If you’re well on your way to climbing to the top of your own financial step ladder you already know how important it is to plan for your retirement. RRSPs (registered retirement savings plan) are a great tool to help you save for your retirement as well as being a tax saving incentive while you’re still working. So whether you’re an old hack or a newbie when it comes to RRSPs there are still a few things to consider and be made aware of before the March 1st contribution deadline arrives.


You’ve probably been asked if you know what your contribution room is or you’ve heard this term and are not sure what it means. If you’re working with a financial adviser he/she will be able to help you determine this. For 2018 the contribution room is up to 18% of your income to a maximum of $26,230. However, the good news is that if you’re a newbie to the RRSP game – meaning you’ve been working for some time but have never socked any savings into a registered retirement savings plan the contribution room number will likely be larger for you because unused RRSP contribution room accumulates and carries forward.

Earlier I mentioned tax incentives. The money that you contribute to an RRSP lowers your net income. Essentially, it lowers your tax payable saving you money on taxes. And that’s not all. A considerable RRSP contribution will also increase your tax refund allowing you to put the extra money towards paying down debt or adding it to an emergency fund.


RRSP and tax season is a good time to take inventory of your finances. Have you saved as much as you would have liked in the past year? Were you blind-sided by unexpected expenses? By creating a budget for yourself that includes a monthly RRSP contribution you’ll be in a better position to achieve your long-term goals. Starting a savings plan (whether it’s for your retirement, your child’s education or a new home) is a solid step forward towards reaching the top of your financial summit.

If you feel overwhelmed and can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to your retirement it may help to write your goals down on paper. With your goals down in black and white and a plan to help get you there you’ll soon be climbing your way up the financial step ladder with your best foot forward.


Your T4 slip will generally note your taxable income, benefits, allowances, deductions, and pension plan contributions. Remember, if you changed jobs or had multiple employers last year, you’ll need to make sure that you have T4 slips from all of them. You may have already received your T4. If you have it, bring it with you when making your RRSP contribution with your adviser. It can help in calculating the optimal RRSP contribution for 2018. While RRSP season generally means planning for retirement it’s also part of the whole financial spectrum that includes tax planning, tax preparation and tax savings. If you don’t yet have your T4 and are already a WEALTHplan or TAXplan client then we can request your T4 on your behalf from the Canada Revenue Agency.

The new year always brings changes. We join fitness classes to change our bodies. We clean our homes of clutter to clear our minds. And we make new resolutions to change our lives. There are some changes we have no control over, however, and that’s changes to income tax laws.

What may have been a credit or deduction last year may not be so this year. It’s always important to know what the changes are so you can take advantage of the ones that pertain to you. Knowing what you can and can’t claim is the first step to proper tax planning. TAXplan has put together a list of 8 changes to the tax laws that may have the most affect on your 2018 tax return.

1. Medical Expenses and service animals

While you were able to claim medical expenses in the past this year Canadians suffering from severe mental disorders will be able to claim the cost of caring for a service animal. If your service animal has been specially trained to help you cope with severe mental impairment you will be able to claim expenses such as costs to maintain your service animal, veterinary expenses and food. To find out if you qualify ask a TAXplan TAXpro for more details.

2. The Climate Action Incentive

New for residents of New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan is the Climate Action Incentive tax credit.  Starting April 2019 residents of these provinces will be charged a federal carbon tax called a “fuel charge”. You’ll see the added tax when you fill up for car fuel or added to your home heating bill. So if you live in these provinces you will receive an added incentive of $598 in Saskatchewan, $248 in New Brunswick, $300 in Ontario and $336 in Manitoba. Your TAXplan TAXpro can fill you in on the details and will make sure you receive the credit if you are eligible.

3. Canada Child Benefits now available to “Foreign Born Status Indians”

“Foreign-born status Indians” (individuals that reside in Canada and are Indians under the Indian Act but are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents) are now allowed to retroactively apply for CCB for the 2005 taxation year through to June 30, 2016.

