Discover Kim's expertise in Canadian Tax as he shares his insights and analyses, contributing weekly to the Financial Post.

Canadian politicians need better financial training

July 16, 2024

Not much has been done to ensure the average Canadian is well-informed and educated about financial matters. One of the most important bodies of knowledge and skills that people need to make basic life decisions is the material that encompasses financial literacy.What is financial literacy?...

It's time to stem the tide of successful people leaving Canada

July 16, 2024

There are many successful Canadians who are exploring or outright leaving this country. Reliable statistics are hard to come by, but tax practitioners such as myself have been kept very busy because economic and taxation policies matter, especially the messaging surrounding such policies...

Tax on home equity is latest proposal in Liberals' bogeyman approach to housing

July 09, 2024

There were a number of reports last week about the prime minister and finance minister meeting with a government-funded think tank to discuss a variety of issues involving “generational fairness,” one of which was the introduction of a home equity tax...

Canada's income tax regime is confusing even to experts and a review is long overdue

July 02, 2024

Recently, I had the good fortune to visit Juno Beach in Normandy, weeks before the 80th anniversary of D-Day. It was a haunting experience to think of the thousands of Canadian and Allied Forces who served and sacrificed their lives on that very spot so that we could preserve our freedoms...

Positives about the capital gains inclusion rate hike? Yep, here are three

June 25, 2024

June 25 is the day the capital gains inclusion rate increase comes into effect. Even though the particular legislation is not yet in a bill and thus not passed into law, it’s quite clear it will become so later this year with legal effect as of that day...

The Conservatives have proposed a complete taxation review — it's about time

June 19, 2024

Taxation policy is critically important since it intersects with the economic and social policies of the government, with the raised funds supporting programs such as social safety nets, pensions and income re-distribution, as well as critical infrastructure...

Liberals playing with inclusion rates is divisive politics at its worst

June 11, 2024

In a blaze of rhetoric that partisan politicians and their followers would be proud of, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland finally released some of the legislative details about the proposed change to the capital gains inclusion rate from the current 50 per cent to two-thirds for corporations and most trusts as well as for individuals who have more than $250,000 of annual capital gains...

More and more people are discovering they are 'rich' in the eyes of Liberals

June 4, 2024

The capital gains inclusion rate increase impacts much more than the rich.I recently had a quick chat with a young friend of mine who works in the public sector and leans heavily left, so we often get into friendly but lively debates about tax and economic policy. The topic d’jour, of course, was the proposed capital gains inclusion rate increase...

Canadians need more time to digest new capital gains inclusion rules

May 28, 2024

It’s almost the summer season, when we get to enjoy BBQs, camping, swimming outdoors and working on our tans for a very short period of time. But wait. Isn’t there an important June date coming up that affects the taxation pocketbook of millions of Canadians?...

Good taxation policies don't need slick videos to make a case for them

May 21, 2024

The capital gains inclusion rate proposal is nothing more than a revenue-generating measure. Albert Einstein is credited with saying “the hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax.” One can debate the context of why he said that, but I tend to agree with good ol’ Albert...

Capital gains tax hike proposal should be delayed, if not scrapped altogether

May 14, 2024

So many questions about the changes, Canadians are 'planning in the dark'. It’s been almost a month since the Canadian federal budget was released and the long tail on budget articles and comments is normally not that long — perhaps a few days or a week at best...

Bad government policy on capital gains leads to more distrust, more departures

May 7, 2024

There’s no shortage of studies, articles and papers on the deployment of public policy by government and the behavioural impact it has on citizens, so most governments say they are well advised by so-called public-policy experts when introducing new laws...

Taxing the rich is not a magic trick that will help younger Canadians

April 30, 2024

I’ve always been fascinated by magicians and how incredible some of their tricks are. A few years ago, my youngest son became fascinated as well. He aggressively took up the craft and let me in on some of the sleight-of-hand and distraction skills that are required to pull off an effective trick...

Taxes should not wag the tail of the investment dog, but that's what Trudeau wants

April 23, 2024

Ottawa is encouraging people to crystallize their gains and pay tax. That’s a hell of a fiscal plan. The Canadian federal budget has been out for a week, which is plenty of time to absorb just how terrible it is...

Corporate 'excess profits' tax? The federal budget could still hold some surprises

April 15, 2024

Over the years, it has become common for the Prime Minister’s Office — or some other connected government office — to strategically leak content to friendly journalists or, as on full display this year, have an extended period of announcements that are designed to try to make the government look good for political purposes...

