May 20 2013 12:37AM
Apparently, bold proclamations are reserved for coach Rex Ryan.
Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith says he was reprimanded for guaranteeing a playoff berth in his first interview after being drafted by Gang Green in the second round last month. That, he promised, will be his last Joe Namath moment, though...
May 19 2013 04:00PM
You may think you’re finished with your 2012 taxes because the April 30 deadline has passed and your refund is in the bank.
But the Canada Revenue Agency is just getting started. The CRA assessed 13.4 million returns between mid-February and May 9, about half of the returns it will process for 2012. The average refund is $1,617.
If you filed online you probably got your tax return back in a few days. But what you might not know is that CRA pays out those refunds based on what you filed and may go back for a closer look.
The CRA won’t say how many returns it revisits each year. Some are chosen at random, but some may be selected because the CRA needs more information.
When you file electronically, as nearly 85 per cent of us now do, you don’t send your receipts — just make sure you keep them. You may get a letter from by July asking for such things as proof of charitable donations, Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contributions or child care expenses.
“That’s not an audit. That’s a request for information. People shouldn’t fear that,” said Scotiabank tax expert Tim Cestnick, president of WaterStreet Family Wealth Counsel. “Most of the time, you’re just sending them stuff that you would have sent them anyway if you had filed by paper.”
In other cases, there are things in the return that seem out of the ordinary, for example a dramatic change in income or a large increase in deductions. Here the CRA comes looking for tax evasion and will pour over all receipts and T-slips to find out if you’ve been honest.
Related: 8 ways to get the biggest refund
These are seven factors that will typically trigger a CRA audit:
1. Being self-employed: If you own a business the CRA is more likely to take a closer look to make sure you are declaring all that you make. If you’re in construction, retail or the restaurant business — places where cash can change hands unrecorded — the odds that the CRA will flag you are even greater.
2. Any big changes: This could prompt the CRA to ask if there’s been a mistake or ask for proof that things have changed.
3. Recurring losses: The CRA may take a closer look at a business that doesn’t ever seem to make a profit but where the loss can be used to offset other income.
“Once you’ve reported losses for two or three years in a row on the same business or rental property, a little flag will go up on your tax return,” Cestnick said.
4. Big expenses: Did you really move 40 km closer to your work? Were those child care expenses incurred so you could go to work or head to the movies on Friday night? The former is deductible; the latter is not.
They also want to see your receipts. “There are situations where it’s obvious that someone incurred the cost, but they can’t find the receipt. Does that mean they shouldn’t claim it? No, claim it, but be prepared to have a battle if the CRA ever comes back and asks questions,” Cestnick said.
5. Not blending in: The CRA compares what you report against the norm for your industry, what your colleaagues report and even your neighbours. “If you’re declaring $40,000 a year income and you live on a street where everyone else makes $150,000, the CRA is going to wonder how you can live there,” said Dale Barrett, tax lawyer and author of Tax Survival for Canadians: Stand up to the CRA.
6. Aggressive tax planning: Federal finance minister Jim Flaherty said in his latest budget that he would collect millions in extra revenue by closing tax loopholes.
“If you participate in a variety of programs like tax shelters, donation schemes, any very aggressive tax planning, you will be audited, 100 per cent guaranteed. They will look into these plans eventually. It’s a matter of when, not if,” Barrett said. “Any aggressive tax planning scheme should be avoided.”
7. Home office expenses: You’re allowed to declare a certain percentage of your residence as a home office, but claiming more than 10 or 15 per cent sends a signal, Barrett said.
Related: How to avoid these 8 tax filing mistakes
If you drive your vehicle for personal and business purposes, keep a detailed record to show which is which.
“With electronic calendars, it’s easy to see where you’ve been and with Google Maps you can keep very detailed records on how far you’re driving from your place of employment to your business appointments,” said Evelyn Jacks, a Winnipeg tax expert. “Forgetting your pencil and paper log at home is no longer an excuse.”
Being organized is the best defence. “If you’re organized and they come to audit you, it looks a lot better than if you’re scrambling around the house and you can’t find the paperwork,” Cestnick said.
If you’ve made false claims, you can come clean and reduce the penalty. The CRA has a voluntary disclosure program.
“It’s best to get everything cleaned up before CRA contacts you,” says Barrett. “If you do it this way you can save tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties just by doing it first.”
May 18 2013 06:49PM
WINNIPEG—The Manitoba government says Elijah Harper’s body will lie in state in the province’s legislature.
Harper, who as a member of the legislature blocked the Meech Lake constitutional accord in 1990, died Friday at age 64.
The province says the public will be able to view Harper on Monday afternoon and that books of condolences will be available.
Later that evening, a funeral service will be held at Glory and Peace Church in Winnipeg.
The burial service will take place Thursday in Red Sucker Lake, where Harper was born and was once chief of the Ojibwa-Cree Red Sucker Lake First Nation.
Jennifer Wood, a longtime friend who worked with Harper in Winnipeg and in Ottawa, said the casket will be open during the viewing and that there will be a Manitoba flag draped over a portion of it.
