, walk through the forest, imagine George Vancouver sailing past Spanish Banks. Take a mindful minute and then return to your problem.
I met a guy from Texas on a day cruise on the Danube River. We sat and chatted on the open deck while trees and the odd ancient monastery passed us by. He told me he started the habit years ago of coming home from work every day, opening his wallet and giving his wife $5 to put in a travel fund, and that is how he finances their vacations.
On the other side of the coin, there is a saying from Ancient Rome, which literally translates as “resist beginnings”. It was then an invocation to not let little things get out of hand and grow into big problems. It remains a clarion piece of advice across the millennia.
My recent experience with the insurance industry spawned the thought: If you all agree to be bad, then no one needs to be good!
Psychologists reckon there are two traits for success: intelligence and self control; the latter draws on willpower, which is a limited resource. Cumulative exertion of willpower dissipates it, ie it is like a muscle, meaning that it needs rest and can be strengthened accordingly. Furthermore, there is only one common pool of willpower—not silos for different purposes. And here’s a hint: glucose can refill the jar!
As we have suggested in the past, embrace a structured, periodic Personal Retreat to re-inspire and refill the all-important willpower bucket.
Encourage yourself, and your surrounding culture, to free-think and NEVER fear for saying something stupid. I am reminded of my inventor Uncle who designed a solar powered snow blower!
Psychologists today suggests that the showing of curiousity creates a biological reaction that can transact across two or more parties to elevate the conversation and interaction. Chemicals are released in the brain that feed this and result in a connective psychological phenomenon: empathy. Like a feeding frenzy in nature, lets call it a conversation frenzy.
Money, genes, race and schooling only account for a third of the correlation between opportunity and success. Social capital contributes far more. Parenting style contributes little, but parenting behavior contributes enormously through conveying of cultural norms and values.
And so it may be, too, for individuals. Civilizations have reinvented energy from sticks to coal to oil and to nuclear fission. We humans have to find our own way to reinvent our energy sources to propel our own life trajectories and fend off personal entropy.
TAX SEASON 2017
We commence tax season this year on March 13th. Remember that the critical filing deadlines are March 31st for trust returns, April 18th for US returns and May 1st for Canadian returns. We will be requesting an interim payment of $75 per return, which will be credited on your final bill in early May. This checklist will help you get organized to have your returns done accurately and economically.
- all copies of your slips: don’t separate the duplicate copies
- all medical and donation receipts, including travel medical premiums
- medical receipts which relate to discretionary appearance enhancements are not deductible
- the backing sheet which came with the T5s from your broker
- the purchase cost information of any stocks or bonds sold outside your RRSP/RRIF/TSFA
- annual mutual fund statements for funds held outside your RRSP/RRIF/TSFA
- receipts for qualified commuter, arts and child fitness expenses
- trading summary and/or brokerage statements for the entire year for non-registered accounts
- list of any foreign assets which may require reporting under the Foreign Asset verification rules, or include the Summary Report from your broker
- watch for T3 slips from trust units/mutual funds which may arrive throughout March and April
- make your March 15 tax installment
- doing a draft return usually doesn’t help us and takes extra time to reconcile
- file for reimbursement of medical costs under Pharmacare or your extended health plan
- if you are a Trivest client, we are able to download directly all of your brokerage slips
- if you are a Trivest client, we already have your Foreign Asset reporting information
We remind you that we accept electronic payment via Interac E-Transfer. Also, we will be asking many of you to sign on to our secure Portal site technology to facilitate secure document and data transfers between us.
GET A HEAD START
The RRSP room for 2017 will be $26,010, requiring 2016 earned income of at least $144,500. The 2018 limit is already announced – $26,320 on a 2017 earned income of $145,722. Your new TFSA room for 2017 is $5,500. Start thinking about whether you wish to defer your 2017 property taxes this year.