Protect yourself - tax scams can be costly

Have you received a suspicious emailtelephone callletter, or text message claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)? If the organization or individual is asking for personal information such as your social insurance number, credit card number, bank account number, or passport number, this is a scam

Keep these facts in mind

The Canada Revenue Agency will never do any of the following:

  • send an unsolicited email with a link and ask you to divulge personal or financial information
  • ask for any kind of personal information through email or text message
  • ask to be paid by prepaid credit cards or gift cards
  • leave any of your personal information on an answering machine
  • threaten you

Even though these messages may seem convincing, they are scams and you should never respond to them or click on any of their links.

It is important to remember that you are responsible for all information on your tax return, even if a tax preparer or representative does your taxes. To be safe, stay away from tax preparers offering things that seem too good to be true like large refunds or false tax claims, such as fake charitable donations.

To help protect yourself, new this year the CRA has introduced Account Alerts, a fraud prevention service. When you sign up through My Account or MyCRA app, the CRA will notify you by email if your direct deposit information or your home or mailing address has changed, and if mail sent to you by the CRA was returned.

If you think you may have been the victim of a tax scam or have been tricked into giving out your personal or financial information, contact your local police as soon as possible because your financial security and personal identity are at risk. For more information, go to www.cra.gc.ca/fraudprevention.

Seniors: Enjoy your golden years with these tax credits and benefits

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) wants seniors to get the tax credits, deductions, and benefits they are eligible for.

Here are 11 of the most common credits and benefits for seniors.

  1. Pension income splitting – If you receive a pension, you may be eligible to split up to 50% of your eligible pension income with your spouse or common-law partner.
  2. Guaranteed income supplement – If you receive the guaranteed income supplement or allowance benefits under the old age security program, you can renew your benefit by filing your return by the filing deadline.
  3. Registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) – Deductible RRSP contributions can reduce your tax bill. You have until December 31 of the year in which you turn 71 to contribute to your RRSP.
  4. Registered disability savings plan (RDSP) – This savings plan can help families save for the financial security of a person who is eligible for the disability tax credit. RDSP contributions are not tax deductible and can be made until the end of the year in which the beneficiary turns 59.
  5. Goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit – You may be eligible for the GST/HST credit, a tax-free quarterly payment that helps your offset all or part of the GST or HST you pay. To receive this credit, you must file an income tax and benefit return every year, even if you did not receive income. If you have a spouse or common-law partner, only one of you can receive the credit. The credit will be paid to the person whose return is assessed first. 
  6. Medical expenses – You may be able to claim the total eligible medical expenses you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for you, your spouse or common-law partner, or you or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s children who were born in 1999 or later, provided the expenses were made over any 12-month period ending in 2016 and were not previously claimed. This can include amounts claimed for attendant care or care in an establishment.
  7. Age amount – If you were 65 years of age or older on December 31, 2016, and your net income was less than $83,427, you may be able to claim up to $7,125.
  8. Pension income amount – You may be able to claim up to $2,000 if you reported eligible pension, superannuation, or annuity payments on your tax return.
  9. Disability amount – If you, your spouse or common-law partner or your dependent has a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions and meets certain conditions, they may be eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC). To determine eligibility, you must complete Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate and have it certified by a medical practitioner. Canadians claiming the credit can file online whether they have submitted the form to the CRA for that tax year or not. 
  10. Family caregiver amount – If you are caring for a dependant with an impairment in physical or mental functions, you may be able to claim up to $2,121 when calculating certain non-refundable tax credits. Non-refundable tax credits reduce your federal tax. If the total of the non-refundable tax credits is more than your federal tax, you will not get a refund for the difference.
  11. Public transit amount – You may be able to claim the cost of monthly or annual public transit passes for travel within Canada on public transit in 2016.

 

For more tax questions or additional information, contact any member of our tax team.

This information was made available at: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/nwsrm/txtps/2017/tt170117-eng.html

Changing your marital status may impact your taxes and benefits

Did you recently get married or enter into a common-law partnership? Did you separate or divorce? Were you recently widowed? It is important to inform the CRA about changes in your marital status to make sure you receive the right amount in benefit and credit payments. When your marital status changes, your benefit and credit payments are directly impacted. The CRA will recalculate your benefits and credits based on:

  • your updated family net income
  • the number of children you have in your care and their ages
  • the province or territory in which you live

Your benefit payments will be adjusted the month after the month your marital status changes. 

How do you tell the CRA that your marital status has changed?

You can tell the CRA about your new marital status and the date of the change by using one of the four options: 

When do you have to tell the CRA?

If you recently got married, divorced, became widowed, or entered into a common-law partnership, you must tell the CRA about the change in marital status by the end of the month after the month your status changed. For example, if your status changes in March, you must tell the CRA by the end of April.

If you have become separated, do not notify us until you have been separated for at least 90 days

What if you changed your name?

If you changed your name, let the CRA know as soon as possible. Call us at 1-800-959-8281, so we can update our records. 

 

For more tax questions or additional information, contact any member of our tax team.

This information was made available at: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/nwsrm/txtps/2017/tfsk5-eng.html

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