Wood said she believes Harper would have been pleased many of the people he worked with at the legislature will be able to publicly pay their respects.
“I know it’s exactly what Elijah would have wanted,” she said.
The Meech Lake deal was intended to win Quebec’s signature on the Constitution but Harper said it ignored aboriginal rights.
He was a member of the New Democrat opposition in the legislature at the time and the accord had to be ratified by Parliament and most other legislatures. His vote against it prevented it from being ratified by Ottawa’s deadline and eventually scuttled it.
Images of him in the legislature holing an eagle feather while voting “No” were printed and broadcast across the country.
May 18 2013 12:17AM
One of the Jets’ top off-season acquisitions hasn’t even played a down yet — and he’s already flying high.
New Jersey State Police officers arrested running back Mike Goodson early yesterday for allegedly possessing weed and a loaded handgun.
It’s the latest black eye for a floundering franchise...
May 17 2013 12:37PM
New York Jets running back Mike Goodson was arrested Friday morning on drug possession and weapon charges.
May 17 2013 11:47AM
New York Jets running back Mike Goodson is facing drug and weapons charges after a New Jersey traffic stop.
May 17 2013 09:40AM
WINNIPEG—Elijah Harper, who became a symbol of power for Canadian aboriginals when he helped scuttle the Meech Lake constitutional accord, has died.
Harper’s family says he died this morning of cardiac failure due to diabetes complications.
Harper, who was 64, was a politician and aboriginal leader for much of his life, and was best-known for his role in blocking the accord in 1990.
“Elijah was a wonderful man, father, partner. He was a true leader and visionary in every sense of the word,” the family said in a statement.
“He will have a place in Canadian history forever for his devotion to public service and uniting his fellow First Nations with pride, determination and resolve.”
The soft-spoken former chief of the Ojibwa-Cree Red Sucker Lake Indian band in Manitoba was an NDP opposition member of the legislature when he prevented the accord from being ratified by Ottawa’s deadline.
He said the deal, crafted to win Quebec’s signature on the Constitution, ignored aboriginal rights. Last-minute scrambling by federal officials failed to appease Harper and other native leaders.
Brian Mulroney, who was prime minister at the time, was applying pressure on dissenting premiers to go along with the accord by approving it in their legislatures. Voting in Manitoba came late in the national debate.
Harper refused to allow legislature rules to be waived to speed debate of the resolution. He delayed it long enough to make it impossible to meet the deadline.
Pictures of Harper, clutching an eagle feather as he repeatedly and simply said “No” in the legislature, were flashed across the country as the clock ticked down.
Someone even wrote a song about his stand.
“I stalled and killed it because I didn’t think it offered anything to the aboriginal people,” Harper said simply of his decision.
He was voted The Canadian Press newsmaker of the year in 1990 for his actions, which helped propel native issues to the top of the political agenda — at least briefly.
He was the first status Indian elected to the Manitoba legislature where he served from 1981 to 1992. That included a two-year stint as minister of native affairs in former NDP premier Howard Pawley’s cabinet. Harper’s duties were interrupted briefly when he sought counselling for drunk driving.
Harper resigned from the legislature in 1992 and a year later left the New Democrats to run for the Liberals federally. He won a seat representing the sprawling northern Manitoba riding of Churchill.
He had some well-publicized financial problems. He was sued by creditors as well as his former wife. In 1992, two years after their marriage of 17 years collapsed, Elizabeth Harper said she had to go on welfare to supplement her meagre child-support payments for two sons and two daughters.
Harper had health issues as well. He became ill in the fall of 1994 when he was struck with a mysterious malady that doctors and native healers were at a loss to explain.
Harper, one of 13 children, was an intensely private man. It took years before he would even reveal his age to interviewers.
Despite spending much of his life as a civil servant or politician, the man who was born on a trapline frequently sought solace from the pressures of political life by returning to the bush to hunt.
His biographer, Pauline Comeau, once said that although Harper wasn’t acting on his own in 1990, that in no way diminished the significance of his deed.
“In that world it was a collective effort and he played his role,” Comeau said in an interview shortly after her 1993 book “No Ordinary Hero” was published.
Following his active career in public service, Harper spent much of the rest of his life visiting First Nations, meeting with indigenous leaders across North America, working with charities and doing international humanitarian work.
“Elijah will also be remembered for bringing aboriginal and non-aboriginal people together to find a spiritual basis for healing and understanding,” his family said.
May 16 2013 11:32PM
For The few veterans who survived the aggressive offseason purge by new management and are remnants of a gutted roster, the Jets’ locker room must have the look and feel of a transient bus station.Understandably, the talk dominating this offseason has been about who will quarterback the Jets in...
May 16 2013 11:31PM
The Jets quarterbacks meeting room was less crowded yesterday with David Garrard having retired, but Mark Sanchez said the departure has no effect on him.
“Nothing’s changed,” Sanchez said. “My mindset’s the same. Just stay focused, master this offense, improve on my fundamentals and be as accurate as...
May 16 2013 11:31PM
Jets running back Joe McKnight is not worried about the team bringing in competition at his position. The Jets added Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson this offseason to compete with McKnight and Bilal Powell for carries. McKnight, however, is confident he’s sticking around. “Whoever they bring in, I don...
