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The interest expense when you borrow money, either through your margin account, an investment loan or a line of credit, and use it for the purpose of earning investment income is generally tax deductible.
This tax deduction is important since it can dramatically reduce your true, effective after-tax cost of borrowing. For example, if you live in Nova Scotia, and you pay tax at the top combined federal/provincial marginal tax rate of 54 per cent, your tax cost of borrowing $100,000 for investment purposes, using a secured line of credit at bank prime rate (currently around 3.45 per cent), is only $1,587 annually, assuming the interest is fully tax deductible.

But if you invest the loan proceeds in mutual funds, your tax calculations may become a bit more complicated depending on the type of distributions you receive and whether those distributions are reinvested.
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April 30, 2018 is the 2017 tax filing deadline for most Canadians. If you or your spouse (or partner) were self-employed in 2017, you actually have until June 15, 2018 to file but any taxes owing are still due by the end of this month. That’s why it’s wise for those who are self-employed to complete at least a draft of your return now, to see how much you may owe by April 30.

Here are some things to watch out for as you work through your 2017 return.

Hey, where are those credits?

If you’ve been scouring your 2017 tax return looking for the line in which you enter your kids’ soccer registration fees, you can stop. It’s not there.
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I can still vividly recall the first time I attempted to complete my own tax return. I was living away from home as a student and had only minimal annual income from my summer employment. Indeed, my income was well below the threshold at which I would have to pay tax due to the basic personal amount. But my friend, Jonathan, convinced me that it was worth filing since by doing so I would be eligible for the GST credit, which, back in the day, was worth nearly $200 — enough to cover almost a month’s rent on my shared student apartment.

So, Jonathan and I got copies of the tax return packages containing numerous schedules and forms, all of which was completely foreign to me. We worked our way through the forms together and after an hour or so of mind-numbingly tedious calculations (which turned out to be pointless since the tax owing was zero), we had completed our returns and mailed them in. Then, that summer, I received my first GST cheque — jackpot!

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If you’re an employee and you use your car for work, you may be entitled to write off some of your automobile expenses on your tax return, but only if you meet four conditions.

The four conditions
The first condition for auto expense deductibility is that you are normally required to work away from your employer’s place of business or in different places. Secondly, under your contract of employment, you are required to pay your own automobile expenses. Note that the Canada Revenue Agency’s position is that you are not considered to have paid your own automobile expenses if your employer reimburses you (or you refuse a reimbursement or reasonable allowance from your employer.)

The third condition is that you don’t receive a non-taxable allowance for motor vehicle expenses. Generally, an allowance is non-taxable when it is based solely on a “reasonable per-kilometre rate.”

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Small business owners, along with incorporated doctors, lawyers and other professionals, breathed a collective sigh of relief on Tuesday night as they started to parse through the government’s entirely new approach to dealing with passive investment assets held by Canadian controlled private corporations (CCPCs).

You’ll recall that the small business tax debacle began last summer when the government announced that it was conducting a review of tax planning strategies involving private corporations. The Department of Finance released a paper in July 2017 outlining three areas of concern: income sprinkling using private corporations, converting a private corporation’s regular income into capital gains and passive investments inside private corporations. The government announced in October 2017 that they were not proceeding with the proposals regarding converting regular income to capital gains. The income sprinkling proposals were revised in December 2017 and the detailed rules concerning restricting the earning of passive investment income inside a corporation were to be released as part of the 2018 federal budget.
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