A single act of courage is needed to fix Canada's tax system, but this government won't do it

April 9, 2024

Has the overall Canadian tax system hit a tipping point? I’ve been concerned about this for quite some time and while I try hard not to cry wolf, I try to shine some light on some very serious concerns. What are some of those concerns? There are many, but let’s highlight some of the bigger and most recent ones...

The bare trust debacle shows the CRA needs to learn to respect taxpayers

April 1, 2024

Taxpayers wasted money and tax professionals lost sleep only to be told the rules had changed. One of my favourite vocalists of all time is the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. I particularly loved her soulful style which was on great display during one of her greatest anthems Respect. The way she spelled out the words of “respect” during the song was classic...

Income averaging is an old idea that deserves another shot

March 26, 2024

Re-think criticisms of income averaging to restore fairness and equity. There are a lot of good things about getting older. One of them in my work life is that I recall the “good old days” with respect to certain taxation matters...

The CRA already has your info, so make automatic tax filing a reality already

March 19, 2024

An automatic tax filing system for low-income taxpayers and for those who have straight-forward tax situations is long overdue. Why? Well, tax is intimidating for most people, but particularly for those who are vulnerable, disabled, single parents, elderly or are simply trying...

New trust reporting rules are daunting and expensive if you fail to file on time

March 12, 2024

New trust reporting rules first proposed in the 2018 federal budgetrequire most trusts to file a T3 tax and information return with expanded reporting on who the settlor(s), trustee(s) and beneficiaries of the trust...

Personal tax credits sound great, but they have a cost that quickly adds up

March 5, 2024

For tax geeks like me, the release of the annual Report on Federal Tax Expenditures is an exciting day, but I’m guessing most people don’t read this data-rich review that “reports on the estimated fiscal cost of federal tax expenditures, sets out the approach used in developing these estimates and projections, and provides detailed information on...

Silly taxation penalties, legislation can't fix Canada's housing shortage crisis

February 27, 2024

Measures play the blame game and will have almost zero impact on problem they're trying to fix. Whether you’re a federal, provincial or municipal government, using the tax system is all the rage to try to solve Canada’s housing supply shortage, which has resulted in no shortage of silly taxation measures and legislation over the past few years...

Ottawa's EV subsidies show tax-free fairy tales do come true for some

February 20, 2024

Lack of transparency, tax-free handouts and dollar amount taxpayers on the hook for shocking and staggering. Let’s pretend you see a newspaper ad for government grants. The federal government is offering $30,000 if you simply agree to be a nice person. You make the application and, voila, you’re approved...

Give your accountant a hug — you may not find another one

February 13, 2024

Incomprehensible new tax legislation combined with fewer accountants may crash in a horrible wreck. There’s a shortage of accountants. That’s not news if you’re an accountant like me. I’ve been recruiting and hiring accountants for almost 30 years and there’s been many ups and downs throughout that time...

Perhaps it's time some non-profits paid tax like everybody else

February 6, 2024

There should be brighter lines in an NPO's activities to determine whether a tax exemption is appropriate or not. Ever wonder what the difference is between a non-profit organization and a registered charity? The Canada Revenue Agency sums up the differences as follows...

It's time for the CRA to implement an automatic tax-filing system

January 30, 2024

People with straight-forward income shouldn't have to pay much, if anything, to annually prepare tax returns.The tax preparation industry in Canada, like many countries, is big business, bringing in about $23.6 billion, according to some estimates. Not all of that is to prepare personal income tax returns, but it would certainly make up a significant chunk of...

Big CRA funding increases could be better spent elsewhere

January 23, 2024

I’m not one to regularly bash the Canada Revenue Agency. It has a very important job to do which is to administer the country’s very complex taxation laws and those of most provinces and territories. If a country has income tax laws, it had better properly administer them...

'Bad guys' go free while compliant Canadians get burdened with new trust rules

January 16, 2024

Countries around the world have been racing to introduce transparency requirements in many different areas of the law. Examples include corporate shareholder registries, required disclosure when implementing certain tax transactions and trust beneficiary reporting requirements...

Thinking of leaving Canada? There's more than just personal tax rates to consider

January 9, 2024

Canadian personal tax rates may be too high, don’t compare favourably with those in the United States and are driving many of our successful people out of the country, but to be fair, there are many considerations other than high taxes that go into a decision to leave...