4. New changes for parents!

The 2018 federal budget has made changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) parental sharing benefit that allows parents to take up to five additional weeks of time off, starting in March 2019 after the birth or adoption of a child. To be eligible you must be a parent with a child born or placed for adoption on or after March 17, 2019 and both new parents must share the time at home with the new baby. To learn more contact a TAXplan TAXpro for details.

5. Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance Rates

If you’re a business owner this will affect you. Changes to CCA takes effect for purchases of equipment made on or after November 21, 2018 and before 2024 and will affect the amount claimed on the 2018 tax return. Initially business owners were only able to claim 50% of the cost in the year of purchase but now with the new “accelerated investment incentive”150% of the normal CCA rate can be claimed. That’s 3 times the original amount!

6. Elimination of the home relocation loan

As per changes that were proposed in the 2017 federal budget, the home relocation loan deduction will be eliminated as of 2018.

7. Reduction of the small business corporate tax rate

More good news for small business owners: the small business corporate tax rate was reduced from 10.5% to 10% effective for 2018 with a further reduction to 9% for 2019!

And lastly:

8. Retirement income security benefits for veterans now qualify for pension splitting.

This will be retroactive to 2015. If you’re a veteran receiving retirement income security benefits you will now be eligible for pension splitting. The cap on the amount that can be split is $103,056 for 2018.

There you have it….TAXplan’s list of the top 8 changes to the tax act that will likely have an affect on the average Canadian. To learn more about changes to the tax laws for this year visit the Canada Revenue Agency website or contact a TAXplan TAXpro for details.



Global News finance writer, Erica Alini recently asked Gennaro De Luca (CEO WEALTHplan & TAXplan Canada) to answer this question from a reader and we’d like to share it with you:


“Are withdrawals from a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) taxed on your gross or net income? I’m trying to figure out how much we can take out without going to a higher tax bracket.”

A Money123 reader (the question was lightly edited)

The full amount of the RRSP withdrawal will be added to your income for the year it is withdrawn. It is added to your tax return on line 129 before computing total income. Although the financial institution is required to withhold tax on the withdrawal, the final tax bill will depend on your taxable income for the year. If the withdrawal, when added to your other taxable income sources, pushes you into a higher marginal tax rate, that portion of your taxable income will be taxed accordingly. As far as the CRA is concerned, the source of the taxable income is not relevant; the total taxable income figure is what matters. On another note, if you have other income, an RRSP withdrawal may be an expensive way to pay for something.  You may want to consider a line of credit or other savings. At the very least, consider withdrawing the funds at the beginning of the year to defer taxes for up to 16 months or better yet withdraw the funds in a low-income year to mitigate the tax liability.

– Gennaro De Luca, certified financial planner, WEALTHplan Canada


With only 8 weeks left for holiday gift buying, shoppers everywhere are flooding the stores looking for that perfect gift. If you’re like me, you start each holiday season with the best intentions by making a list that you swear you’re going to stick to. Procrastination and busy schedules however keep us from sticking to our holiday shopping goals and we resort to last minute purchases that push our budgets over the edge.  If you’ve created a budget for yourself throughout the year and want to stay on track of your holiday spending you can do it with a little planning and these five helpful tips:




Yes – we all want to buy our friends and family gifts they’ll really love but that doesn’t mean breaking the bank. Give your credit cards and bank balance a break by setting a limit to what you can spend. Create a mini holiday budget based on your household budget.  If you don’t have a budget in place,  apps like Mint and You Need A Budget are a great place to get started and help you determine what you can afford.




Yes – the mail carrier is a nice guy cause and the security guard at work always has a smile for you but that doesn’t mean they have to be on your gift buying list.  You’re not Santa Claus.  You have a finite budget and can only really afford to buy gifts for those individuals you’re really close to.  If you have more than 7 names on your list do some editing and cut it down to 5. You can still give to other people in your life but it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. With a little imagination you can show people you care about them without breaking the bank.  The holidays are about spending time with friends and family not about spending.




We all have that wealthy aunt or sibling who outdoes everyone every year with their gift giving. But just because they are in a financial position to purchase expensive gifts doesn’t mean you are. Keep your shopping to items you can afford and that fit your own finances. After all, it isn’t the gift that matters but the thought. Keeping your cash flow positive at this time of the year will have it’s rewards in the new year when the credit card bills start to roll in.




