Vice-President of Sands & Associates and Licensed Insolvency Trustee Blair Mantin was a guest on CTV Vancouver’s ‘News at Noon’ today.  While tax time can seem intimidating to many filers (especially if you owe money), the season for tax returns is upon us.  Blair shares some key tips to help filers get through this year’s tax time:

1 – Get it filed

  • There are only a few circumstances where an individual is not required to file a return for a given year.  In just about every case, it is in your best interest to file!  Why? Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) views filing tax returns as a civic obligation – essentially the cost of belonging to society.
  • If you do not file returns or file late, you may miss out on money from the government!
    • GST credits, Canada Child Benefits, OAS and MSP Premium assistance, to name just a few key items, are based on your tax returns and you may not receive government benefits, or be eligible for a reduction in MSP premiums unless you file your taxes each year.

2 – Know the deadlines

  • It’s important to file on time and to pay any balance owing on time to avoid interest charges and/or collection activities against you.
  • Tax filing deadline is April 30, 2017 – unless you are self-employed, you need to have your returns filed by this date.  This is also the due date for taxes owing for 2016.  If you owe CRA money on your tax returns, they expect you to submit corresponding payment upon filing.
  • For self-employed individuals – the filing deadline is June 15, 2017
    • It’s important to note that any balance for taxes is due April 30, 2017, even though the return has not yet been filed!  Self-employed individuals are expected to estimate their tax liability and make a payment prior to their return being completed
  • Interest charges can be significant!  Penalty for amounts not paid by April 30, 2017 is 5% of amount owing, plus 1% monthly thereafter.

3 – Know your options for tax debt

  • If you’ve filed your returns and ended up with a bill that you can’t pay; or are scared to file your returns because you think you’ll owe money, there is hope!
  • Owing money to CRA is serious, but far from a hopeless situation
  • CRA has more power than nearly any other creditor – For example: Visa or Mastercard is required to sue you before they can take your wages or seize your assets.  CRA has no requirement for legal action first – if you ignore them, they can go straight to your employer and take up to 30% of your wages until they are paid in full.  They can also register a charge against your house or condo requiring their debt to be paid when you refinance or sell.
  • It’s incredibly important to be proactive and know your options:
    • There is a single way of ‘making a deal’ with CRA for unpaid taxes – filing a Consumer Proposal through a Licensed Insolvency Trustee
    • Consumer Proposals stop all collection activities, halt all interest and finance charges, and result in a payment plan for the amount of the tax debt you can afford to pay back, in full settlement of the debt
    • For example, if someone owed $50,000 in back taxes over several years, a Consumer Proposal might succeed in reducing the total debts payable to $15,000, with monthly payments of $250/month until the $15,000 is paid off.

With over 26 years of experience, Sands & Associates is BC’s largest firm of Licensed Insolvency Trustees focused exclusively on assisting individuals and small businesses achieve their “debt free” goals.

To meet with a representative for a free, confidential consultation in one of our 15 BC offices, please contact us.

Are creditors harassing you? Are the endless phone calls and collection letters causing you stress? Are you living on your credit cards? Are you unable to maintain your minimum payments? Are you being pursued for government debt? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you are not alone. In the twelve-month period ending July 2016, more than 66,000 Canadians were in the same financial position and found relief by seeing a Licensed Insolvency Trustee and filing personal bankruptcy. Another 57,000 Canadians settled their debt management problems by filing a consumer proposal.

If you are not a resident of British Columbia, more information is available about bankruptcy in Canada.

No matter what the cause of your financial difficulties, the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act does not restrict a person from filing personal bankruptcy or making a consumer proposal. For example, you could be in financial trouble due to the loss of employment, a divorce, a leaky condo, medical problems, gambling, substance abuse, or poor money management. Regardless of the reason, filing personal bankruptcy or making a consumer proposal to your creditors is based upon your unique individual circumstances and is ultimately your personal decision. In BC, both of these remedies can only be filed by utilizing the services of Licensed Insolvency Trustees. At Sands & Associates, our Licensed Insolvency Trustees understand that most people file into bankruptcy or make a consumer proposal to creditors because of unfortunate circumstances, and we will guide you through this difficult time. 

Personal bankruptcy or a consumer proposal to creditors can provide shelter from the financial storm. Each will stop virtually all legal proceedings, garnishees, and phone calls from your creditors. These legal remedies provide a fresh start by pardoning your debts including credit card debts, lines of credit, legal bills, utility bills, medical bills, automobile insurance, judgments, government debts, etc. A Licensed Insolvency Trustee can help you understand the relative merits of each of these debt management options within BC. 

At Sands & Associates, we make filing personal bankruptcy or making a consumer proposal to creditors simple. We will arrange for a free initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable staff to discuss your financial status, and help you to determine whether bankruptcy or a proposal to creditors is the right choice for you.

Should you choose to file personal bankruptcy or make a consumer proposal to your creditors, we will process the necessary paperwork, arrange for possible meetings with creditors, provide two credit counselling sessions at our convenient offices located in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Surrey, Langley, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, White Rock, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Victoria, Nanaimo, Kamloops and Kelowna. 

After you have filed personal bankruptcy or a consumer proposal, you are required to perform your duties as outlined in the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. Some of the duties in a personal bankruptcy include keeping the Licensed Insolvency Trustee informed of your current address, declaring your monthly income and expenses for a minimum of nine months, attending two credit counselling sessions, and paying the Licensed Insolvency Trustee an amount that is dependent upon your income and the assets that you own. 

If this is your first personal bankruptcy, the earliest that you will be eligible for your discharge is nine months after your date of filing. A discharge from bankruptcy means that your debts will be eliminated and your creditors can no longer pursue you for the outstanding amount owed. It provides peace of mind and a chance for a fresh financial start. 

If you choose to make a consumer proposal to your creditors and if the creditors and the court accept it, the contract is binding between you and the creditors. A certificate of completion, which discharges your indebtedness, will be given as long as you meet the terms of the contract and remit the appropriate funds or assets to the Licensed Insolvency Trustee.