Actions speak louder than words???

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It’s an old saying, and one that is meant to have us think twice before making a rush to judgement. Unfortunately, today with so much talk and social media, it’s hard to drill down and measure someone by what they actually do.

At BBT Financial we are not perfect, nor ever will be. When we get something wrong, like a tax assessment we immediately relay this to the client and tell them where we went wrong. We show them our calculations or where the CRA had a different opinion. We then adjust our process to correct future calculations and ensure it never comes up again. Mistakes are the best teacher. Honesty goes hand in hand with Accountability.

We believe we owe it to the client to be as transparent as possible. If they choose to go elsewhere, we never stop them.  Trust is our business, and our clients deserve the truth as a measure of that trust.

 

Rick Barbosa

Thank Goodness I’m Canadian…when it comes to taxes

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With tax season winding down for 2015, it’s time for a little reflection. This year I had an increase in the number of new clients that required both Canadian and American returns prepared. If you reference my site, you’ll notice I don’t actively post prices for my U.S returns. This is because many times I need to explain that because of the various individual circumstances it may be impossible to quote how much work is needed. Many states require filing of annual state taxes as well as federal. Also there is a variety of avenues to take to obtain the taxable income. There is a choice of AMT (alternative minimum tax) or Tax based on where you fall in the IRS Tax Tables. There is also a choice between itemized deductions and taking the standard deduction. And finally, lets not even talk about how many different forms and ways there are to calculate depreciation that are available.

The bottom line is that the U.S system has more tax advantages on many deductible items that cannot be claimed in Canada. This has the impact of lowering the individual tax rate. The trick is spending time and money to research, apply and weigh your outcomes. On a pro rata basis fewer U.S citizens prepare their own taxes than do Canadians. This is because of the complexity involved.  This is also why Warren Buffet and other High Income earners wind up paying lower taxes on a % basis than someone earning 40k.

Taking a balanced approach, I am biased towards our tax system. Our simple and straightforward Tax Code along with our tax credit system provides a more even approach to taxation and shares the public burden more broadly. This means a slightly higher personal income tax but lower aggravation when it comes to tax time. Our Corporate rates are now lower than many combined Federal/State rates in the US, and with the advent of a higher TFSA limit, we are closing the gap on personal rates.

Rick Barbosa

Get your “Shoebox” in order to save money

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Tax time is almost here and now is as good a time as any to get your “stuff” in order to lower your tax bill with your accountant.  The awful truth is that most accountants don’t care about how organized you are because they can use your lack of preparedness to increase the amount they bill you. I can’t do that. My job is to educate and advise my client’s. Part of that advice includes how to organize your finances to :

  1. Understand them
  2. Lower your year end tax bill

Once client`s understand that the more work that I need to do translates into the more they pay, then they usually change their habits. Although, truth be told, there are some that  accept this and are OK with a higher bill.

How to get prepared

  1. Make sure you wait to get all your T4`s, T5`s, T3`s , and RRSP slips. This cuts down on filing amended returns.
  2. Find all relevant receipts (hopefully they are easy to get at) if not there are usually on-line records that you can access
  3. Sort by type of receipt (Medical, travel, meals, donations, vehicle, entertainment, cell phone, etc.)
  4. Add all receipts up with a calculator (buy a calculator with a print feature) then print tab and circle total amount
  5. Paper clip or bind these receipts with tab on top
  6. Present them in one docket or file to your accountant

This eliminates 80% of what accountants do. From here, the accountant should spot check and verify amounts for eligibility and weed out duplicates. This should result in your accountant lowering your tax bill. If it doesn`t then you need to ask yourself if  you are using the right accountant.

Hope this helps,

 

Your friend,

 

Rick Barbosa

Welcome to my Blog…Finally

It’s been a long but educational process in finally putting together this web page. I originally started by hiring another firm to design my static page and then started to use AdWords to draw attention to my site. I had mixed results, but fate pointed me in the right direction. I was working with a client who had introduced me to WordPress. I was amazed by how simple it was to set up a page, add features and monitor traffic. After learning some basic HTML and Photoshop skills I finally set out to create my own page and blog.

When you do things yourself and learn to rely on yourself the rewards are twofold. First you get the benefit of increased knowledge and confidence, second you get the sense of control and accomplishment. My Blog will attempt to help the average person understand and control their finances, with the two goals of avoiding debt and building wealth. Money whether we like it or not is the great facilitator in life. It is the means by which pretty much all things get done. Understanding how to manage your finances ranks just below Health and Family. Money does not bring happiness but does facilitate it.

I hope that by bringing a fresh and non-biased or solicited approach to discussing money that in some small way I can help those who need it the most.

 

Take care

Rick Barbosa