What I learned from my experience with American Express that helped my firm

The Voluntary Disclosures Program

On: 2017-11-01 18:09 

The Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP) gives a second chance to change a previously filed tax return or to file a return that should have been filed for the previous 10 taxation years. The main advantage of using this administrative program is the relief from prosecution and penalties. In addition, partial interest relief can be sought to effectively reduce payments and encourage taxpayers to come forward.

A tax aimed at high-income people who shelter income could result in a surprising tax bill for you even in years when you don't have any taxable income.

Changes in capital gains tax rates?

On: 2017-03-08 14:36 

Similar to an annual health check, it is important to have a financial health check on a periodic basis. A review of your overall financial plan will ensure that it still meets your desired goals. Your investment strategy forms part of your overall financial plan and should be reviewed periodically to ensure it is in line with your overall objectives for wealth accumulation, retirement, and other financial objectives.


On: 2017-02-27 10:00 

We are pleased to provide you the following reminders in order to assist you with your tax planning needs.

Once again, mutual funds have calculated their year-end distributions and are paying them out.

Important Tax figures for 2017

On: 2017-01-16 12:48 

The following chart shows changes in important federal tax information for 2017 from 2016. Some of the figures are unchanged, some are indexed to inflation and others changed because of legislation.

If you own a business and you're planning an exit strategy or an asset sale, you may want to complete it by December 31, 2016.

Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw
It’s not uncommon for a Canadian to be drawn south to the United States for work, personal or family reasons. Leaving home to take advantage of a new opportunity is quite exciting and often opens the door to future opportunities. However; before you leave Canada there are many tax issues that need to be considered. While rarely at the top of anyone’s list, tax planning is essential to ensure you are in the best position possible after the relocation. This applies to both tax in the United States and Canada as well. Depending on how you structure the transaction you (and your family) may be required to pay the Canadian departure tax. To help clients, prospects and other understand the tax and conditions under which it is assessed; RSW Accounting + Consulting has provided a summary below.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

On: 2016-06-03 11:28 

Cash flow projections build a roadmap to success

We often hear about the importance of planning, and the message is usually right! If we don’t decide in advance where we want to go, how are we going to get there? Sure, we all have thoughts about growing our business, with hopes about where we want it to be in 1,2,5, and 10 years, but are these really “plans” in the true sense of the word? Not unless they are supported by detailed projections and actionable steps with goals.

Claim Every Tax Credit Available

On: 2016-04-02 15:28 

Tax credits can shave considerable sums of money off your annual tax liability. Click below for a list of some of the most common credits, some of which can be transferred between relatives. It's worth knowing this list if you want to save money.

Federal Budget 2016

On: 2016-03-22 20:44 

On March 22, 2016, the Honorable Minister of Finance of Canada, Mr. William Francis Morneau, tabled the government’s 2016 Budget. We are providing you with a summary and analysis of the principal personal, and corporate tax changes announced in the budget speech.

The sale of your residential property may be exempt (or partially exempt) from taxation by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) if the property is designated as your principal residence. This designation is made at the time of sale or once the property is considered sold.

The Year of emigration

On: 2016-02-03 19:41 

Canada is one of the few countries in the world that imposes a tax on emigration or charges what is often referred to as a “departure tax”. When an individual emigrates from Canada in a calendar year, they are treated as a Canadian resident for the period they are a resident in Canada, and a nonresident for the time period they are a nonresident of Canada, and is usually referred to as a part-year resident.

As part of the federal budget, the Canadian government enacted significant changes to the taxation of estates and trusts, which will come into force on January 1, 2016. The biggest change is the elimination of the graduated rate taxation that these trusts have enjoyed since 1971. All income retained in a testamentary trust will be taxed at the highest tax rate applicable in its province of residence.

Scam: Modifying the caller ID

On: 2015-11-13 14:13 
Today’s electronic world opens the door to potential abuses, and continued vigilance is always needed. We have learned that some people have been able to modify the caller ID that appears on their phone calls with the intention of tricking the people that they call into divulging information or making payments. This is called “spoofing” and you need to be aware.