May 15 2013 11:02PM
New Jets general manager John Idzik’s front-office housecleaning has claimed two more victims.Assistant GM Scott Cohen, who lost out to Idzik for the top job this winter, and director of football administration Ari Nissim both told their contracts are not being renewed, sources confirmed to The Post’s...
May 15 2013 11:02PM
The Jets’ quarterback drama took another twist yesterday with David Garrard preparing to walk away from football, increasing the chance Mark Sanchez remains with the team.
Garrard plans on retiring, according to a source, but nothing has been made official yet.
According to another source, Garrard has been struggling with...
May 15 2013 04:31PM
New York Jets quarterback David Garrard is reportedly set to retire due to lingering knee issues.
May 14 2013 07:53PM
VANCOUVER—British Columbia voters appeared ready Tuesday to hand over the keys to the provincial treasury in Victoria to New Democrats, turning their back on a scandal-ridden centre-right coalition which has governed for 12 years.
If they choose Adrian Dix, an understated academic who emerged from the backrooms, a man with a penchant for sports trivia and political policy, it would be only the fourth time in provincial history that New Democrats have been entrusted with government here.
It has not always been pretty — and the Liberals under Premier Christy Clark spent the entire campaign, and the months leading to it, hammering away at the inbred fear of the New Democrats in this polarized province.
But for voters, it appeared one look at the unassuming, unthreatening Dix dissolved many of those fears.
He maintained a healthy six-to-nine point lead in polling heading into election day.
For those looking for election night portents, there were some important ones.
Voter turnout at advance polls set a record, something New Democrats say bodes well for their message of change. There were also long lineups at some Vancouver polling stations Tuesday.
After some hesitation, the party booked the huge Vancouver Convention Centre for its election night celebration, even, as one strategist put it, “Adrian likes to shy away from such ostentatious displays.’’
Clark will be at a much smaller hotel down the street.
Clark has whittled away at a huge pre-election lead built by the New Democrats but faces peril on a number of fronts.
A double defeat — an election loss to Dix and a defeat in her home riding of Vancouver Point-Grey — could hasten her departure and possibly spark the tear down and rebranding of the coalition she heads, one which has been riven by infighting.
Until Tuesday, she seemed to have blunted some of that internal dissent with a campaign that could yield enough seats to make her party an effective opposition.
But this is not a coalition that is used to surrendering power.
There are 85 seats up for grabs with four main parties in the mix, but the Conservatives under former MP John Cummins fell off the map with a stunningly inept and gaffe-prone campaign.
B.C. Greens were hoping for a historic breakthrough on Vancouver Island.
Dix ran a risk-free, one-step-at-a-time campaign, surrounded by former advisers to federal NDP leader Jack Layton.
“Jack appealed to the best in people. It’s in that spirit that we carried out this campaign,’’ Dix said.
Yes, he appeared nervous at times, most notably during a painful opening statement in the provincial leaders’ debate. No, he doesn’t appear to be a natural campaigner.
But after 12 years of Liberal rule, he and his team determined they could win if he merely ran an error-free campaign and did nothing to shake a sense here that it was time for change.
He is the antithesis of former NDP premiers Dave Barrett and Glen Clark, even the more moderate Mike Harcourt.
Taking nothing for granted, Dix finished the 28-day campaign with a 24-hour blitz, including middle of the night visits to coffee shops, something that Clark likened to a student who hasn’t done his homework and is cramming at the last minute for final exams.
“They misled people on the debt, they misled people on the deficit, they misled people on jobs, they misled people on health care,’’ Dix said of the Liberals at his wrap-up rally in Vancouver.
“Talk about time for a change.’’
In the campaign’s final hours, Clark’s Liberals played the “red menace” card and kept up its attack on Dix’s role in a 15-year-old government scandal as proof that he cannot be trusted.
But Liberal minister Mike de Jong probably hurt the cause on the final full day of campaigning by waving a three-year-old “manifesto” from the provincial NDP council, a document that was put together before Dix became leader and which includes nothing that actually made it into the party’s election platform.
De Jong wanted to talk about the NDP “politburo” and compared their plans to those of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, but instead he faced reporters’ questions about Clark’s future.
Clark, enjoyed a burst of momentum after winning the leadership in 2011, but soon found herself facing the reality of a longer and longer path to victory, wounded by her party’s betrayal of the voters when it introduced a harmonized sales tax shortly after Gordon Campbell’s re-election in 2009 — a pledge that was never mentioned during the campaign.
It has since been repealed following a province wide referendum but in the campaign’s final days, the NDP released an ad reminding voters of the fourth “birthday” of the Liberal pledge not to introduce the HST.
Tim Harper is a national affairs writer. His column appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter:@nutgraf1
May 14 2013 12:16AM
Count Giants co-owner Steve Tisch among those who thinks the Jets trading for Tim Tebow was not a smart move.“Had another team picked him up, after the Broncos, maybe he’d have a career. I think him going from the Broncos to the Jets was not in anybody’s...