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COVID-19 income aid could cost Canadians at tax time

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A lifeline for many during the pandemic may turn out to be a nightmare for some come tax time.

According to the ​government of Canada​, 27.56 million Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) applications were processed with over $81.64 billion paid out to nearly 9 million applicants as of Oct. 4.

Tax experts with CH Financial Ltd, a Calgary-based financial advising group, told Global News some of those Canadians may be surprised to learn that the government financial aid they have received is taxable.

“It’s all fully taxable income and tax has to be paid,” CEO Jeremy Clark said.

Clark said depending on what employment and income people had during the year, they could be faced with a huge tax bill.

“The CERB, there’s no tax withheld,” he added. “So you could have potentially two or three sources of income and not enough tax withheld.”

“So there could be hundreds — or thousands of dollars — in tax owing.”

It was definitely something long-time Calgary musician Michael Hope considered when he applied for CERB.

Hope is an assistant principal bassoonist with the Calgary Philharmonic. He said the year started to unravel around mid-March while the Calgary Phil was preparing for a concert.

“In between the rehearsal and the concert, we all got an email saying the concert had been cancelled, and that all concerts for the foreseeable future would be cancelled,” he said.

He applied for federal aid a couple of months later to help make ends meet.

“It would have been very difficult without it,” he said. “I would have made it, but barely.”

Hope said he’s also received a lot of help from his employer and community supporters. And now that smaller, virtual concerts are underway he hopes to not have to apply for federal aid again.

He has been able to save some of the money coming in now, so that he is not hit with a huge tax bill later on, but he knows not everyone can.

“If you don’t have the money and you need it to feed your family and support yourself in the here-and-now, then it’s not much of a choice.”

How to avoid — or pay off — a huge tax bill

Clark told Global News has hard as it can be, those receiving any kind of income aid need to put away some of that money. He suggested 15 to 20 per cent, but added any amount will do.

“It’s always a good idea to save some of a paycheque,” he said. “I know times are tough right now, certainly in Alberta for a variety of reasons, but I think to save a little bit — even 10 or five per cent — just in a rainy day fund, I think that’s always good advice for people of any income level.”

For those who haven’t been able to put any way, Clark said it’s not too late to start now.

What’s vital, he said, is you pay what you can as soon as you get the bill.

“Even if it’s a couple of hundred bucks, I would suggest you pay that,” he said.

“And then the interest will start to accrue on the rest of it. But if you pay nothing, you might get into a penalty situation.”

Clark also said there is one more thing to consider when it comes to this year’s taxes, and that is what you can and can’t claim from your work-from-home office expenses.

He expects these expenses will also play a huge part in your taxes as millions of Canadians continue to work remotely.

 

 

Source: – Global News

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Italy lifts COVID quarantine for EU, UK and Israel from Sunday

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-Italy will scrap mandatory quarantine from Sunday for visitors from the European Union, Britain and Israel who test negative for COVID-19, the government said on Friday as it looks to give summer tourism a boost.

With vaccine roll-outs picking up pace in the EU, more countries are looking to ease travel curbs and restrictions on the hospitality sector to help it recover from the pandemic.

“We have been waiting for this move for a long time and it anticipates a Europe-wide travel pass,” Tourism Minister Massimo Garavaglia.

The EU plans to start a unified system recording COVID-19 vaccinations, tests and recovery from June to allow more movement.

People entering Italy from these countries have so far been requested to quarantine for five days and test both before arrival as well as at the end of their isolation period.

Quarantine for other countries, including the United States, is longer.

Entry restrictions on those coming from Brazil will remain in place, the health ministry said.

The government also extended the so-called COVID-tested flights to cover some destinations in Canada, Japan and the United Arab Emirates. There will be no quarantine for those who test negative upon arrival on these routes, as well as on certain flights to Rome, Milan, Naples and Venice.

Although asked to supply a negative swab before travelling, passengers of these flights will be tested upon arrival and, if negative, exempted from quarantine.

Travel between Italy and much the rest of the world has been severely restricted for months as the government sought to contain resurgent coronavirus infections.

However, cases have declined steadily in recent weeks thanks in part to an increasingly effective vaccination campaign.

The national health institute (ISS) said on Friday the “R” reproduction number had fallen to 0.86 from 0.89 a week earlier. An “R” rate above 1 indicates that infections will grow exponentially.

Italy has recorded nearly 124,000 deaths due to coronavirus, the second-highest number in Europe after Britain. As of Monday, 19 of Italy’s 20 regions will be designated as “low-infection” zones and only one as a “medium-risk” one.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government is also due to discuss on Monday easing or abolishing Italy’s nationwide 10 p.m. curfew.

(Reporting by Maria Pia Quaglia and Angelo Amante, editing by Giulia Segreti and Gabriela Baczynska)

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WHO urges rich countries to donate shots instead of vaccinating children

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The World Health Organization urged rich countries on Friday to reconsider plans to vaccinate children and instead donate COVID-19 shots to the COVAX scheme that shares them with poorer nations.

