Canadians! With Tax Time Coming, Think About Getting Your Refunds Right Away With H&R Block


For those of you who are not familiar with The Urban Daddy, you should know that I started writing this blog back in 2004, the year my first child was born.  At that time, I was working for the Canadian Government, in the Tax Department, for Revenue Canada (later to be known as the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, then the Canada Revenue Agency).

I worked for the CRA for almost 11 years before leaving for a role in the private sector, and it has now been 18-years that I have been working with taxes in some form or another.  Currently, I run a company called inTAXicating, and maintain a blog which helps people who have problems with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) – usually collection-related matters.

I know taxes.

I do not, however, prepare taxes.  I let the professionals do that.

There has been a myth in the tax / accounting industry that any firm who promises to guarantee maximum refunds, quickly and easily and that offers it without cost (100% free), MUST be a scam or MUST be providing lower quality work and I can tell you that could not be further from the truth! 

I have found in my 18-year tax career that the majority of issues people have with their tax returns are on returns they have completed themselves, either because they do not know the Income Tax Act, or the Excise Tax Act, or because the thought of doing their own return is so daunting that they put it off and put it off until it causes them huge problems.

When the calendar turns January 1st, people start to stress about taxes!  The April 30th filing deadline for everyone except self-employed Canadians and their families comes very quickly, and those who are self-employed (and their spouse / common-law partner) find their June 15th filing deadline comes even faster.  Especially if their owed money to the CRA which should have been paid by April 30th.

Why add more stress?  Especially if you want to complete the return yourself…

H&R Block offers such a simple process it’s crazy that people would not file their returns on time, but for those do-it-yourself (DIY) folks, H&R Block has just the solution for you.  On March 3rd, 2015 Canada’s trusted leader in tax preparation announced FREE online tax filing software is now available for all of Canada’s 26 million tax filers.

H&R Block Online Tax Software is completely free (absolutely no hidden costs) and is an online Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tax filing solution.  H&R Block Online Tax Software’s intuitive process walks users through their tax return with a highly personalized step-by-step interview process which ensures absolutely nothing is missed, and any errors are detected automatically – offering piece-of-mind for the filer – and not leaving you at the mercy of your accountant and their knowledge or schedule.

How many of you get all of your paperwork together, make that appointment to see your accountant who you see only at tax time, and then you drop off your paperwork, and pay the bill once you have been advised that you have been filed.

Without a face-to-face opportunity to discuss your situation you might be missing deductions or tax credits.  No body knows your tax situation better than you do.  If you follow the easy to navigate online tax solution that H&R Block offers, you can see what you can claim, and how it impacts your refund or balance, putting you in the drivers seat.

H&R Block’s tax solution is optimized for any digital device so filers can switch seamlessly from their computer to their phone or their tablet and back, anytime and anywhere. Filers are assured the maximum possible refund with H&R Block’s Maximum Refund Guarantee and 100% Accuracy Guarantee. The Refund-O-Meter™ enables users to see their refunds calculated as they complete the process in real-time.

An added bonus is that free support is offered throughout the filing process with access to H&R Block tax experts via phone, chat or email, and to simplify the process, new filers will be able to import data directly from competitors’ tax software.

Of course, the offering is available in both National languages, and DIY tax filers can seamlessly switch between French and English, or from one family member to another.

The H&R Block Online Tax Software is available at www.hrblock.ca.

Just make sure to file on time!  Even one-day late results in penalties!

 

This post is a sponsored post, I am being compensated for writing this post, and I would not be writing about H&R Block if I did not believe in the product, the services and the quality of ,not only the work done by H&R Block, but also the quality of information H&R Block provides to Canadians at tax time and all year round.  There is a reason why they have been around for 50-years!

How I Explained Taxation to a Class of Kindergarten Students


How I explained taxes to children in a kindergarten classroom without having them lose focus or fall asleep on me:

 

Q: Do you know what a tax is?”

It’s something you have to pay.

Q: Why do we have to pay taxes?

We pay taxes for things we need.

We have to.

We pay taxes so poor people can have some money too.

Q: Any examples of things we need?  How about some examples of things we need that we all share.

1) Roads

2) Lights

3) Signs

4) Sidewalks

5) Playgrounds

6) Schools

7) Policewomen

8) Firemen

9) The trucks that come to take our garbage away.

10) Hospitals

11) Doctors

12) Food – Do taxes pay for food?

Not usually.

We have to pay for our own food. But taxes pay to make sure our food doesn’t make us sick.

Money we pay as taxes make sure we have clean water.

Q: Does anyone remember the ice storm, and when all those branches and trees fell on peoples houses and cars and all over the street?  Men and women had to come to take the branches away.  Taxes paid for that.”

Snack time – I brought cupcakes for the kids.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Nothing is certain except (Hello Kitty) death and taxes,” and just as your children will gradually learn about (Hello Kitty) mortality, they will also find out about taxes and other financial issues.

There are taxes everywhere on almost everything to make sure that everyone has a chance to pay taxes and share.

Paying taxes is like this container of cupcakes.  This pile of cupcakes is the economy. This is the money that belongs to the whole country and everybody needs a piece – the schools, the street cleaners, the hospitals, and the TV stations.

