There’s a new question on the tax forms this year:

How many Internet webpages or websites does your corporation earn income from?

Wasn’t very clear to me.

I list hosting and domain registration as separate expenses every year, but I have no direct revenue from the sale of “widgets” on the website (this blog excluded). I called Revenue Canada to clarify what they meant: do they want to see the websites I operate or just the ones I use to directly sell stuff? The answer was “List 0 (zero) website if you don’t sell anything off of them”.

Frankly, Revenue Canada is pretty nosy so I couldn’t believe it. I’ve sometimes called twice, three times with the same question, and each agent would have a different answer for me. The more elaborate answer was found at the Revenue Canada website. This is from their corporate return form but I assume it’s the same for partnerships/sole proprietorships:

You may earn income from your webpages or websites if:

  • you sell goods and/or services on your own pages or websites. You may have a shopping cart and process payment transactions yourself or through a third-party service;
  • your site doesn’t support transactions but your customers call, complete, and submit a form, or email you to make a purchase, order, booking, and others;
  • you sell goods and/or services on auction, marketplace, or similar websites operated by others; or
  • you earn income from advertising, income programs, or traffic your site generates. For example:
    • static advertisements you place on your site for other businesses
    • affiliate programs
    • advertising programs such as Google AdSense or Microsoft adCentre
    • other types of traffic programs.
  • Also file this schedule if you don’t have a website but you have created a profile or other page describing your business on blogs, auction, market place, or any other portal or directory websites from which you earn income.

Verdict: If you have an online profile for your business with a way to contact you, then yes, you must list the website(s).

Then there’s the next question:

What is the percentage of the corporation’s gross revenue generated from the Internet in comparison to the corporation’s total gross revenue?

This one you have to evaluate for yourself. Do you get most of your business via the website, referrals or some other way?

Source: http://blog.buzzbuzzhome.com/2010/02/ottawa-considers-making-it-harder-to.html

Kiyoko Fujimura
Buzzbuzzhome Corp.
February 12, 2010

You can’t read about Canadian real estate news right now without hearing the word bubble. While we’re still unsure whether or not a bubble is truly in our midst, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is considering policy options to curb a bubble in the housing market. With Toronto housing prices up as much 19% (by some estimates) in one year, it seems like the market needs a readjustment.

Under consideration are two policies. First, an increase in the minimum down payment. Second, a decrease in the maximum length of mortgages (amortization period). The larger down payment or the increase in monthly payments associated with a decrease in the amortization period would leave some potential buyers unable to purchase. This, in turn, should lead to an easing of demand and cooling prices.

Peter Aceto, head of ING, said:

“There are some concerns because of what’s going on with real estate, in terms of rapidly increased property values and the theory they’re being fuelled by very low interest rates, that a bubble is being created similar to what happened in the U.S.” Yourhome.ca

Interest rates have sat at record-low’s for a while now triggering what some are considering a bubble. For further analysis of this trend see my previous blog post here.

Discussion

Given Flaherty’s track record (I, of course, mean the Income Trust debacle), he’s very much capable of doing something drastic.

I’ve been a nervous wreck trying to decide if it’s the time to sell our condo. Real estate agent promos tell me I should sell now!

Future potential negatives for the Canadian, and in particular Toronto, real estate are:

  • Property taxes in Toronto are set to increase soon.
  • Then we have that stupid HST this summer – instead of 5% people will be paying 13% on closing and legal fees. Not to mention a reduction in disposable income due to all these extra levies and taxes.
  • Interest rates, supposed to increase this summer.

By the way, did you notice, they’re heavily advertising government tax relief programs? I see what they’re doing though! Instead of waiting for the income tax revenue (which would probably be lower this year), they will now take their share “on the spot”. You won’t have a choice but to pay.

They end up looking ‘kind of’ good because of the temporary income tax cuts, yet they get to eat their tax pie thanks to the HST.

I know I’m over-simplifying.

Ok, let’s assume they really raise the minimum downpayment or decrease the amortization period. Wouldn’t it mean that people would buy smaller, more affordable units?

What are the signs of a real estate bubble? Everyone says it’s a bubble, and sentiment-wise, I don’t think bubbles are that obvious, right? Or have people wisened up after the US real estate crash?

I need some input. If you were patient enough to read this, please take a minute to voice your opinion. Is Canadian real estate in a bubble? Why or why not? And what would happen if there was another “Flaherty massacre”?

We watched “Stranger Than Fiction” a few weeks ago, I really liked it and keep coming back to it. I give it 10/10 and will buy it on DVD. End of movie review.

Here’s a sort of funny dialog from “Stranger Than Fiction” that resonated with me:

Harold Crick: It says, in the file, that you only paid part of your taxes for last year.
Ana Pascal: That’s right.
Harold Crick: Looks like only 78 percent.
Ana Pascal: Yep.
Harold Crick: So you did it on purpose?
Ana Pascal: Yep.
Harold Crick: So you must’ve been expecting an audit.
Ana Pascal: Um, I was expecting a fine, or a sharp reprimand.
Harold Crick: A reprimand? This isn’t boarding school, Miss Pascal. You stole from the government.
Ana Pascal: No I didn’t steal from the government. I just didn’t pay you *entirely*.
Harold Crick: Miss Pascal, you can’t just not pay your taxes.
Ana Pascal: Yes, I can.
Harold Crick: You can if you want to get audited.
Ana Pascal: Only if I recognize your right to audit me, Mr. Crick.
Harold Crick: Miss Pascal, I’m right here auditing you.
Ana Pascal: Listen, I’m a big supporter of fixing potholes and erecting swing sets and building shelters. I am *more* than happy to pay those taxes. I’m just not such a big fan of the percentage that the government uses for national defense, corporate bailouts, and campaign discretionary funds. So, I didn’t pay those taxes. I think I sent a letter to that effect with my return.
Harold Crick: Would it be the letter that begins “Dear Imperialist Swine”?

I find myself thinking more and more that I don’t want to pay taxes, or rather not “entirely” 🙂 As most people who give it a thought, I at least partially disagree with how the tax money is spent.

Here’s where the Canadian tax dollar goes

Category descriptions in the chart are kind of vague, but they’re explained in detail here: http://www.fin.gc.ca/TaxDollar/text/html/pamphlet_e.html

My web search skills may suck but it was a lot harder to find a clear picture of where the American money goes. Canadian government websites seem to be more straight-forward, like they have less to hide 🙂

Here’s where the American tax dollar goes

Note: I put this chart together, therefore the way it’s colored is obviously biased. The big bright blocks comprise 75% of the budget.

The budget should be a reflection of the people’s priorities, whether that’s true or not is a separate question. The major differences are in Defense and Health care allocations. Even if the Healthcare diff. may be due to how federal and state/provincial governments handle things (maybe individual provinces take on more than the states do, for example), but the Defense is clearly a federal expense.

Canadians get offended when people say “they’re just like Americans”, and rightly so, at least our budget is a reflection of the peaceful nation that we are. With this, I end my very much delayed bash of the American-Iraqi war.

Tax spending is a topic for another time, when I start breaking my New Year’s resolutions and go back to my complaining self.