The WHO is hoping more countries will follow France and Sweden in donating shots to COVAX after inoculating their priority populations to help address a gulf in vaccination rates.

Canada and the United States are among countries that have authorised vaccines for use in adolescents in recent weeks. However, a WHO official said talks with Washington on sharing doses were under way.

“I understand why some countries want to vaccinate their children and adolescents, but right now I urge them to reconsider and to instead donate vaccines to #COVAX,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual meeting in Geneva.

COVAX, which has delivered around 60 million doses so far, has struggled to meet supply targets partly because of Indian export restrictions on the AstraZeneca vaccine due to its growing epidemic.

So far, around 1.26 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered globally.

Tedros also said the second year of the pandemic was set to be more deadly than the first, with India a huge concern.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sounded the alarm over the rapid spread of the coronavirus through India’s vast countryside on Friday, as the country’s official tally of infections crossed 24 million and over 4,000 people died for the third straight day.

More than 160.71 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and nearly 3.5 million have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

WHO officials urged caution in lifting measures that contain transmission, such as mask wearing, and warned that more variants were bound to be detected.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised that fully vaccinated people did not need to wear masks outdoors and could avoid wearing them indoors in most places.

“Very few countries are at the point where they can drop these measures,” said Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan.

 

(Reporting by Emma Farge in Geneva and Michael Shields and John Miller in Zurich; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Catherine Evans and Jan Harvey)

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10 Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out in 2021 – Part 2

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Last week I provided 5 suggestions on how you can make your LinkedIn profile, which in 2021 is a non-negotiable must-have for job seekers, to stand out. The suggestions were:

 

  1. Add a headshot
  2. Create an eye-catching headline
  3. Craft an interesting summary
  4. Highlight your experience
  5. Use visual media

 

I’ll continue with my next 5 suggestions:

 

  1. Customize your URL

 

Your LinkedIn URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the web address for your profile. The default URL will have your name and some random numbers and letters (https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-kossovan-647e3b49). Customizing your profile URL (https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickkossovan/) makes your profile search engine friendly; therefore, you’re easier to find. As well a customized URL invites the person searching to make some positive assumptions about you:

 

  • You’re detail oriented.
  • You’re technologically savvy.
  • You understand the power of perception (Image is everything!).

 

James Wooden, one of the most revered coaches in the history of sports, is to have said, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

 

To change your profile URL, go to the right side of your profile. There you’ll find an option to edit your URL. Use this option to make your URL concise and neat.

 

  1. Make connections

 

The more connections you have increases the likelihood of being found when hiring managers and recruiters, looking for potential candidates with your background, search on LinkedIn. Envision your number of connections as ‘the amount of gas in your tank.’

 

At the very least, you should aim to get over 500 connections. Anything below 500 LinkedIn will indicate your number of connections as an exact number (ex. 368). Above 500 connections, LinkedIn simply shows you have 500+ connections. Getting to 500 implies you’re a player on LinkedIn.

 

As much as possible, connect with individuals you know personally, have worked with, met in a professional capacity (tradeshow, conference), is in your city/region and industry/profession. If you’d like to connect with someone you haven’t met, send a note with your request explaining who you are and why you’d like to connect. (This’ll be my topic in next week’s column.)

 

  1. Ask for recommendations and skill endorsements

 

This is vital to making your profile stand out! Employers want to know that others think of your work.

 

When asking for a recommendation, or skill endorsements, think of all the people you’ve worked the past. Don’t just think of your past bosses; also think of colleagues, vendors, customers — anyone who can vouch for your work and professionalism.

 

Instructions on how to ask for, and give, a recommendation, can be found by going to the LinkedIn ‘Help’ field (Located by clicking on the drop-down arrow below the ‘Me’ icon in the upper right-hand corner.) and typing ‘Requesting a recommendation.’ Do the same for skill endorsements.

 

TIP: It’s good karma to write recommendations, and endorse skills, in return and to give unsolicited.

 

  1. Keep your profile active

 

LinkedIn is not simply an online resume — it’s a networking social media site. To get the most out of LinkedIn, you need to be constantly active (at least 3 times per week). Write posts and articles. Check out what is being posted, especially by your connections. Like and share posts that resonate with you. Engage with thoughtful comments that’ll put forward your expertise.

 

Join groups that align with your industry and professional interests. Groups are an excellent way to meet like-minded professionals with whom to network and share ideas and best practices.

 

  1. Check your LinkedIn profile strength

 

It’s in LinkedIn’s interest that you’re successful using their platform. Therefore, they’ve created a ‘Profile Strength Meter’ to gauge how robust your profile is. Basically, this gauge tells you completion level of your profile. Using the tips, you’ll be given, keep adding to your profile until your gauge rates you “All-Star.” For instructions on how to access your ‘Profile Strength Meter,’ use the LinkedIn’ Help’ field.

 

The 10 tips I offered is a starting point for building a LinkedIn profile that WOWs! Jobseekers need to make the most of their profile to stand out in a sea of candidates, sell their skills, and validate their accomplishments. Make it easy for the reader to get a feel for who you are professionally.

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Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

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