Instalments – September 2018

This is a reminder that personal instalments are due on September 15, 2018. The amount due is generally either ½ of the total amount due in April 2018, if you did not receive a request to pay instalments earlier this year, or ½ of the amount remaining from your tax bill in April 2018, less the amount that you were requested to pay on March 15 and June 15, 2018.

Note that my clients can elect to have reminder emails sent out two weeks prior to the instalment due date.

You may also arrange for pre-authorized debit withdrawals from your bank through the CRA’s My Account service.

Failing to prepaid the instalments will result in non-deductible interest charges.

EU General Data Protection Regulation – Compliance or not?

If you use computer software or websites, you probably have heard of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR.) It seems that everyone is gearing up to be compliant by May 25, 2018.

The GDRP is based on seven key principles. These are:

  1. Lawful, fair and transparent processing,
  2. Purpose limitation,
  3. Data Minimization,
  4. Accurate and up-to-date processing,
  5. Limitation of storage in the form that permits identification,
  6. Confidential and secure, and
  7. Accountability and liability.

For the most part, I have always worked towards compliance with this regulation, but I will not be compliant on May 25, 2018. I will point out that I am not required to be compliant as I do not work explicitly with EU citizens. My work is with Canadian resident individuals/businesses and individuals/businesses who have Canadian tax implications.

Compliance with all but the final principle is currently in place. In order to be compliant with the accountability and liability principle, I am required to be able to remove client data. Under Canadian laws and regulations, I am required to keep that same data for audit by the government. While I can move client information to an inactive state, I can’t remove it. This is the extent that I can be compliant.

If a EU citizen wishes to use my services, they must be aware that, during a conflict between the Canadian requirement to retain the information and the EU requirement to permit someone “to be forgotten,” I must remain compliant with the Canadian requirements.

For the above reason(s), I must regretfully decline full compliance with GDPR.

Are you using an employer supplied email?

Is this really a good idea?

Some of my clients received surprises this year while they used their employer’s supplied internet and email services to send me tax records. Their records were either not received or were corrupted.

This is of principal consideration for those working for the Federal Government, but the restrictions are expanding to Provincial and Municipal Governments as well as to private employers.The Canadian Federal Government has imposed restrictions on the use of the employer supplied email service and internet.

Be advised that:

  1. If you have personal tax records on your employer’s computers, you may no longer be able to remove those personal tax records from the computers. Your employer now considers those files their property. They may deny you access and/or erase those files without warning,
  2. If you wish to email tax records from your employer’s computers, including T4 and Releve 1 slips that you have downloaded from the employer’s systems (including mainly Phoenix,) you can’t, and
  3. If you use your work email address to obtain your utility and other bills, or use the computer to access your bank, that access may be cut without warning. There will be no sympathy from your employer.

Given that there were some publicized hacks of the government computers over the last two years, further restrictions are anticipated.

If your only internet and/or email access is through your employer, I highly recommend that you make alternative arrangements which no longer depend on your employer’s infrastructure.

Great Lies About Taxes

I have an interesting episode recently, which drew my attention one of the great lies about taxes. That lie (quote) is:

I am from the Government and I am here to help you.

I’ve forgotten who came up with that quote, but it is rather apropos in this age.

Now, we in Canada are familiar with Phoenix, specifically the government’s payroll system. Most people who receive a T4 out of this system approach the slip with some trepidation. They are not convinced that the slip is correct. Even when they check against their bank account and the amounts deposited match the slip.

So then, why do people trust the tax slip download (called Auto-Fill My Return) from the Canada Revenue Agency as if it is gospel?