Without their cupcake, the government can’t provide any of the things we need.

If we gave all of our cupcakes to the government we would have nothing left.  But taxes are like taking a little bit off – the wrapper, maybe – to give to the government while we keep the rest.  The government collects all the wrappers and uses them to keep all of us safe and healthy and helps us learn and grow…

Apart from enjoying a fun time, your kids will learn a very valuable financial lesson…sometimes you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

If I Ever Run For Toronto Mayor, I Want To Run As A NDP!


I watched the Toronto Mayoral debate forum, between Olivia Chow, David Soknacki and John Tory and I had an epiphany.  If I ever decide to run for Toronto Mayor, I want to be just like Olivia Chow.

Are you shocked?

I’m a fiscal conservative who would prefer to find efficiencies, reduce costs, tax less, and find ways to help everyone who needs help but as we have seen here in Toronto over the past 4-years with Rob Ford as Mayor, if you dare even make mention of cutting anything, look out.

When the Mayor commented about fact that there are a lot of libraries close together – some used much more than others – and some rarely used, he was branded a Neanderthal who couldn’t read and this fiasco even resulted in author Margaret Atwood being brought into the fray with jokes that she would be a better mayor.

If you cut, you must hate.  At least that is what the left will tell everyone.  Public service too large?  You hate unions.  Want to find cheaper ways to clean TTC busses? You hate transit.  Want to not pay for things on the backs of the property taxes? You’re rich and entitled.

Who wants all that crap!

I would want to be just like Olivia.  She was great in the debate.

Want better transit?  “Invest”.

Want to build lots of transit lines? “Invest” and “No more studies!”

Want to engage the youth? “Invest”.

Want to fight global warming?  “Invest”.

Olivia has all the answers, and at times, she had a very coy smile because she knew no matter what she said, there are around 28% of the population of Toronto who are going to vote for this modern-day Santa Claus.

You want transit?  You have to pay for it.  All Olivia needs to do is add a 1% how dare you be rich taxto the land transfer tax for every house over $2-million.  That will get me enough money to pay for whatever she wants.

Want more social programs?  Sure!  Once she adds that 1% “levy” (read: tax) on those nasty, horrible rich people (insert booing here) who dared to work hard and earn lots of money, and viola, there is money for social programs.

The debate, er, forum, went along like this through each and every question.  Screw balancing the budget.  Go away, you terrible rich folks.  Whatever you want, Santa Chow is going to get it for you.  Someone will pay for it, but let’s not let the details get in the way.  With that 1% she’ll have enough money to have studies needed to build more transit (her words last night and yes the same studies she criticized John Tory for wanting to undertake instead of just building now!)

It makes no sense.

She makes no sense.

But honestly, when nobody is listening to the message, it’s easy to be generous with your promises and critical of others who don’t want to have to raise taxes in order to fulfill unrealistic promises.  Where is the money going to come from to fulfill ALL her promises if the “rich” do not sell their houses or if they all move outside of the GTA?

My favourite exchange from the forum went something like this (paraphrased of course);

Q1: How would you get Toronto moving?”

A1: “More transit.  Invest in Transit.  Pay for it NOW.  Get started NOW.”

Q2: “Google is trying unmanned transit in San Francisco.  Would Toronto?”

A2: “Absolutely!!  We need transit moving on all the lines.  We’ll invest in that technology.”

Q3: “Unicorns.  I think Toronto needs more unicorns.  If elected Mayor, will you get us more unicorns?”unicorn tower

A3: “I’ll get those too!  I got free dental for seniors.  Subsidized metropasses for students and I love giving away stuff.  I can always raise taxes on the rich. I’m progressive.  Buy now, tax now.  The other candidates want to pay for studies.  I say forget the studies and invest in unicorns.  Why wait 10-years.  Get them here now!”

Toronto may not need unicorns, but if more than one-quarter of the city blindly support Olivia Chow’s platform, maybe after the 1% land transfer tax levy, they should all be next.

Who needs fiscal restraint when you’re spending other people’s money, anyways.

This modern-day Robin Hood has it all figured out.  Steal from the rich to give to the poor.

Psst… Want more trees too?

unicorntower2

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Things We Should Not Lose Sight Of


I have a lot of stuff running through my mind and when I go to write them down so I do not forget, I forget them.  So I’m going to try to empty those items in a Thursday 13 post, whereby I list 13 items on a topic, and the topic this week is 13 Things Happening Around Us We Cannot Lose Sight Of.

13.  Uruguay has a player named Luis Suarez who is a pretty damn incredible soccer player.  He beat England pretty much by himself which must have sucked since he plays in the English Premier League.  Suarez, however, likes to bite his opponents.  He has done this a couple of times before and was most recently suspended 10 games for it.  He clearly has not learned, however, as he bit a player in Uruguay’s FIFA World Cup game.

Now what are they going to do with him?

Should he not have learned by now?

If FIFA were his parents, would biting him back be justified to teach him a lesson?  How about making him write an apology, or punishing him for the lie he told when he denied that it happened.

