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A few years ago, I was driving through the southern U.S. when I saw a sign that read: “Prison Area. Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers.” So, I didn’t. Prisons are foreign to me. I’ve never been in one. The closest I’ve come are the annual federal budget lock-ups that happen about this time each year, and which I’ve attended for many years. Not this year, however.

Rather than holding a widely attended budget lock-up, the government instead released its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan on Wednesday. There were some changes that taxpayers should be aware of, which I’d like to share today.

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January saw the release of the highly anticipated and totally redesigned T1 Personal Income Tax return that we’ll be using to file our taxes for the 2019 tax year.

Lest it catch you by surprise, here’s a primer on what’s changed on the 2019 T1 return.

THE RETURN

As the Canada Revenue Agency put it, “Your income tax package has a new look.” No kidding! Some of the changes include the use of plain language, “where possible,” an increased font size and more white space.

The new tax return (ignoring any schedules) has doubled in size to eight pages for 2019 from four pages in prior years. While you might think that this is solely due to the ever-increasing complexity of our tax code, it’s actually because the CRA has decided to include the calculation of federal tax itself as part of the return. (It used to be calculated separately on Schedule 1, which has been retired, along with its companion worksheet).

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It’s hard to escape the Black Friday and Cyber Monday frenzy that comes along with the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. But amidst all that hubbub, let’s not forget about “Giving Tuesday,” the name given to the first Tuesday following the holiday weekend, which falls on Dec. 3 this year.

The day was conceived in 2012 as an initiative of New York’s 92nd Street Y to counter-balance the shopping mania and to perhaps redirect some of those funds to charitable giving. The day has taken off on both sides of the border, with many of us being inundated with special appeals from various charities to make a donation this Tuesday. Over the past seven years, it has grown into a global movement that “inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity,” according to the organization’s website.

With Giving Tuesday coming up, coupled with the Dec. 31 deadline to get a charitable donation receipt for 2019, let’s review the true, after-tax cost of making a charitable gift, along with some lesser-known giving strategies.

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Tuesday marked an auspicious day for tax professionals as it was the release date of the highly anticipated and totally redesigned T1 Personal Income Tax return that we’ll be using to file our taxes for the 2019 tax year.

Lest it catch you by surprise, here’s a primer on what’s changed on the 2019 T1 return.

Read more from Financial Post

 

As eggnog lattes replace pumpkin spice beverages at your local café, it’s a sure sign that the holiday season — and year-end — is fast approaching.

But before retackling the perennial topic of tax-loss selling, does anybody really have any accrued losses in their portfolios in 2019? After all, this past week saw record highs for the TSX and Dow Jones indices. The TSX composite five-year total return was up over 30 per cent and the Dow Jones industrial average had posted a five-year total return of nearly 80 per cent (in U.S. dollars, but more about that later).

The answer may depend on how long you’ve been investing and what you’re holding in your portfolio. 

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