Posted in Community, disaster, family, Life

What to do if you Witness an Accident in Toronto?


I had a very interesting day yesterday and I’m left wondering what to do with the information I have about an accident I witnessed yesterday afternoon.

I was on my way back from a visit with my friends at Creative Hockey Development who had their March Break camp at Chesswood Arena, and on my way to pick up my two oldest children from their day at The Monkey Vault.

I was driving South on Keele Street in the left-lane, and just approaching the traffic light just north of the 401 (south of Wilson Avenue) when the light turned amber.  There was a car in front of me, so I took my foot off the gas, and began to brake.

At the moment that I began to brake, the car beside me and a bit behind me, in the middle lane slammed his foot on the gas and accelerated towards the intersection.

As I was the second car in line, when I heard the acceleration, I looked up towards the intersection to see that the light was red, and there was a car turning left (heading West) crossing in front, and then I saw the car beside me enter the intersection and hit the car making the turn.

Fortunately, the car making the turn was aware enough to turn away from the car, limiting the impact to the drivers side door such that both cars ended up facing almost southbound, side-by-side.

They both popped out of their cars and looked at the damage – thankfully.

I couldn’t stop in the middle of the intersection, but I felt that the poor driver making the turn would be charged, when it was totally the car beside me who was at fault.

I circled trying to get close enough to hand my car to the driver who was hit, but by the time I made it near, tow trucks were already moving the cars.

I looked online and much of the information relates to hit-and-run accidents, which this was not.

In those cases, it is recommended to provide police with as much information as possible, including:

  • Your name, address and contact details
  • Time and place of the hit and run incident
  • Licence plate number of the fleeing vehicle
  • Vehicle description (colour, make & model)
  • Driver’s description
  • Description of what I saw.

 

Undaunted, I found this information from an article by the Globe and Mail;

Constable Melissa Wutke, with B.C. RCMP traffic services recommends, “If you witness an accident – and don’t just see the aftermath – you have to call police to tell them what you saw.  If you pull over immediately to report this collision, it is appropriate to dial 911. If it is hours after the collision and you call once you are at your destination, please use the non-emergency line to the police department nearest to where the collision occurred.”

So I will gather my information and provide it 12 Division and see what happens…

What would you have done?

Maybe a better question, what would you want others to have done if you were the car that was hit?

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Posted in government, Life, news

Taxation Post: FATCA for Americans Living In Canada. It’s Time to Prepare.


Copied in whole, with permission, from www.intaxicating.wordpress.com.

In case you have just starting to catch wind of FATCA and you are wondering if you are going to get caught up in its web, you might find this post very useful.  I have gone to the Internal Revenue service (IRS) website and pulled out their passages on American’s living in Canada and the expectations on how they will be handled under FATCA – coming globally January 1st, 2013.

The IRS has clearly stated that “All persons born in the United States are US citizens.  This is the case regardless of the tax or immigration status of a persons parents.  Furthermore, a person born outside the United States may also be a US citizen at birth if at least one parent is a US citizen and has lived in the United States for a period of time.”

This is the link to that information from the IRS website; http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/international/article/0,,id=244868,00.html

If you are of the belief that as an American living in Canada that you do not need to file a US tax return because you do not generate any US source income in any way, that is also incorrect;  “The IRS reminds you to report your worldwide income on your US tax return and lists the possible consequences of hiding income overseas.”

More information on consequences of hiding income overseas (including Canada) in this link.  I have broken out some key facts below; http://www.irs.gov/businesses/article/0,,id=180946,00.html

As a US citizen living in Canada, the rules for filing income, estate and gift tax returns and for paying estimated tax are generally the same whether you are living in the US or not.

Not reporting income from foreign (including Canadian) sources may be a crime.  The IRS and its international partners (including the CRA) are pursuing those who hide income or assets offshore to evade taxes.  Specially trained IRS examiners focus on aggressive international tax planning, including the abusive use of entities and structures established in foreign jurisdictions.  The goal is to ensure US citizens and residents are accurately reporting their income and paying the correct tax. 

In addition to reporting your worldwide income, you must also report on your US tax return whether you have any foreign (Canadian or international) bank or investment accounts.  The Bank Secrecy Act requires you to file a Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), if:

  • You have financial interest in, signature authority, or other authority over one or more accounts in a foreign country, and
  • The aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.

More information on foreign financial account reporting requirements is in News Release FS-2007-15, Foreign Financial Accounts Reporting Requirements and Publication 4261, Do You have a Foreign Financial Account?

This link below outlines the filing expectations for US Citizens and resident aliens abroad.  You have until June 15th to file your US tax returns each year:

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/international/article/0,,id=97324,00.html

Most common question I have been asked:

“I am a U.S. citizen who moved to Canada to live and work there as a Canadian permanent resident, do I pay both U.S. and Canadian Taxes?

Answer: As a U. S. citizen living in Canada you:

Are required to file annual U.S. income tax returns and may be required to file certain information returns if applicable (e.g. Form 8891, U.S. Information Return for Beneficiaries of Certain Canadian Registered Retirement Plans; Form 3520, Annual Return To Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts; TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)).

You must report your worldwide income on your US income tax return if you meet the minimum income filing requirements for your filing status and age.

You must contact the Canadian Government to determine whether you must file a Canadian tax return and pay Canadian taxes – unless you are already filing tax returns here in Canada, then this step is obvious.

You may be able to elect to exclude some or all of your foreign earned income, if certain requirements are met, or to claim a foreign tax credit if Canadian income taxes are paid.

Behind on your filing to the IRS, are you?

The IRS began an open-ended offshore voluntary disclosure program (OVDP) in January 2012, on the heels of strong interest in the 2011 and 2009 programs, which may end at any time.  The intent of this program is to offer people with undisclosed income from offshore accounts another opportunity to get current with their US tax returns.  The 2012 OVDP has a higher penalty rate than the previous program but offers clear benefits to encourage taxpayers to disclose foreign accounts now rather than risk detection by the IRS and possible criminal prosecution.

Rumour has it that in September, the IRS will be releasing some new documents (besides the final regulations) aimed at helping Canadians file their US tax returns up to date – the IRS wants the most recent 3 years and 6 years of FBAR information from Canadians.

My thoughts here are that the IRS thinks all Americans living in Canada are not paying taxes so that anyone with over $1500 owing will still be penalized.  Once these US persons provide proof of their filing of Canadian tax returns at a higher rate, then the best the IRS can get from these residents if valid certifications and by adding them to the database, another potential income source to track.

FAQ Offshore voluntary disclosure program:

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/international/article/0,,id=256774,00.html

So if after all this you are unsure if you need to file you might want to seek out an accountant or lawyer which a strong US presence to advise you.  Remember if you are a US person and you let your bank know, they are required under FATCA to notify the IRS.

At the very least you should prepare your US tax returns for the previous 3 years and include the Canadian taxes paid under “foreign tax paid” to see where you fall under FATCA.  Then take them to an accountant with a strong knowledge of US tax in order for them to ensure the US return is correct and have them advise you on where they feel you fall under FATCA.  From there… It’s up to you.

There is no hiding from FATCA, so prepare now and prepare for the future before the IRS gets to you first.