Author Archives: Brian Poncelet

Claim these new and little-used deductions and credits to save tax

Canada caregiver amount

This credit is new for 2017 and replaces the infirm dependent, caregiver and family caregiver tax credits. If you’re a caregiver for a dependent relative (parent, sibling, adult child or certain others)

Home accessibility expenses

If you’ve incurred certain expenses to improve the accessibility of a principal residence for a qualifying person (seniors and those eligible for the disability tax credit) you may be entitled to a tax credit of 15 per cent on up to $10,000 of eligible home renovation expenses.

Tuition costs

If you have a child who attends postsecondary school in or outside Canada, or even online, you may be able to claim a tuition tax credit for up to $5,000 of tuition costs if the student’s income is low enough that he or she can’t utilize the full credit.

Self-employment losses

You’re able to deduct any costs incurred for the purpose of earning income from a business as long as they’re reasonable in amount. When you start deducting a portion of your home-related costs, vehicle costs and more, you may have a loss to report.

Home office costs

You may be able to claim expenses related to a home office if it’s your principal place of work or the space is used solely for your work and used on a regular and continuous basis for meeting clients.

Vehicle costs

You’ll be able to claim part of your vehicle costs if you’re an employee, partner or business owner using your vehicle for work purposes.

Child care costs

You’re entitled to claim eligible child-care costs of up to $8,000 for each child under age 7, $5,000 for each child aged 7 to 16, $11,000 for a disabled child of any age (if they are eligible for the disability tax credit), and $5,000 for a disabled child older than 16 if they don’t qualify for the disability tax credit.

Make a saving strategy

The people

Janis and James, both 40, live in Toronto with their infant. James works outside the home, earning $130,000 a year, and Janis is at home with their baby.

She does not receive any maternity leave because she was downsized from her job prior to getting pregnant. She also had not built up enough hours to qualify for employment insurance benefits.

The problem

While the couple is able to meet expenses on James’s income, they are not able to put a dent in eliminating their line of credit. They also had to put investing and saving on hold as they manage on one income and the added expense a baby brings to a household.

They may have to put some things on hold, such as gym memberships and travel if they don’t have enough saved. “These things won’t have to be on hold forever, but if they can go without some of it for now, it will help keep them from adding to their debt until Janis finds a job,” she says.

When Janis resumes working again, she should allocate her income to lump sum and annual expenses shortfalls first and increasing their line of credit payments.

Currently, they are on track to eliminating the debt within 10 years. Richardson would like to see it gone in half that time.

“Once the line of credit is paid down, the more available credit they could utilize in case of an emergency,” she says. “Otherwise, it would be difficult to save emergency funds while they are paying child-care costs.”

The couple also needs an insurance review. They each have term policies but they fall well short of taking care of the mortgage, other debts and future child-care expenses. They should consult an insurance broker to get the most competitive rates.

Working Longer May Benefit Your Health

The scientific research is inconclusive, though it tends to tilt toward “yes.” This is particularly pronounced among people who find work fulfilling in the first place, who tend to be office workers, teachers and others whose workplace is not, say, a factory or a construction site.

More so than people in most previous generations, baby boomers are continuing to work past their early 60s, often well beyond. Sometimes, this means delaying retirement from a longtime job, but it can instead involve some kind of bridge job, part-time employment or self-employment. It turns out that, these days, older Americans who retire — in the sense of completely withdrawing from the paid labor force — are increasingly in the minority.

“What is the benefit of work? Activation of the brain and activation of social networks may be critical,” Nicole Maestas, an associate professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, said in an interview.

If the engagement and connections from a job — as well as the income — can contribute to a healthier older population, the implication is that policy makers should make it easier for older workers to engage in paid work. “This does not mean politicians should force people to ‘work until they die,’” Mr. Heller-Sahlgren said. “They should remove disincentives to working.”

Adding a piece to the puzzle is research conducted about AARP Experience Corps, a nonprofit enterprise run by AARP that brings people age 50 and over into elementary schools. The project started in five cities in 1995 and has since expanded to 20 metropolitan areas. And in a series of studies, volunteers found physical benefits from getting to and from school, as well as cognitive gains from interacting with children

Simple Ways to Invest in Real Estate

This is an investment as old as the practice of land ownership. A person will buy a property and rent it out to a tenant. The owner, the landlord, is responsible for paying the mortgage, taxes and costs of maintaining the property.

Ideally, the landlord charges enough rent to cover all of the aforementioned costs. A landlord may also charge more in order to produce a monthly profit, but the most common strategy is to be patient and only charge enough rent to cover expenses until the mortgage has been paid, at which time the majority of the rent becomes profit.

Real estate investment groups are sort of like small mutual funds for rental properties. If you want to own a rental property, but don’t want the hassle of being a landlord, a real estate investment group may be the solution for you.

A company will buy or build a set of apartment blocks or condos and then allow investors to buy them through the company, thus joining the group. A single investor can own one or multiple units of self-contained living space, but the company operating the investment group collectively manages all the units, taking care of maintenance, advertising vacant units and interviewing tenants. In exchange for this management, the company takes a percentage of the monthly rent.

This is the wild side of real estate investment. Like the day traders who are leagues away from a buy-and-hold investor, the real estate traders are an entirely different breed from the buy-and-rent landlords. Real estate traders buy properties with the intention of holding them for a short period of time, often no more than three to four months, whereupon they hope to sell them for a profit. This technique is also called flipping properties and is based on buying properties that are either significantly undervalued or are in a very hot market.

Real estate has been around since our cave-dwelling ancestors started chasing strangers out of their space, so it’s not surprising that Wall Street has found a way to turn real estate into a publicly-traded instrument.

With the exception of REITs, investing in real estate gives an investor one tool that is not available to stock market investors: leverage.

We have looked at several types of real estate investment. However, we have only scratched the surface. Within these examples there are countless variations of real estate investments

What You Can Do Now to Restrict Your Kids’ iPhone Use

In order to create restrictions—and ensure your children can’t easily turn them off—you’ll need to turn on passcodes in your iPhone settings. The passcode will need to be input to access the Restrictions settings.

To create a passcode, go to Settings > General > Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode). Create the passcode you want and you’ll be all set

To access the Restrictions app, you’ll need to open your Settings and go to General. In there, you’ll see an option for Restrictions. Once you tap it, the software will request you input a passcode. Do that and you’ll see a long list of restrictions.

First things first, decide whether you want your children to access built-in apps, including Apple’s Safari browser, the Camera app, and FaceTime. You can also decide whether iTunes and the ability to install apps should be turned on. If you don’t allow apps to be installed, only you will be allowed to install programs when you turn off the restriction and install apps from the App Store

If you’ve decided to allow your children to download apps but want to restrict what they can access, scroll down on the Restrictions menu to the “Allowed Content” section.

If games is the real problem you’re dealing with, Apple makes it easy to control that behavior.

If you scroll the bottom of the Restrictions menu, you’ll see a “Game Center” section. There you can decide whether your kids should be allowed to play multiplayer games or communicate with others inside a game