Search the internet for sales and coupons on items you’re looking to buy.  Online shopping is a great way to avoid the last minute shopping craze in crowded malls and you can do it from anywhere and at anytime. Before you shop in local stores, comb through the coupons you received in your mailbox before hitting the mall. These tactics will not only help you stay on track but will make gift buying easier.




It’s not always about the size of the gift box or the price on the tag. Sometimes the best gift of all is your time. Think about all the people you’ve neglected over the year. Not because you want to but because you’re too busy or you don’t live close by. Spending time with friends and family in a meaningful way goes well beyond the holiday moment. A heartfelt gesture to your nana in the nursing home is a gift that will reward the gift giver and the recipient. Volunteering at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter are just a couple of ways you can make a difference without spending a cent.



Lastly, remember that the holidays are a time to rejoice in the friends and family we have with us. You want to enjoy this time of the year not stress over how you’ll manage to pay your credit card bill when it arrives. Keep to your budget, give yourself time, get organized and you’ll be in a great financial position to start off the new year.


If you’re lucky enough to have a company pension – something few of us can claim to own – then you may already be aware of the options you have when you decide to leave your employer.  Whether you leave your employer at retirement or you terminate your employment for other reasons, if you have been paying into a company pension there are some choices you may be faced with.

Do you take a lump sum payment or a monthly payment?  Firstly, it’s important to keep in mind that every pension has its own set of rules and is subject to provincial or federal regulations, which determine when or if an employee is able to take the lump sum.  Equally important is that taxes are extremely high when commuting a pension of a high value.  While a large portion can be transferred tax free to a Locked In Retirement Account (LIRA) it is still advisable to do your homework before making a decision on whether to commute or not commute the value of your pension.

WEALTHplan has put together a list of 6 things to keep in mind when deciding to commute or not commute your pension:



Taking the lump sum, or commuted value, looks even more attractive when short-term interest rates and bond yields are low, as they are now. The lower they are, the higher the payout will be. However, a large portion of the lump sum pay out will be taken by taxes in the year of receipt. While a large portion can be transferred tax free to a locked in retirement account it is best to go over the numbers with a certified financial planner specializing in tax who will be able to advise you and tell you exactly what you will be left with.


Along with your financial planner you can take the left over portion that is taxable and invest it into an RRSP.  The thinking here is that if you’ve taken the lump sum payout you are most likely between the ages of 50 and 55 – when most pensions are available for commuting to employees. If you’re planning on working somewhere else or have other income available to you it makes the most sense to invest the commuted value of your pension into an RRSP until you take full retirement.


Despite the downsides of commuting your pension (you need to take it by a certain age & the amount that is taxed) you may feel you’d rather invest your pension on your own or with your financial planner. A Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA) is an option that is appealing because it gives you investment choices and the money is held there until retirement.


Sometimes the decision to take the commuted value of your pension goes beyond tax and investment considerations.  You may decide you want to leave some sort of legacy income for your spouse or kids that is guaranteed.  Or you’ve decided to leave your employment, take your commuted pension and pay down your mortgage. The temptation to become debt-free is enticing and the opportunity of the lump sum payout is an option that some employees want to consider.


Most often than not, employees with pension plans are not aware of the restrictions associated with their pensions.  The decision to retire early and take the lump sum value by age 50 or 55 is not a decision to be made months before the deadline date.  Employees should be aware of their options years before their early retirement date comes up to be prepared to make a proper decision when the time arrives.


Lastly, the temptation to take a large sum of money that is available to you is tempting. Do your research by speaking with your Human Resources Department regarding any restrictions associated with commuting your pension.  Once you have all the facts go over the numbers with your financial planner who will set forth a plan based on your goals and objectives.

Does anyone really enjoy doing their family’s taxes? What if you knew that you were getting the highest possible refund? Would that change your feelings about tax season?

Figuring out your family’s annual income tax is far more complex than in your parents’ day. Today, there’s a much higher likelihood of multiple incomes in the family, and there’s a greater variety of tax credits and documents to sort through.

