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Ross + Sylvestre Tax, Tips & Traps

The Q2 2019 issue of Tax, Tips, and Traps is now available. To read the full issue, please visit the Ross + Sylvestre Chartered Professional Accountants LLP Newsletter section on RSGroupCPA.com

 

Tax Ticklers

SOME QUICK POINTS TO CONSIDER:
Guidance from the Government of Canada on the new CPP regime, with a specific focus on the age to start your CPP retirement pension is now available. The website provides commentary on changes commencing in 2019, estimating future receipts, and determining past contributions. It also contains an explanatory video and links to the Canadian Retirement Income Calculator. www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/campaigns/cpp-choice

 Interest rates on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans will be lowered starting in 2019-20. The floating rate will be reduced to prime (from prime plus 2.5%), and the fixed rate will be reduced to prime plus 2% (from prime plus 5%). Also, the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act will be amended so that student loans will not accumulate any interest during the six-month grace period after a student leaves school, during which repayments are not required.

 Resolving objections with CRA can take a long time! For example, formal income tax objections resolved in April that were considered “medium complexity” (which includes many that we deal with) were completed by CRA in an average of 224 days from the date the objection was submitted.

Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP): Enhanced Possibilities
The HBP allows first-time home buyers (special rules apply for those with a disability) to withdraw amounts from their RRSP to buy or build a home. Budget 2019 proposed to increase the HBP withdrawal limit to $35,000 from $25,000. As the HBP is avilable to each individual, a couple could access up to $70,000 to assist in a first-time home purchase. This increase is effective for withdrawals made after March 19, 2019.
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Shared Custody of a Child: “The Equal or Near Equal” Issue

The Canada child benefit is normally paid entirely to the parent with whom the child primarily resides. Where the child resides with the parents on an equal or near equal basis, each parent is entitled to half of the credits/benefits which would be available if the child resided primarily with them. A recent court case decided that while that deemed “equal or near equal” varied, it was never accepted below 40%. And while 40% is the legislated threshold for determining shared-custody status for Federal Child Support Guidelines (FCSG), the Court found that a determination of “equal or near equal” status for purposes of these benefits should be made without reference to the FCSG. The Court determined that the income tax definition required that the percentage of time with the child must be able to be rounded off to no less than 50%.
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First-time Home Buyer Incentive: New Possibility
Budget 2019 proposed the new Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) first-time home buyer incentive, which is a shared equity mortgage that would give eligible first-time home buyers the ability to lower their borrowing costs by sharing the cost of buying a home with CMHC. Funding of 5% of the home purchase price would be available, enhanced to 10% if the home is newly constructed. Watch out for details fo this new incentive to be released in the fall.

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