FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I purchase or lease my vehicle?

The appropriate answer to this question is…it depends. It truly depends on what the buyers needs are.

If cash flow is a problem to come up with the monthly payment, then typically a lease payment will be lower and more accommodating on the bank account. With a lease, instead of borrowing the full purchase price of the car, you are only borrowing the amount the car will depreciate over the term of the lease. For example, a vehicle with a value of $30,000 with a three-year lease, and the expected market value of $15,000 in three years (residual value), then you only have to finance the difference between the purchase price and the residual value. Financing the lease payments for a total of $15,000 is going to have a lower monthly payment than financing the $30,000 purchase. This is the basic reason lease payments are lower than loan payments.

So with leasing, you have peace of mind. You also have the upgrade factor: Since leases are generally between two and four years, the vehicles are almost always going to be fully covered by warranties and should be maintenance free. Once the lease is up, you get to trade in your car for the latest model.

On the other hand, if you took out a five-year loan to purchase the car outright, your monthly payments would stop after five years. It would be only a matter of time before the break-even point was reached.

You have to consider more than just the difference between monthly payment amounts. Over longer periods of time, there will be maintenance requirements that need to be calculated into the equation. However, for a person who drives responsibly and pays attention to routine maintenance, purchasing should come out ahead. After a few years, there should be equity in the car over and above the balance of the loan, which can be used toward a down payment on the next vehicle.

Conclusion: with leasing you will pay a premium over your lifetime in exchange for a lower monthly payment and very few concerns about reliability. With an outright purchase, you’re going to come out ahead if you can commit to proper maintenance and resist the urge to constantly upgrade.

From a purely tax perspective, a purchase will get a larger up front deduction based on the capital cost allowances for the purchase of a work vehicle, however, will reduce every year. Alternatively, a lease payment is expensed as paid and the deduction matches the outflow. At the end of the day the tax deductibility of a purchase or a lease should be inconsequential as they will both tie into the true cost of the vehicle through either option.

How long do I need to retain financial records?

Generally, you must keep all of the records and supporting documents that are required to determine your tax obligations and entitlements for a period of 7 years. Records and supporting documents concerning long-term acquisitions and disposal of property and other historical information that would have an impact upon sale or liquidation or wind-up of the business must be kept indefinitely. See CRA guide RC4409(E) – Keeping records for further information http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/rc4409/

When are my personal taxes due to be filed?

The general rule is that personal taxes for individuals are due on April 30th (unless April 30th falls on a weekend, then personal taxes are due on the first business day following). The exception to that rule is that if you or your spouse are self-employed, then the filing deadline is extended to June 15th (unless April 30th falls on a weekend, then personal taxes are due on the first business day following). One key note here is that any taxes that are owing are actually due on April 30th, even if the tax filing deadline extended due to yourself or your spouse being self-employed.

What is a TFSA?

The TFSA is a savings vehicle that allows Canadians to save money every year without accruing a tax liability. The major selling point of the TFSA is that investment income and capital gains can grow tax-free. This even applies when you withdraw the money from your TFSA. The contribution amount on a TFSA is up to $5,000 in the initial year. Thereafter annually, the TFSA $5,000 contribution dollar limit will be indexed to the inflation rate. The indexed amount will be rounded to the nearest $500 increments. Any unused contribution room will accumulate and be carried forward indefinitely.

What is an RRSP?

A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is a personal savings plan registered with the Canadian federal government allowing you to save for the future on a tax-sheltered basis. An RRSP is an investment portfolio – your designated retirement savings. It can contain a variety of investments including: RRSP savings deposits, treasury bills, guaranteed investment certificates (GICs), mutual funds, bonds, and even equities. What makes an RRSP special is that your contributions to it are tax deductible and your portfolio grows tax sheltered.

How do I make tax instalment payments?

You can choose any of the following methods to make your payments:

Electronically – You may be able to pay electronically through your financial institution’s online or telephone banking services and you may be able to schedule post-dated payments. See Make a payment or contact your financial institution to see which services they offer.

At your financial institution – You can make your payment at any Canadian chartered bank, caisse populaire, or credit union. However, the institution will only accept your payment if you have Form INNS3 from the Canada Revenue Agency. The teller will stamp the Form INNS3 and give it to you as a receipt.

My Payment – You can make payments online, using the Canada Revenue Agency’s Web site, from an account at a participating Canadian financial institution. For more information, see My Payment at CRA (http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/esrvc-srvce/tx/mypymnt/menu-eng.html).

By pre-authorized debit – You can have your instalment payments debited from your bank account. Set up a pre-authorized debit (PAD) at your convenience through My Account.

Do I pay tax on the sale of my house?

Your principal residence is generally any residential property owned and occupied by you or your spouse or common-law partner, your former spouse or common- law partner or your child at any time in the year. It can be a house, condominium, cottage, mobile home, trailer or even a live-aboard boat, and it need not be located in Canada. Any gain on the sale of a principal residence is generally tax-free. However, if you sell your residence, you should be aware that some tax rules apply.

What is an executor and what do they do?

An executor is the person who is responsible for settling the details of a deceased person’s estate. There can be a single executor or one or more people charged with this task. An executor can be related to the deceased person, can be a friend, a lawyer, an accountant, or other professional. The main requirement is that the person chosen as executor be at least 18 years old and have not been convicted of a felony. An executor’s duties are largely administrative. They begin at the time of death and continue until the estate’s assets have been distributed and taxes and bills have been paid. Duties of an executor include, but are not limited to:

  • paying valid creditors
  • filing and paying personal and estate taxes
  • notifying the Canada Revenue Agency and other agents and companies of the death
  • canceling credit cards etc.
  • distributing assets according to the will