Looks like the Economist agree with HST in principle. HST is not just tax raise, it changes the nature of federal tax from sales tax to value-added tax and it supposes to replace incoming tax as a more “fair” tax system. Now we has HST, when are they getting rid of the incoming tax?
We just have our ecoEnergy inspection for our new place over the weekend. The Canadian government is giving out ecoEnergy Retrofit Home Grants to encourage home owners making their home more energy efficient. Before your renovation, you can get an eco-inspector to measure the green rating of your home. Then eco-inspector come again after the inspection is done. The government will reimburse part of the renovation cost base on green rating improvement.
The most interesting part of the inspection is testing the air leakage of the house. First the inspect closed all windows and doors, then he install a big fan in the front door and sucking air out from the house. The fan create a pressure difference between the house and outside. Depending on the sucking power of the fan and the pressure difference, he can calculate the air leakage of the house. When there is a large difference in air pressure, I can put my hand in front of wall sockets or door gaps and feel wind coming through the gaps. The optimal air leakage is 30% of the air in the house is circulated every hour. If too much leakage, the house is losing too much heat. If too light leakage, the air will becomes stall in the house.
Since I am not a environmental friendly person, so I don’t really care about the green rating. It will take many years to recoup the renovation cost on electricity and gas bills anyways. Pat is more evnironmental friendly and she insists on the eco-inspection. It turns out our house is already very energy efficient because it is quite new. We are already using double layer windows, water saving toilet and Energy Stars appliances. Basically we don’t have to do anything.
April is the time to file the tax return. This year’s tax return is a little difference than last year’s. My status in the file has changed from single to married. In the point of view of Revenue Canada, nothing much is changed. We still have to file two seperate tax return instead of a common couple return. The only benefits is I can transfer some unused tax credit from Pat under my return. I have a higher marginal tax rate so it is better to claim the credit under my name so we can get more refund.
Support in Quick Tax for marriage couple is pretty good. I can file two return under the same file and the software will take care of copying the required information between the two sets of forms. It also has some tips on how to optimize the refund between the couple. It is almost perfect except it is missing one feature. I can’t merge the data from last year’s tax return for both of us. I can only transfer last year’s data from one file and have to mannually enter the data for the other one.
Last year, my company changed the medical insurance coverage from 100% to 80%. I didn’t realize I can claim tax credit for the remaining 20%, so I didn’t keep the recipts. Damn… I could have get back ten or twenty bucks more from the government. Next year, I have to remind myself to file all my dental and drug recipts.
My high school made news on Globe and Mail, a national newspaper. Revenue Canada, aka taxman, sues the headmaster and teachers living on campus understating their taxable benefits on free rent. The headmaster claim a taxable benefit of $6000 per year, on a two stories house over looking Lake Ontario. But the taxman say it should be a value of $31000, which is calculated base on the rent in the area. The case went to court and the judge rule against the Revenue Canada. The judge accept the headmaster’s argument that living on campus sacrifice their private life. It is unrealistic to assume the place rent out with the market price. The rent is cheap because it comes with the responsibility to take care of the boarding students at night.
As a alumni, I agree with the judge and glad that he had made the right ruling. Although outsiders thinks my high school is a elite school with four prime ministers on the alumni list, the fact is the students are as troublesome as other teenagers. Things just happens at night in board schools. The teachers living on campus has to deal with it. The headmaster is not exaggerating. We do have drunken students and students with emotional distress. I was caught once sneaking out to have beer in midnight and saw more than once fights break out among students who suppose to be sleeping. We also pranked the headmaster from time to time. I remember we wrap his car with toilet paper in Halloween one year and painted his lawn furniture in pink the other year. I don’t think anyone with a right mind would pay the market rent to live among 200 naughty teenagers.
The BC liberal government is going to add a 2 cent carbon tax to all fuel starting July 1. At the same time, we will get a $100 cash rebate from the government in the name of climate action division. The idea is you can spent the money to lower your carbon footprint. However with the gas price reaching record hight, I guess I will just simply spend my rebate to fill up my gas tank before the new tax becomes effective. The government may seem generous on rebate, but the money actually come from my pocket. In a long run, we still have to pay more tax, which is bad.
I don’t see any way we can cut our consumption on oil. Only those who are too naive or stupid will think public transit can replace automobile as a mean of transportation. Time is also money. The time I wasted stuck in a bus is much more than the money I have to spent on gas. Taking public transport doesn’t make any sense unless your home and destination is right next to a Skytrain station. Maybe the only solution is to invent some new source of energy to power our cars.
Apirl is the tax season of the year, and people are busy in preparing their tax returns. With only 1 week left before the filing deadline, I finally started preparing my tax return tonight. I have been a loyal customer to Quicktax for many years. Filing tax return using computer and internet is really convenient. I’m so used to doing tax electronically hat I can’t even imgaine how can I do it with pen and paper. After subtracted all my debuction and contribution to the retirement fund, my actual tax rate is only 20%. People always say Canada is a tax heavy country, but my experience found that it is not so bad. Maybe it is just me who don’t make enough money to qualify for the normal high tax rate. Sigh…