Tax-loss selling season is quickly approaching and it's time to review your portfolio to sift out non-performing assets. Selling them can generate capital losses to help minimize your tax obligations.

Generally, charities can issue receipts for donated cash or other property provided that the transfer is voluntary and the donor has no expectation of return other than something of nominal value.

Federal Budget 2015

On: 2015-04-21 17:17 

Federal Budget 2015
April 21, 2015


Please ===CLICK HERE=== to view or download a copy.

One trillion dollars will pass between generations in the next two decades. That suggests a lot of estate planning ahead. BMO commissioned a survey that showed that in this country, the average bequest is just under $100,000. The study also revealed what Canadians plan to do with their inheritance. Read on for more details of the study and suggestions on how to discuss estate planning with your family.

Why examine estate freezes? The importance of family-owned business in Canada cannot be overstated. The success of these businesses depends on a number of factors, including changes in ownership. While an estate freeze may not eliminate the tax liability that will arise at the time the business is transferred, proper structuring of the freeze can defer tax costs to future periods, as well as establish the amount of the tax liability that will arise at the time of the taxpayer’s death. In addition, in the process of planning and implementing an estate freeze, there are other many issues that must be addressed. The issues that we will focus on are the characteristics of the preferred shares to be issued and the proper structuring of the freeze to avoid any adverse tax consequences.

Joint Forces Combating Tax Evasion

On: 2014-06-16 14:19 
Trying to evade taxes and conceal money off-shore is about to get a whole lot harder to do. Forty-seven countries, including a substantial number of well-known tax havens, have banned together signing a pact that will revolutionize the way the world shares tax information. These 47 countries have stepped up their ongoing hunt for individuals stockpiling undisclosed money overseas. Switzerland and Singapore are the most notable members of the pact, as Switzerland was at the center of the scandal that gave rise to FATCA (the United States’ 2010 Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act). Both countries, with reputation of ironclad bank confidentiality, now have been forced to bend on their strict banking privacy policies due to intense international pressure.

The idea of filing a tax return may seem a bit far-fetched to the students in your family, but many students and their parents don't understand that even if they have no earnings, they may be getting money back from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

IT System Consulting

The "Heartbleed" bug has sent businesses and individuals into attack mode in order to prevent passwords from being disclosed, personal information from being compromised — and ultimately, assets from being stolen.

T1135 deadline extended

On: 2014-03-07 10:14 

The Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) has responded to the concerns raised against the new T1135 reporting requirements and announced on February 26, 2014 transitional relief for the 2013 taxation year only.

Lifetime Capital Gain Exemption

On: 2014-03-04 11:52 

Under the income tax system when assets are sold the taxpayer must pay tax on the appreciation of the assets. This appreciation is often referred to as capital gains. Note that a property does not have to be actually disposed of for it to be considered ‘sold’ under the income tax system. For example at death, a taxpayer is deemed to have ‘sold’ all their assets for income tax purposes at a fair value. To shelter some of these harsh tax consequences the income tax system provides an individual with the lifetime capital gain exemption (“LCGE”) on capital gains realized on the sale of qualified assets.


Income splitting has always been an attractive but complicated way of reducing your taxes. Canadian tax laws are designed to ensure that family members cannot easily reduce their tax liability by splitting their income and allowing each spouse take advantage of their personal marginal tax brackets. Despite these strict laws, there are some effective ways, still available, that taxpayers can successfully split their income.


With the busy holiday season, you probably did not have much time to think about finances. But as you kick off the New Year, take some time to compile or update your personal financial statement and make a list of important documents.

Consulting Services

I recently noted that in IBBA's MarketPulse (fourth quarter 2012), it was reported that for the first time in history, baby boomer retirement is the number one reason driving owners to exit their businesses in the lower middle market sector. The Pew Research Center in the US estimates that from 2011 for the next 19 years, 10,000 baby boomers a day will reach the age of 65. In 1971, 6.8% of Quebec’s population was 65 years or older. In 2006, 14% and by 2056, 28% of the population will be 65 or older.