Your Family is Not a Cookie

Modern families don’t fit into a cookie cutter mould. You might be a single parent with a working teenager, or a blended family with child support payments, or some of the income earners in your household might collect income from multiple sources. In addition to your T4(s) you might have “Other Income” to declare. And what about investments? These days it just isn’t very straightforward.

Often times, completing and filing your taxes can take multiple days out of your life and leave you with a very high level of stress. Trying to make sure that you have every important document and that you aren’t missing a credit, deduction, or rebate can be wearing, to say the least. How can you optimize the experience of doing your family’s taxes, to minimize the headache and maximize your tax return?

Well, there’s some good news. It’s now 2017 and the tax solution for families couldn’t be easier.

Tax Filing for Modern Families

We know that you have a busy family life and need a convenient, stress-free way to have your taxes not just completed, but optimized to get the highest possible refund.

The answer is TAXplan. It’s an online program that combines the convenience of DIY tax software with the reliability of using a tax professional. You can use the very simple and user-friendly web app to get started, and then download the Sidekick mobile app from the Apple or Google Play store to snap your photos and upload your documents. Then a TAXpro–a tax professional–will make sure that every available tax credit is utilized so that you get the absolute highest possible refund.

We’re a family business and family people–and we totally get it. We’re the children of hard-working Italian immigrants, and we know that nothing is more important than family. That’s why we designed TAXplan; to help families across Canada maximize their tax savings, so they have money to spend on the important things in life.

Then & Now

In the past, if you wanted to hire professionals to do your taxes, you needed to bring the documents to them. Between dropping your kids off at ball hockey or dance class, making dinner, and checking homework, this just isn’t convenient. Plus, tax offices that operate with a brick and mortar store have a lot of overhead, and those costs get rolled out to you. This can make hiring a professional very cost-prohibitive.

On the other hand, if you decide to do your taxes yourself or to use DIY software, a lot can go wrong. It just doesn’t work out in the long run. A few years ago, we noticed just how many clients were turning to us after painful reassessments due to mistakes made using DIY tax software. Yikes! On top of that, when you do your taxes yourself, you often end up worrying that you may have made a mistake or that you’ve missed an eligible credit. Who needs more to worry about?

With TAXplan, we’ve combined the convenience of digital filing with the peace of mind that comes with a tax professional. In other words, we’ve optimized the entire experience of doing your taxes.

How It Works

The web app adapts to you; it allows you to build a unique profile for yourself and your family. Once you’ve answered a couple of quick questions, received your quote, and decided to move forward, you’ll receive a detailed tax return checklist that’s specific to your family. All you need to do is follow the checklist and you won’t miss a step.

If your family is a little more complex than the “average” household with 2.5 kids (now that must be crazy!), you’ll be able to create multiple profiles for your family members. That way you can be sure that everyone in your family is accounted for, no matter what their age or marital status.

It’s simple to take digital photos of your important tax documents with the Sidekick app. Snap the images and they’ll be synced with your file. You don’t have to worry about losing track of your documents ever again. They’ll all be stored safely online, protected by some of the best digital security on the net.

Then comes the best part. When it’s time to file your taxes, one of our TAXpros will go through your entire file to make sure you get every single rebate and deduction that’s available to you. It’s simple, easy, very reasonably priced, and you’ll get the most money back possible.

Don’t Miss Out

Don’t miss out on eligible credits and deductions simply because you don’t know where to look for them. Our TAXpros know the ins and outs of Canadian tax laws and regulations. Get the most money back and pay the least amount of taxes possible every time, and spend less time dealing with your taxes and more time with your family. Click here to get started.

Are you a student? Or maybe you’re the parent of a budding young student?

If you are, then you know that the life of a student is not easy. Between attending classes and lectures, completing homework, assignments, and big projects, studying, taking exams, and the pressure to succeed, being a student can actually be even more stressful than life in the full-time working world.

Isn’t it time students caught a break?

Well, Canadian students have finally lucked out in at least one area of their lives. Maybe surprisingly, that lucky area is actually tax filing.

Now first, let’s go through a couple of questions. As a student, how well do you understand the tax filing process? Do you feel ready to file your taxes this time of year, or is it something you dread?