Canada's high tax rates are driving talented workers to leave the country

January 3, 2024

Canada’s personal tax rates are too high, as many of us realize. There are numerous data sources that consistently put this country’s personal tax rates amongst the highest on Earth. Yes, there are countries with higher marginal personal rates, but there are many more that are lower...

These 5 Income Tax Act provisions need to be amended or eliminated altogether

December 27, 2023

Canadians deserve better than an income tax system filled with simple and silly political gestures. The Department of Finance on Dec. 20, 2023, released the short-term rental draft legislation as part of a small package of taxation proposals...

9 tax-related wishes to Santa to put more money in your pocket

December 19, 2023

What does a tax practitioner ask Santa for Christmas? Well, every year, I have a private session with Santa (longevity in the profession gets you some special hearings). I make the long, but special trek to the North Pole and have some hot cocoa with the jolly fellow and talk tax wishes...

Beware myths around capital gains tax exemption for a principal residence

December 12, 2023

Exemption is one of the most misunderstood tax provisions in the Income Tax Act. Once upon a time, capital gains were not taxable in Canada. But the federal government instituted a tax on capital gains when major tax reform was introduced on Jan. 1, 1972, yet only 50 per cent of the resulting capital gain was included in income...

Canada's housing woes won't be solved by attacking perceived evils through the tax system

December 5, 2023

A super tax won't cause short-term rental owners to put their properties into the long-term rental arena. There was a lot of reaction to the federal government’s horribly thought-out proposal to super-tax short-term rental owners by denying expense deductions if they are renting out in an area that prohibits it...

Trudeau's attack on short-term rental owners will encourage them to not report income

November 28, 2023

Poorly thought out proposal sets dangerous precedent of taxing business owners on gross income. Housing affordability and availability is a complex public policy issue. It is unlikely there is one expert who knows it all since it involves — at a minimum — a great understanding of many disciplines...

If you have American connections, you may owe the IRS some tax money

November 21, 2023

Welcome to a world of onerous tax filing requirements for U.S. tax purposes. Were you born in the United States? Was one of your parents born there? If you answered “yes” to either question, then there’s a good chance you are a U.S. citizen and have been since the moment you took your first breath...

Does your tax adviser know the rules? Probably not, which is why reform is needed

November 14, 2023

The vast majority of Canadian accountants only have a very basic understanding of income tax law. Practising taxation is not for the faint of heart. The Income Tax Act is, by far, the largest statute (and likely the most complex) in Canadian law. It’s fair to say many Canadians believe that most accountants understand tax...


Taxes are Canadians' biggest expense — you need to tax plan all year long

November 7, 2023

Tax planning shouldn’t occur just before the deadlines; it needs to happen at least monthly. At this time of year, there’s no shortage of “year-end tax-planning tips” that show up in articles, social media feeds and your email. It’s like clockwork: such articles magically appear from about Nov. 1 until Dec. 31 every year...

Canadian charities should be worried if alternative minimum tax changes are passed

October 31, 2023

Decades and decades ago, Canada made a deliberate policy choice to use our taxation system to help encourage philanthropy. Such a choice included providing tax-exempt status for registered charities — and tax incentives for donors to make gifts to such organizations — and non-profits...

13 questions to ask for a complete and proper overhaul of Canada's tax system

October 24, 2023

It's time for a comprehensive tax review, not just one to look good. Adam Smith, the Scottish economist and philosopher, laid out his thoughts on what the four basic tenets of a good taxation system are in The Wealth of Nations, his 1776 landmark writing, as follows...

Tax the rich? It would be far better to improve the whole taxation system

October 18, 2023

“Tax the rich” has been a popular rallying cry for many people who feel victimized, entitled or have a weak understanding of how Canada and other countries tax their residents and redistribute income. The phrase has for decades been good politics for many left-leaning politicians and political parties who use it, or something similar, to capitalize on the above group of people for their votes...

Why Canada should adopt the family as the basic taxing unit instead of the individual

October 10, 2023

Canada’s top-end personal income tax rates are too high and they must come down, but there are many other tools that governments have to tax you in ways that chip away at your ability to minimize taxation...

Canada's top-end personal tax rates need to come down

October 4, 2023

Canada needs to take a hard look at lowering personal tax rates and ensure people keep at least half of all gains. Before 2015, Alberta had, by far, the lowest federal-provincial combined top marginal tax rate in Canada at 39 per cent. This comparative advantage contributed greatly to large amounts of investment and people going into Alberta...

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