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Financial Planning Updates

December 21, 2018 – Residency-Based Tax Bill vs Citizenship-Based Proposed by US Congressman

Both Republicans and Democrats are showing support for a bill introduced by a Republican congressman George Holding (R-North Carolina) to move from a citizenship-based taxation system to a residency-based one. The US is one of only a few countries administering tax on citizenship. This has made it difficult for Americans living in Canada who can be taxed in both countries as per the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA).

Investment Executive reported that under the new system the proposed definition of a non-resident citizen would be:

  • is a US citizen;
  • has a tax home in a foreign country,
  • is in full compliance with US income tax laws for the previous 3 years; and
  • either establishes that he/she has been a bona fide resident of a foreign country or countries for an uninterrupted period which includes an entire taxable year, or is present in a foreign country or countries during at least 330 full days during such taxable year.

 

November 20, 2018 – TFSA Annual Contribution Limit Boosted to $6,000 for 2019

The government announced the annual contribution limit for TFSAs will rise from $5,500 to $6,000 for 2019. This makes the cumulative limit $63,500 for a Canadian who has never contributed to a TFSA and was 18 years of age at the time the program was launched (2009).

 

November 2, 2018 – CRA to Boost CPP Maximum Pensionable Earnings in 2019

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced an increase in maximum pensionable earnings for CPP from $55,900 in 2018 to $57,400 for 2019, a 2.7% increase. The increase was made to reflect the growth in average Canadian weekly wages and salaries. This means the maximum employee/employer contribution will rise to 5.1% from $2,593.80 in 2018 to $2,748.90 in 2019. The maximum self-employed contribution will be 10.2% or $5,497.80. The basic exemption amount remains at $3,500 annually.

Example (source CRA)

Joseph receives a weekly salary of $500 and $50 in taxable benefits. Calculate the amount of CPP contributions that you have to pay.

Step 1: Calculate the basic pay-period exemption

$3,500 ÷ 52 = $67.30 (do not round off)

Step 2: Calculate the total pensionable income

$500 + $50 = $550

Step 3: Deduct the basic pay-period exemption from the total pensionable income

$550 – $67.30 = $482.70

Step 4: Calculate the amount of CPP contributions

$482.70 × 5.1% = $24.62

Step 5: Calculate the amount of CPP contributions you (the employer) have to pay

$24.62 × 2 = $49.24

 

September 19, 2018 – Financial Planning Standards Council Announces National Organization to Advance Financial Planning in Canada Named FP Canada™

The mandate of FP Canada is “to lead the advancement of professional financial planning”. The organization has two distinct divisions:

  1. FP Canada Standards Council™: An independent structure that sets a high level of competence, professionalism and ethics standards.
  2. FP Canada Institute™: provides tools and services to help prospective and existing financial planners provide more effective service. This includes education to develop essential technical skills.

http://fpsc.ca/alerts-updates/2018/09/19/financial-planning-standards-council-board-of-directors-announces-the-establishment-of-fp-canada-a-national-body-to-advance-professional-financial-planning-in-canada

 

February 2018 – FinaMetrica Awarded WealthBriefing Swiss Award 2018

Risk tolerance tool FinaMetrica announced their award for ‘Best Risk Profiling Solution’. The WealthBriefing Swiss Awards focus on experts, products, and services for wealth managers and clients to award top class performance and innovation. These awards are granted by two expert judging panels that include bankers and trusted advisors.

 

February 9, 2018 – FPSC Announces Digital Credentials for CFPs

The Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) announced the launch of digital credentials for Certified Financial Planners (CFPs). The digital credential will allow consumers to verify in real time that their financial advisor is in fact, a CFP in good standing. This technology uses a blockchain-verified platform that is more reliable than traditional printed credentials.

 

September 7, 2017 – Equifax Announces Information Hack

Equifax, an American based consumer credit reporting agency, announced they had become aware of a security breach on July 29, 2017 that compromised the personal information of approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers. According to the company, limited information for certain UK and Canadian residents was also exposed. Equifax responded with apologies and access to free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for all impacted Canadian residents.

An article in the Investment Executive published on September 13, 2017, reported that “Equifax Canada’s customer service agents are telling callers that only Canadians who have had dealings in the United States are likely to be affected…” read the full story

To contact Equifax Canada about the incident, you can call 1-866-699-5712
or email EquifaxCanadaInquiry@Equifax.com

 

April 28, 2017 – Title Restrictions for Financial Planners Announced by Ontario Government

In the 2017 budget, the Ontario government committed to restricting the use of the title “financial planner” and other titles that could confuse or mislead consumers, to individuals who are qualified and accountable for their professional conduct. Currently Quebec is the only province in Canada that restricts who can call themselves a “Financial Planner”. The Province of Ontario is working with regulators on enforceable standards. The government will also examine the feasibility of a universal best interest duty for all professionals providing financial advice. This standard ensures the client’s interests come before all others – a standard already adhered to by Certified Financial Planners.

 

November 2016 – Manulife Vitality Program Highlights Trends in the Insurance Industry

Manulife recently announced a program that tracks your health and rewards you with reduced premiums for living a healthy lifestyle. Once a Vitality life insurance product has been purchased, the insured registers for the program. An online quiz provides a Vitality Age™ as an indicator of overall health. A customized health plan is provided along with tools such as a wearable device that tracks health activities. The insured begins accumulating Vitality Points™ based on healthy activities. As the points accumulate, rewards levels may be achieved that result in reduced premiums for the next policy year.