When you were a kid, your first exposure to tax season was probably watching and listening to your parents. Boy, can that look like a mess! Does this sound familiar? Huge piles of bills and receipts stacked up on the dinner table, a calculator that looks like it’s about to burst into flames from overuse, your parents’ longing looks at the bottle of wine sitting just out of reach in the kitchen…

Then, as a teenager when it was your turn to start filing your taxes, odds are that your parents might have helped you out with your first few tax returns. More paper stacked on the dinner table, more exploding calculators, and probably some stressful arguing and confusion mixed into the mess.

Changing with the Times

Doesn’t that whole system just seem really out of date?

Well, you’re right. It is completely out of date, and these days it’s also totally unnecessary. As a young person, you can avoid that huge mess and all of the chaos that comes with it.

When you look at the huge level of paperwork that your parents have to deal with, tax season can seem overwhelming to the extreme. That’s why so many adults and entrepreneurs hire someone else to do their taxes for them. It’s always better to get someone to do your taxes who knows all of the ins and outs, the deductions, and credits. But as a student, you couldn’t possibly afford to hire someone to do your taxes for you, right?

Not necessarily! As with most things in this world, there’s an app for exactly that. But this app is quite special because it actually connects you with a tax professional–a TAXpro–who will optimize your tax return for you to make sure that you get the highest possible refund. That way you get convenience of technology and the expertise of a real human professional.

And guess what? As a student, it’s 100% free!

Great News for Students

At TAXplan, we believe that given all of the other stressors that university or college puts on you, the last thing you should worry about is learning an old-fashioned way to do your tax returns. That’s why we are offering to process your student tax returns completely for free.

If you’re in a full-time post-secondary program, you can lift the pressure of taxes off your back for every year you’re enrolled as a student. As long as your total income is $20,000 or less, TAXplan will take care of it for you, free of charge. All you need to do is provide an official T2202A receipt from your school or institution to show your enrollment and you’re all set. (One small disclaimer, though – this free offer doesn’t include tax returns for self-employment, rental, and/or employment expenses.)

Maximize Your Refund

There are so many benefits to having professionals do your taxes. We know what to look for. We know how to leverage all of the tax credits to make sure that you get as much money back as possible. You’ll be able to get every single eligible student-specific credit and deduction. If it’s available, we’ll make sure it’s included. We’ll use our expertise to maximize your tax refund.

You don’t have to worry about claiming your education amount, textbook tax credit, public transit tax credit, or anything else. We’ll take care of all of it for you. There’s a much easier way to collect receipts and keep track of your pay stubs. All you have to do to get started is to click here to access the user-friendly TAXplan web app, and then you can download mobile Sidekick to easily snap photos of your receipts and documents. It couldn’t be easier.

Are You Missing Out on “Free” Money?

There are so many students out there who miss out on eligible credits and deductions, simply because they do their taxes themselves. That means that you don’t just have a lot of added stress from trying to do it yourself, but you could also be losing money. Not a great deal! Our TAXpros will ensure that you get the most money back and pay the least amount of taxes possible every time.

Technology Rocks

So, what else do you need to do? Once you’ve created your account on the web app, you can download the TAXplan Sidekick from either the Apple or Google Play store. The Sidekick makes it easy to record of your essential purchases. Snap photos as you go and they’ll automatically sync with your file throughout the year, ready and waiting for you come tax season.

From public transit tickets to textbooks, it’s better to upload too many receipts than too few. Every document that your school gives you that involves money should be photographed and uploaded. Don’t forget your pay stubs, government tax forms, or any other official documentation that could be useful during tax time. Basically, snap a photo of everything–you never know when it will come in handy. Having this digital record (instead of stacks of receipts piled on the dinner table) is the way of the future.

Spread the Word!

Remember, the most convenient, progressive, and cost-effective (what’s more cost-effective than free?) way to keep track of your financial information and get the most money back is by using the TAXplan app. It’s the only app in Canada that connects you with TAXpros who know the ins and outs of the Canadian tax laws and regulations, and that’s completely free for students. So what are you waiting for? Tell all of your friends and click here to get started now.