Winnipeg insulation company to pay nearly $500K in fines and back taxes for tax evasion

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has announced on their website that a Winnipeg-based insulation company has been fined after underreporting its taxable income by more than $1 million.

The CRA’s Investigators found irregularities in the books and records of Thermo Applicators Inc., such as, that the company’s president included personal expenses in the company’s books, including construction costs for a cabin near Kenora, Ont. and a vacation home in Mexico, as well as a fly-in fishing trip. None of these are eligible tax deductions.

Thermo pleaded guilty in Manitoba provincial court on May 21 to two counts of making false or deceptive statements in the 2009-14 tax years. The court found $1,139,000 million in taxable income went unreported, in addition to the claiming of ineligible expenses.

As a result, the company is being ordered to pay $190,142 in income tax and $47,611 of sales tax that should have been withheld. In addition to paying the taxes, the company was fined $237,753.

Once penalties and interest are added to the debt dating back to 2009 the balance will shoot up well over $500,000.

This conviction is a clear reminder that failing to declare income and claiming false expenses can be very costly should the CRA perform and audit and find it.

Keep good records, report all income and claim eligible expenses.

Advertisements

Canadians Must Hold Governments Accountable For Their Spending of Tax Revenue

The average Canadian family’s largest expense is taxes.

Therefore it should not be unreasonable that Canadians expect all levels of government to not waste their tax dollars, money taken off their paychecks and paid into the system.

Whether tax dollars are wasted when a government pays a negotiation bonus to unions, or if they have to pay private companies a fine after breaking contracts with them, governments must do a better job at keeping the optics above-board and avoid $200,000 moving expenses or $1300 a person dinners altogether!

But they don’t, or they can’t, and we, as Canadians have come to expect that from our elected officials.

If governments want to spend fast and loose with money, let it be their own, or at the very least taxes off of non-Canadians – like withholding taxes, or something of the like.

But if we, as Canadians do not hold these governments accountable for their spending of our taxes, we allow them to continue to do this and they will continue to do so.

If we held our elected officials to a higher standard and used the opportunity to remove governments who wasted taxpayer dollars immediately, it would send a message to the next government that they have to spend wisely.

This information came out in the late summer months from the Fraser Institute, an economic think-tank.

To clarify, when referring to taxes, its not just income taxes, but all the taxes Canadian Taxpayers make to all levels of governments (federal, provincial, and local), including both visible and hidden taxes— everything from income taxes, which are less than a third of the total, to payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, health taxes, fuel taxes, vehicle taxes, import taxes, alcohol taxes, and much more.

In a recent report published by the Fraser Institute, they tracked the total tax bill of the average Canadian family from 1961 to 2014.

For 2014, they estimated that the average Canadian family (including unattached Canadians) earned $79,010 in income and paid $33,272 in total taxes—or 42.1% of income—while just 36.6% went to food, clothing, and shelter combined.

Indeed, Canadian families spend more on taxes than the basic necessities of life.

But it wasn’t always this way.

Back in 1961, the first year the Fraser Institute started tracking this data, the average Canadian family paid a much smaller portion of its household income in taxes (33.5%) while spending proportionately more on the basic necessities (56.5%).

Since 1961, Canadians’ total tax bills have increased by 1,886%, dwarfing increases in shelter costs (1,366%), clothing (819%), and food (561%). Even after accounting for inflation (the change in overall prices), the tax bill shot up 149.2% over the period.

And now taxes eat up more income than any other single family expense.

So why should Canadians care, aside from the fact that we work really hard to earn an income, and pay these taxes?

With more money going to the government, families have less to spend on things of their own choosing, whether it’s a new car, technological gadget, or family vacation. They also have less money available to save for retirement and their children’s education, or to pay down household debt.

While there’s no doubt that taxes help fund important government services, the issue is the amount of taxes that governments use compared to what we get in return.

To make an informed assessment, you must have a complete understanding of all the taxes you pay. Unfortunately, it’s not so straightforward because the different levels of government levy such a wide range of taxes—with many taxes buried in consumer prices and hard to discern.

Armed with this knowledge, we can hold our governments more accountable for the resources they extract and continue a public debate about the overall tax burden, the amount and scope of government spending, and whether we’re getting our money’s worth.

Otherwise, taxes will continue to increase.

So why is this important to us?

It is important because we understand that taxation is a necessity in order to have a healthy, wealthy, productive society for everyone, and in paying taxes there are circumstances which arise that make the system disadvantages to some Canadians.

Unlike our neighbours to the south who shoot elected officials for spending money, we are much more in control of our emotions (plus, no guns, eh?) so we need to hold them accountable in different ways, such as, not re-electing them. and going to public debates, and letting the officials that we elect know that they can no longer waste our money!

We can fix this.

