Blogs list

Michael Citrome - Barrett Tax Law Firm - Michael Citrome

June 19, 2015

When Fighting a Tax Assessment, Timing is Everything - Comedy and tax disputes: you may not think that these two have a lot in common.  But one thing is true both when it comes to being funny and fighting with the Canada Revenue Agency – timing is everything. Tax disputes rarely appear out of nowhere. Something heralds their arrival, usually an innocuous-looking envelope with the CRA’s logo on the top left-hand corner. Not to sound like a paranoid, glass-half-empty lawyer, but experience has taught me to treat every CRA envelope like a ticking time bomb, its contents ready to blow up when the clock counts down to zero, whether or not you’re aware. When you get an envelope from the CRA (or Revenu Quebec, for that matter) open it and read it. If you don’t understand it, bring it to a trusted tax professional. Whatever the message inside, harmless or heart-pounding, there is almost certainly a date attached, and some kind of consequence connected with missing that date, lurking in wait to complicate your life. In an Audit, Don’t Bury Your Head in the Sand There is nothing pleasant about a tax audit. Even when the auditor is pleasant and professional and the issues clear and uncomplicated, it can be a harrowing and time-consuming experience. It’s not just dishonest taxpayers who have reason to fear an audit, disorganized taxpayers need to beware as well. One of the most important principles to remember in an audit is that the CRA is not bound by any declaration made by a taxpayer. In simpler terms, the CRA…

David Lowdon - Perley-Robertson Hill & McDougall LLP - David Lowdon

Better Capital Raising Opportunities for Small Businesses and Start-ups - Sponsored Article A New Family, Friends and Business Associates Exemption for Ontario The first source of funding for many small businesses or start-ups is the owner’s network of family, friends and business associates.  While other jurisdictions have a prospectus exemption catering to this fundraising opportunity, for several years Ontario has not. The Ontario Securities Commission (“OSC”) recently announced a new prospectus exemption for investments by family, friends and business associates (the “FFBA Exemption”).  The FFBA exemption came into effect on May 5, 2015. The FFBA Exemption recognizes that existing networks of family, friends and business associates may be the most cost-efficient way for early stage companies to raise capital without disclosure requirements or intermediary involvement.  It will likely broaden access to capital beyond what is currently available under the existing Private Issuer exemption and it replaces Ontario’s much narrower Founder, Control Person and Family Exemption.  It will also increase investment opportunities for investors who are closely related to the corporation but who would not have qualified under previously existing exemptions. The FFBA Exemption introduces two new requirements.  First, an issuer will be required to submit a report of exempt distribution to the OSC.  In addition, a risk acknowledgement form must be signed by both the investor and the issuer.   The FFBA Exemption has the following key conditions: It is available to both reporting and non-reporting issuers but is not available to investment funds. The exemption applies to a distribution of any security by an issuer or selling security holder. There is no limit on…

Photo : David  Lowdon June 12, 2015

Amy Alksnis - BrazeauSeller.LLP - Amy Alksnis

Estate Planning Considerations for Blended Families - Sponsored Article The traditional nuclear family that was common a generation ago is gradually being replaced by non-traditional family structures, including the blended family.  It is becoming more and more common for people to enter into new relationships following a divorce, sometimes with each partner bringing children from a former relationship into the new relationship. From an estate planning perspective, this type of blended family brings with it unique challenges as compared to the “typical” estate plan. Effect of a Change in Marital Status Before touching upon some of the unique considerations that arise when planning for blended families, some preliminary comments should be made on the effect that a change in marital status has on a previously made Will. Under Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act, a legal divorce has the effect of removing a former spouse as the executor under a person’s Will and revokes any gift under the Will to the former spouse, unless it is clear from the Will that such gift was intended regardless of such divorce. It should be noted that such effect does not occur when spouses separate but do not legally divorce; the separated spouse’s entitlement under the Will will remain until the Will is changed.   Further, a legal marriage revokes a previously made Will unless the Will is made in contemplation of marriage and includes wording to that effect. So, if a person makes a new Will following a divorce and later remarries, the new Will will likely be revoked. If another Will is not made…

Photo : Amy  Alksnis April 13, 2015

Barbara Sinclair - BrazeauSellerLLP - Barbara Sinclair

City of Ottawa Infill Zoning By-law and Mature Neighbourhoods - Sponsored Content A zoning by-law amendment addressing low-rise residential infill development in mature neighbourhoods will be considered by the City of Ottawa’s Planning Committee on April 14, 2015.  The City of Ottawa continues to encourage infill, however, there has been much discussion and interest in how infill, especially in existing and established neighbourhoods, is designed and approved.  The amendments contain revisions to By-law 2012-147 (“Infill By-law”) which was adopted by City Council on May 9, 2012 and dealt with parking, landscaping projections and grade for residential infill within central and mature neighbourhoods. The Infill By-law was appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board and the revised version of the Infill By-law to be considered by Planning Committee in April, 2015. A pre-hearing interim Order of the OMB, issued on March 8, 2013 dealt with certain zoning jurisdictional issues, and the Board confirmed that municipalities do have the authority to regulate neighbourhood character, under Section 34 of the Planning Act, R.S.O.1990. The neighbourhood character requires looking along a street, or ‘streetscape character’. The interim Order goes on to state that in addition to regulating land use, municipalities may also establish zoning regulations that pertain to the incidental uses of land that go hand in hand with the land use itself, such as accessory use of yards on a lot developed with a residential land use.    Since 2013, City planning staff has engaged community and stakeholders in further public consultations and design charrettes for the development of zoning language to implement a zoning strategy.  The OMB has…

Photo : Barbara  Sinclair March 23, 2015

Mark Scott - TUC Managed IT Solutions

Benefits of Onshoring - Sponsored ArticleMany companies, when thinking of outsourcing their Service Desk, automatically assume they have to do it offshore. We naturally feel that there are a lot of benefits in any type of outsourcing, if done carefully and correctly, but here at TUC we really believe there are less risks and more economic benefits to outsourcing within North America (or “onshoring”).In North American society today there is a stigma associated with offshore Service Desks. Rightly or wrongly, even if the offshore Service Desk is performing well, it creates a negative reaction from the end-user as soon as they realize that they are talking with someone offshore. Most native English-speaking customers are more comfortable speaking with a Service Desk agent who is fluent in English and understands the culture and environment. With a North American Service Desk, language and cultural barriers are eliminated, as most North American Service Desk agents will be native English speakers and share the same culture. These interactions tend to result in greater customer satisfaction and positive impressions about the services being received.A mainland call center will also be easier to visit, making it more accessible for hands-on training and management purposes.  Here at TUC, some of our contracts require the supporting teams to frequently visit the customer sites for continuous training. This also helps the agents to learn about customer culture, environment and also meet other support groups and end-users for better understanding of processes.Some consumers who have concerns about security issues may be more willing to divulge personal data when dealing…

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Photo : Mark Scott August 18, 2014