Personal Tax Returns

Haven't Filed Past Tax Returns?

Sometimes circumstances get in the way of filing your tax return on time. Maybe the guilt of not filing or the uncertainty of not knowing what will happen even makes you avoid it even more.

I have helped many clients get back in current tax filing status with Canada Revenue Agency, often without the late filing penalties that cause many people to delay filing their returns! I do this by making use of Canada Revenue Agency's "Voluntary Disclosure Program". It is important to use the services of an experienced professional when dealing with CRA on these disclosures. Despite the advertising of some law firms, it is not necessary for the average person to use a lawyer when making a Voluntary Disclosure to CRA.

We can discuss your situation in the office or over the phone. I can often tell you very quickly what the process involves. It is important to contact CRA before they contact you so don't delay dealing with your tax returns.

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Seniors

Retirement used to mean a more simplified life with no worries. The reality is far from this idyllic world.

There are many things we CAN'T help you with but you'll be surprised at how we CAN help you!

Canadians have been able to split their pension income between spouses since the 2007 tax year. We can ensure you are getting the absolute best tax savings from splitting your pension income. Kevin Dunn assists other accountants each year maximize tax savings for their clients. Come to the source and see how we can make these rules work for you!

We believe in personal service. We'll take the time to explain your options and recommend the best tax strategies to fit your circumstances. We can help determine your cash flow needs, assess the results of investment options, plan your estate, and even deal with your children!

Here are just some of the ways we help seniors understand and use the rules for

  • Medical expenses for you or your dependents
  • Nursing home and long-term care expenses
  • RRIF payout requirements and planning
  • Capital gains planning for your investments
  • Passing on the family cottage
  • Will and estate planning
  • Charitable gifting strategies
  • Eligibility for the disability tax credit
  • How to minimize the "clawback" of the Old Age Pension
  • Explaining the new CPP rules and how they affect you
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Small Business Owners

Kevin Dunn has been serving individual and business clients in Peterborough and the Central Ontario region for over twenty years. We work with you to minimize your tax burden and maximize your profits.

Your corporate or business accounting is only one side of your client experience with us. Your personal tax return is the other end of your tax situation where you hope to see the tax savings realized. It is vital that your business accounting and tax strategy mesh with your personal income tax return.

For example, have you considered the following options that we raise with our business clients?

  • Income Splitting with your spouse and/or children?
  • Family Trusts that can help split income and future capital gains while protecting your family's assets.
  • Have you considered the benefits/costs of having a corporately-owned vehicle?
  • Are you making the best use of the marginal tax brackets to minimize your overall tax burden?
  • Would your tax situation be improved with a better mix of salary and dividends?
  • Are you kept abreast of special tax incentives such as the 100% write-off for purchases of computers?
  • Many accountants avoid HST issues like the plague! Does your accountant review HST or other non-income tax issues with you each year?
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Investors

Your accountant is a valuable resource when you have significant investments. Our experience and tax knowledge can assist you in many ways related to your personal tax return.

  • Capital losses can only be applied against capital gains. We can assist you in making the best use of capital losses that may be in your non-registered investment portfolio.
  • Generally, you should keep interest-bearing investments in your RRSP/RRIF and investments that generate dividend and capital gains in your non-registered portfolio. We can explain why.
  • We can assist you in determining the right mix of RRSP's and non-registered investments.
  • Charitable gifting of securities can provide you or your estate with valuable tax savings. Ask us for more information.
  • There are good reasons not to put your investments in joint ownership with your spouse or children. Ask us for more information.
  • Have you been advised to incorporate your investment income. We'll show you why this only makes sense in a very few cases. Otherwise, it can be very costly error.
  • A Tax-Free Savings Account ("TFSA") can be a valuable investment vehicle. Have you considered the merits of this for your investment and retirement plan?
  • Gifting assets to children is common. We can help advise you on the best tax-effective method of doing this and can help steer you to your lawyer if we sense a need to take Family Law into account.
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Real Estate Owners

Do you own and rent real estate? We have years of experience preparing rental income and expense schedules on tax returns. Did you know that this area is one of the most commonly contested in the Tax Court of Canada? We can confidently advise you on what you can and cannot deduct from your rental income. Our experience is more important when there is personal use involved in the rental property.

  • Canada Revenue Agency will look for and review tax returns where it is apparent that capital assets have been deducted fully in the year of purchase. Learn what the difference is and how your rental income & expense statement will be compliant with the Income Tax Act and Canada Revenue Agency's interpretation.
  • Whether or not to depreciate your rental property is an important question and demands a look at your current tax situation, a look at your future plans, and whether the property is also your principal residence.
  • When you purchase a property it is important to determine who should own the property. We review this with our clients to ensure it fits in with their overall tax and estate planning
  • Selling a rental property should be done with care. We can advise you on the best way to structure and time a sale of the property. We can also advise you on whether, and how much, the Principal Residence Exemption might apply.
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Students

There are valuable tax credits associated with students attending post-secondary education. It is important that the student file a tax return for each year to ensure the tax credits are properly recorded with Canada Revenue Agency and that the best use is made of these tax credits.