Old Age Security Pension

On: 2013-10-28 10:07 

Old Age Security Pension (“OAS”) is monthly benefit available to most Canadians who reach the age of 65. All taxpayers wanting to participate and receive their OAS are encouraged to sign up at least 6 months before they reach the age of 65. The amount of the benefit depends on the amount of years the taxpayer lived in Canada and their annual taxable income. Currently, in 2013, for every dollar you earned over $70,954 you have to pay back 15% of the OAS you receive. Therefore if you earn over approximately $114,640 in 2013 your pension is completely eliminated by claw-back and you received no benefit. Every year this claw-back threshold is adjusted for inflation.

Graduated tax rates

On: 2013-09-04 11:48 

On June 3, 2013 a consultation paper was published by Finance Canada addressing the concern that the graduated tax rates currently in place for testamentary trusts are “unfair” since they are depriving the federal government from tax revenues.


Dividend reinvestment can put your investing on autopilot. Shares that pay dividends can be attractive investments and a mainstay of conservative portfolios. Plus, dividends from taxable Canadian corporations enjoy beneficial tax treatment. But before you jump in, here are a few issues to consider.

The CRA recently released the revised Foreign Income Verification Form T1135 as announced in the 2013 Federal Budget.

The Ins and Outs of GST/HST

On: 2013-06-19 15:23 

Most businesses, at least those with annual worldwide sales of more than $30,000, must register for GST/HST, but even if registration isn't mandatory for you or your business, it may be a good idea to sign up voluntarily.

The past few years have seen significant academic effort devoted to the study of family businesses. This is well deserved, because family businesses account for an overwhelmingly large portion of the economic wealth generated in Canada and in other developed countries. These academic studies focus on the reasons why some family businesses transition well from generation to generation, and others fail.


On: 2013-04-29 12:18 

Every day, retailers across the country issue refunds to customers for reasons that range from a bad fit to the wrong colour to a question of taste.

Our experience with assisting owners who head Import and Distribution organizations have helped us to identify 5 characteristics that typically signal much higher company valuations.

Research Can Generate Tax Benefits

On: 2013-01-14 16:14 

Valuable tax credits are available for certain research and development projects. While the qualifications are stringent, your company may be eligible if you are studying ways to solve problems.

Why do I want an audit?

On: 2012-10-18 10:31 

An audit engagement comprises of an independent evaluation of organizations financial statements, based on generally accepted standards

Owning a restaurant involves challenges that go far beyond serving good food. Restaurateurs must comply with strict tax rules and health regulations as well as deal with payrolls, bar costs, vendors, inventories and leases, to name just a few of the issues. Click Full Article to see how we can provide the expertise you need to run a profitable restaurant.

We see two significant trends in the Import/Distribution sector which started several years ago, continuing for the next few years.

Changes in Quebec Manufacturing

On: 2012-05-03 13:59 

Many, many years ago, the manufacturing sector in Quebec was thriving, in various sectors, including automotive, aerospace, textile and others. Cost of transportation, and logistics, and concerns of quality and reliability allowed manufacturers to stay competitive.

Retention of Records

On: 2012-04-13 15:35 

Many of us are active in bookkeeping, but when can we do some book-purging?

Black marketeering is said to be rampant in the Canadian construction industry, and the federal government is fighting back by requiring construction companies to report certain levels of payments to subcontractors. Clicking "Full Article" will provide you with the information you need to stay on the right side of the law and advise you of the high cost of non-compliance.

In 2004, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) launched a pilot project to examine the compliance with tax rules of Canada’s high net worth individuals (HNWI) and their related entities. The project arose from evidence gathered by tax agencies in other parts of the world that indicated that high net worth individuals may not be in full compliance of their countries’ tax laws through the use of multiple business entities and complex structures located in one or many jurisdictions.