12.  Russia appears to be trying to re-assemble the USSR which is disturbing, but even more upsetting is the amount of anti-Semitism and gay-bashing going around.  This country clearly wants to remain a super-power by controlling its citizens, however the trampling of basic human rights places them back in the 1960’s and that much be stopped.  Shooting down planes is also not cool at all.

11.  Toronto Mayor Rob Ford return to work on June 30th after 2 months in rehab.  He immediately jumps to the top of the polls for re-election and I don’t know why.  Granted, John Tory has 61% of the popular support, but it appears that Torontonians are poised to make another huge mistake.

10.  In my day job, as a tax collections consultant, I have found the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is taking forever to process simple requests and have been quick to assess but slow to follow-up.  Where is the accountability? #inTAXicating

9.   Miami Heat star LeBron James has opted out of his contract either to become a free agent and join another team, or because he realized he cannot do everything and that Chris Bosh is pretty fragile and useless, like he was in Toronto.  So with a new contract at a cheaper price, the Heat can buy more / better players.  But with LBJ on his way back to Cleveland, and talks of Bosh wanting to go to front-runner and defending champion Houston Rockets, does it make the Bosh-o-saur seem like less of a player, who wants to go where he can get a free ride, not bang in the paint and play safely?

8.   Toronto sports teams suck, and sports fans here are perplexed.  The Raptors and Blue Jays were supposed to suck and be last place in their respective divisions this season, but the Raptors won their division and the Jays are just out of first place in the AL East with pretty terrible starting pitching.  The Maple Leafs, on the other hand, and the Toronto FC, made changes and were expected to at the very least, make the playoffs but both bombed.

7.   Starbucks Brezza coffee is fantastic!

6.   I feel bad for business owners who do not do their homework… In my neighbourhood, for example, a new restaurant just opened selling food which I’m pretty sure no one will eat.  Worse, it opened across from a religious centre where very few would have / have ever tried that food.  (Shaking Head)

5.   Did they find that missing plane yet?  Sad.

4.   5-years yesterday since Michael Jackson died.  I seem to hear more and more of him on the radio each and every day.

3.   Girls and Woman in countries all over the world are being kidnapped and tortured for no reason whatsoever.  This needs to be stopped, like yesterday.  Until each and every person in the world, man, woman and trans-gendered are allowed to live free and safe from persecution, we have a long way to go.

2.   Hate is taught.  For a child to grow up in a free and democratic country and think it is okay to vandalize something with hate messages which probably would have gotten him jailed, tortured or killed in his country, means his parents and community are breeding hate and that cannot and should not ever be tolerated.  Shame.

1.   Education is the key, my friends, to pretty much everything.  Education, exercise, never trying drugs, and using common sense will lead to a better human race and should be the corner-stone for a new way to bring up our children and judge others.

 

#DontBeALemon

#BeARoseBud

 

Olivia Chow Running for Toronto Mayor Position. One of the Top… Spenders as a MP.


According to the Federal government, here: http://www.parl.gc.ca/PublicDisclosure/MemberExpenditures.aspx?Id=MER2013FY&Language=E

I’ll break out the stats. Have a look at others. This could be the Mayor to bankrupt Toronto:

Expenditures by Member

Member: Chow, Olivia

Member. Status. Constituency Name. Constituency Size. Number of Electors.

Chow, Olivia. Active. Trinity—Spadina. 26 km². 101,020

Category

Member’s Budgets ($)

Resources Provided by the House ($)

Travel Points

Total ($)

Reg.

Spec.

U.S.A.

1-Employees’ salaries and service contracts
241,328.49 – 241,328.49

2-Travel

Member
2,191.93 46,090.29 39.50 10.00 – 48,282.22

Designated traveller


Dependants


Employees
3,109.33 2,494.24 4.00 – – 5,603.57

Member’s accommodation and per diem expenses
7,240.65 – 7,240.65

Member’s secondary residence expenses
12,000.00 – 12,000.00

3-Hospitality and events
3,870.58 – 3,870.58

4-Advertising
3,296.96 – 3,296.96

5-Printing

Householders
– 28,835.50 28,835.50

Ten percenters
– 19,898.77 19,898.77

Other printing-related expenses
7,536.58 – 7,536.58

6-Offices

Constituency office leases, insurance and utilities
41,962.70 – 41,962.70

Furniture, furnishing and equipment purchases
505.00 3,457.65 3,962.65

Equipment rentals
2,403.41 – 2,403.41

Informatics and telecommunication equipment purchases
2,092.37 1,726.10 3,818.47

Telecommunication services
7,330.26 6,998.71 14,328.97

Repairs and maintenance
498.14 – 498.14

Postage and courier services
4,704.87 – 4,704.87

Materials and supplies
4,622.22 3,708.66 8,330.88

Training
348.04 – 348.04

Total Amount Spent: $458,251.45.
345,041.53 113,209.92 43.50 10.00 – $458,251.45

That is $458,251.45 in one year. One riding.

Take a deep breath and think again… Please.

STATUS:
Active – Member throughout fiscal year; DE – Deceased; NR – Not re-elected; NE – Newly elected; NSR – Not seeking re-election; RS – Resigned; NEB – Newly elected in by-election