  • Up to $5,000 of unused tuition and education credits may be transferred to a parent, grand-parent, spouse, or common-law partner. We will help determine what makes best sense in your situation.
  • Many scholarships and bursaries qualify for non-taxable treatment. Find out if your student's amount fits the definition.
  • These days many students have part-time jobs while attending post-secondary educational institutions. Find out if the student can claim moving expenses.
  • If you are an older student returning to school, you may be able to use your RRSP to assist in the costs by using the Lifelong Learning Plan. Find out more information.
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Estate Executors

Being named the Executor of an estate is an important duty. The Executor must report to various parties such as the beneficiaries, Canada Revenue Agency, potentially the Public Guardian & Trustees office, or to charities who stand to benefit from the residual of the estate. As Executor, you need to protect yourself by engaging the services of professionals who can guide you through the maze.

  • There may be a number of tax returns for the year in which someone passes away. The most basic return is the "terminal return" and reports income earned from January 1st to the date of death. There may also be a separate "rights and things" return. We can assist you in determining what gets reported where and when.
  • The Will of the deceased must be reviewed to determine whether any estate or trust arises upon the death of the taxpayer.
  • The "terminal tax return" reports all accrued capital gains and actual net capital gains realized in the year up to the date of death. We can show you how subsequent reductions in the value of investments can be used to recover some tax paid on the terminal tax return.
  • Special rules apply where property is left to a spouse or a common-law partner. It is important to know your options!
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Disability Tax Assistance

Are you or a relative disabled? Remember that the definition of a disability under the Income Tax Act is actually quite broad. Many people who otherwise function quite well may have a condition that falls within the definition of disabled for tax purposes.

We can assist you in determining whether your condition falls within the tax definition and getting the tax assistance to help with the additional costs of dealing with your condition. Once we have completed our initial review of the situation, we will provide you with a Form T2201 for your physician to complete. This form describes the nature of your disability and is used to determine whether you meet the criteria. Once completed, this form is submitted to Canada Revenue Agency who makes the final decision.

The tax assistance available under the Income Tax Act includes the Disability Tax Credit, the Caregiver Credit, expanded eligibility for medical expenses, the ability to deduct certain expenses which allow you to work, do research, or attend school, and the Credit for Infirm Dependants aged 18 or older.

We have assisted many clients in having their condition recognized by Canada Revenue Agency as a qualifying disability. In many of these cases we have been able to have up to ten years of prior tax returns reassessed by CRA to allow the Disability Tax Credit and other related credits. The refunds resulting from these types of prior years' claims can be significant (and tax-free!).

Canada Revenue Agency has recently started reviewing these claims more carefully due to abuse of the system by some tax practitioners. This is why it makes sense to rely on our experience in this area. We deal strictly by the rules and ensure the maximum tax assistance is received for your legitimate disability or that of a relative.

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Email us for more information or to arrange a free initial consultation.

First Time Donor?

The Federal budget of 2013 included a "super-credit" for first-time charitable donors. An individual is eligible for this "super credit" is they or their spouse or common-law spouse has not claimed the charitable donations tax credit in any of the preceding five tax years. The new credit applies to donations of money made after March 20, 2013. The credit provides an additional tax credit of 25% on monetary donations up to $1,000.

Ontario Trillium Benefit

In prior years Ontario has paid the Ontario Sales Tax Credit, the Ontario Energy & Property Tax Credit, and the Northern Ontario Energy Credit were paid as refundable tax credits on your tax return. That will no longer be the case for tax returns for 2011 and subsequent years. Starting in July 2012, the total of these three credits is lumped together and paid in twelve equal monthly payments.

You must still file a tax return to qualify for these tax credits.

RRSP Contribution Limit

The RRSP contribution limit for the 2014 tax year (for which the contribution deadline is March 1, 2015) will increase to $24,270. In order to make the maximum contribution for 2013, it will be necessary to have earned income of $134,833 for the 2013 taxation year. You can find your RRSP contribution limit by checking your Notice of Assessment for the previous year.

Claiming Medical Expenses For Dependants

The Income Tax Act allows taxpayers to claim medical expenses of their dependants. The amount has been capped at $10,000 in prior years. For 2011 and subsequent years, this $10,000 limit is eliminated. This is especially useful where children are assisting their parents with the costs of long-term care. Often the parent does not have sufficient income to require the medical expense credit. In such a situation the medical expense credit may be transferred to a child.