What’s New For 2018: CRA

The Filing deadline for your 2017 Personal Tax Return (T1) is April 30th, 2018.

While most Canadian income tax and benefit returns for 2017 are due on April 30, 2018, if you or your spouse or common-law partner is self-employed, you have until June 15, 2018.

You can file online as early as February 26, 2018.

Filing early ensures your benefit and credit payments are not delayed or stopped.

If you have a spouse or common-law partner, they should also file a return early.

The benefit and credit payments include (Link to CRA website included):

This year, the Canada Revenue Agency is making it easier for paper tax filers to do their taxes by mailing them their forms and guides directly.

Want your tax refund faster?

You can register for  the CRA’s direct deposit, and receive your income tax refunds and benefits quickly and securely, however, if you provide the CRA with your bank information AND fall into tax troubles, the CRA can, and will, use that bank account to freeze or seize the money in it to pay off the debt.

Additionally, there are some new changes which can impact your tax return, some of which include;

Medical Expense Tax Credit for Reproductive Expenses

The medical expense tax credit provides relief for individuals who have paid significant medical expenses for themselves or certain dependants.  This credit is non-refundable credit and is intended to reduce taxes owing.

Effective for 2017, amounts paid for reproductive technologies for the purpose of conceiving a child can be claimed as a medical expense tax credit, even if the individual does not have a medical condition preventing them from conceiving a child. Previously, the medical expense tax credit was available if the use of the reproductive technologies directly related to a medical infertility condition.

A request can be made to the Canada Revenue Agency to claim reproductive technologies expenses unclaimed in the last 10 calendar years.

Certification of Disability Tax Credit Certificate

The Disability Tax Credit program provides relief for individuals who have a severe and prolonged impairment in physical and mental functions by providing a non-refundable tax credit that can reduce taxes owing.

As of March 2017, nurse practitioners and medical doctors are allowed to certify Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate.

Federal Public Transit Credit

After June 30, 2017, amounts paid for eligible transit passes no longer qualify for a non-refundable tax credit, however, you can claim a non-refundable tax credit in your 2017 income tax and benefit return for eligible transit passes paid from January 1, 2017 to June 30, 2017.

As a result of the changes made to the Federal Public Transit Credit, the Ontario government introduced a new refundable tax credit effective July 1, 2017, and to be eligible to claim this credit, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be 65 years of age at the beginning of the year;
  • Reside in Ontario at the end of the year; and
  • Paid for eligible transit service from July 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017 (receipts should be retained).

The maximum refundable credit that can be claimed for 2017 is $225. For subsequent years, the maximum refundable credit is $450. Visit the Canada.ca site here, for additional information.

Tuition, Education and Textbook Credit

Effective January 1, 2017, the Federal, education and textbook credits were eliminated, however, any unused credits from previous years can be carried-forward.

As a result of the 2016 Ontario Budget, changes were made to the Ontario tuition and education non-refundable tax credits. Credit is available for eligible tuition fees paid for studies before September 5, 2017. In addition, credit for the education amount is available for months of study before September 2017. Unused credits from previous years can be carried forward.

FILE

Of most importance is that you must file that tax return on time to the CRA.  If you have a habit of being late, the CRA will increase the amount of the Late Filing Penalty (LFP) year-over-year, and they multiply that percentage against the amount of taxes owing.  There is not limit to the amount of penalties which can be charged, and the most I have seen is 93%.  That is a LOT, and it’s in addition to the taxes owing!

If you need assistance with anything discussed above, or if you require more details, or have CRA debts, you can reach us at info@intaxicating.ca for your coast-to-coast CRA Collections expertise.

Visit our website, http://www.intaxicating.ca.

ESOP termination in bankruptcy – US. Who pays?

What happens if a company, that you work for, is in chapter 11 and the new owners want the ESOP plan terminated. The present value of the stock is $0. The stock is not publicly traded. There is some cash left in the cash accounts associated with each participants ESOP account. The trustee is using the cash for the ESOP termination costs. Is this legal or should the company be picking up the costs?

Well, in this case, the court has authorized the payments out of the participants cash funds. As well, if you refer to your plan specific documentation, you will probably find that the company is under no obligation to pay for any plan expenses and the Trustee can use the ESOP funds to pay for costs.

The question of whether plan assets can be used to pay the costs of plan termination is addressed in DOL Advisory Opinion 97-03A. It is a fiduciary question under ERISA (employee retirement income security act). and requires an analysis of the terms of the plan document and of whether the termination of the plan is for the benefit of the participants or the plan sponsor. The cash in the ESOP is not an asset in the bankruptcy estate of the employer. While 97-03A does not refer to ESOP’s it does mention tax qualified pension plans, which indicates that the plan pays for the termination, specifically, “Accordinly, reasonable expenses incurred in implementing a plan termination would generally be payable by the plan.”