Locating Federal Budget Information

by Lakeshore Bookkeeping Services
(Prince George, BC, Canada)

The IBPC offers webinars to members and non-members on a regular basis.

The IBPC offers webinars to members and non-members on a regular basis.

I watched an IPBC webcast Tax Online: Take your sleuthing to new heights from a live webinar held in early March, 2010 that I was unable to attend. It was all about tax sleuthing and how to find what you need from the government of Canada websites.

Here are my notes from this practical webcast.

The throne speech can be found at www.speech.gc.ca

The Department of Finance

One website reviewed was the Department of Finance - www.fin.gc.ca.

It's on this site that you can find the latest information on the federal budget first hand ... instead of the watered down version presented by the press.

The latest March 2010 budget information was posted there soon after it became public.

There are different ways you can look at the budget information ...

The Quick Index is useful as it presents EVERY change proposed in the budget ... not just the popular ones the media covers.

The Budget Brief gives commentary.

The Budget Plan presents a table of contents and is organized into chapters ... just like a book.

Other good stuff on this site:

The Department of Finance News Releases have links at the bottom of each page which presents more detailed coverage of the material released.

You can also find Legislative News Releases, Proposals and Explanatory Notes which present draft legislation, current legislation, and historical legislation. These are technical papers that give information to professionals and politicians. To read them, you have to be up on your acronyms!

The Budget Process in Canada

The IPBC webinar explained briefly the budget process in Canada ... which is also on the Department of Finance website.

Here is a quick overview.

The Finance Department proposes a budget which creates draft legislation. This draft goes to parliament and must be approved by the House of Commons and the Senate.

Once approved, the Justice Department (another great website www.justice.gc.ca) houses the up-to-date and current online Income Tax Act (ITA) and Regulations (at www.laws.justice.gc.ca) while the CRA (www.cra-arc.gc.ca) administers the ITA. CRA does not create the law.

Update January 2013 ... With three accounting standards - ASPE, US GAAP and IFRS, learn when you are required to report/incorporate changes in tax laws and rates in my chat on Accounting Concepts and Principles.

Other Useful Government Websites

Some other websites discussed were:

Office of the Auditor General of Canada - www.oag-bvg.gc.ca .

The 2009 Fall report discussed income tax legislation in chapter 3. An item of interest is that there have been no technical amendments since 2001 ... we are behind.

As a result, the Justice Department will now start including pending legislation that has not passed yet in grey print in the Income Tax Act housed on their site. Previously, professionals purchased publications that tracked this. As they are 7 years behind, this will be an ongoing work in progress.

Today in The House is located at www2.parl.gc.ca/houseofchamberbusiness/ChamberHome.aspx and is worth a look to see what is happening in the House of Commons.

Legis Info is a new research tool by the Library of Parliament that enables you to find information on legislation before parliament. It is located on the parliament website (www2.parl.gc.ca/Sites/LOP/LEGISINFO).

Previously I mentioned the Department of Justice website. While touring through the online copy of the ITA, Eileen Reppenhagen the presenter, visited section 78 - Unpaid Amounts.

Section 78 deals with how long you can wait after not paying someone before you have to add it back to income.

The ITA can be viewed in a few different ways - Status by Title and Regulations by Title are just two of them.

Eileen also showed how you can change the section number in the browser path as a quick way to get to the section of the ITA you are interested in.

The next site we visited was CanLII - Canadian Legal Information Institute (www.canlii.org).

CanLII is a non-profit organization that has taken on the task of coordinating all Canadian law accessible for free on the internet.

You will find a table of contents for federal legislation. It will provide a stable link to the last version.

You can find former titles and citations as well as all the different tax courts in Canada including the Tax Court of Canada. Here is where you will find a listing of all the tax court cases.

Eileen discussed one recent tax case from January 2009 - Lipson vs. Canada. The case dealt with interest deductibility and general anti-avoidance.

The last government website covered was the Canada Revenue Agency site. It is a large site and one bookkeepers use often ... so I'll cover this in a separate posting in the future.

If you would like to improve your tax literacy, visit the presenter's website at TaxDetective.ca. Select the navigation button called "Tax Literacy" to find a wealth of information and links.

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Oct 29, 2010
Bank of Canada Outlook
by: Bookkeeping Essentials

Bank of Canada's Monetary Policy Report was released on October 20, 2010. You can find a copy of the report at www.bankofcanada.ca.

One of Mr. Carney's point was that Canadians need to manage debt.

Robert Ironside had an excellent commentary that you can find at www.knowledgebureau.com> Breaking News> Breaking News Archives> BoC Lowers Economic Outlook: Response by Robert Ironside.

In the commentary he discusses three different sets of people affected in our current economy:

Retirees: The struggle for risk averse retirees to find adequate returns, as the low interest rates are expected to be here for another year or more, which means they must encroach on their capital. Real rates of returns are floating around 1% currently.

Retirement Savers: The low rate of return also affects people saving for retirement as less of their retirement savings will come from compounding interest.

People in Debt: Canadians are carrying too much debt ... 146% of disposable income ... which he points out was the estimated debt carried by US citizens prior to the 2008/2009 economic breakdown. He expects they will run into trouble when interest rates begin to normalize.

The Knowledge Bureau, in another article about the Bank of Canada Outlook, referenced the CGA Association of Canada's Where the Money is Now: The State of Canadian Household Debt as Conditions for Economic Recovery Emerge. This report has a section on the "risks associated with rising financial indebtedness".

You can find a summary of this report at www.cga-canada.org>Research and Advocacy> Areas of Interest> Debt and Consumption.

Jan 30, 2011
BC Court Services Online
by: Lake

The TaxDetective Blog had a great reference on January 22, 2011 on how to do a civil or criminal search online.

It is located at www.gov.bc.ca> Ministry of Attorney General> Court Services Online.

Eileen suggested you do a search using your own name ... and see what comes up!

Mar 19, 2011
CRA Rulings
by: Lake

CRA has two services you should note.

GST Memoranda 1.4 Excise and GST/HST Rulings and Interpretation Service explains the services CRA offers including tax on insurance premiums, First Nations tax, softwood lumber products export charge, air travellers security charge.

This service is free.

Income Tax Information Circular No 70-6R5 Advance Income Tax Rulings explains the process to obtain a written statement from the Directorate on how the CRA will interpret and/or apply certain provisions of tax law to your situation.

This service is not free.

The purpose of both these services is to encourage voluntary compliance with tax law.

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