What’s not to love? Whether you’re a woman, child, family, veteran or student hitting the books to retrain, the Trudeau Liberals’ second federal budget has something for everyone. But before you get too excited, note that there are no show-stopping measures. Here are 15 ways Budget 2018 will affect your finances:
1. The government is turning the Working Income Tax Benefit into a new Canada Workers Benefit (CWB). The changes mean that if you are single and earn $15,000 or less in 2019 you may earn an extra $500 per year. In the past you had to check a box on your return to apply, but this is no longer the case. You will now be automatically enrolled.
Individuals who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit may also receive Canada Workers Benefit Disability Supplement. The budget also proposes that the maximum amount of this supplement will be increased to $700 in 2019. It will be phased in at $24,111 for singles without dependents and will disappear at $36,483 for families.
2. The Canadian Child Benefit will be indexed to inflation starting July 2018.
3. In the previous budget you were able to take additional time off for parental and caregiver care and get the EI Caregivers Benefit. This has now been extended to include maternity and sickness benefits.
4. You will be able to open an RESP and claim the $500 Canada Learning Bond grant at the same time that you apply for a birth certificate for your child. This will automatically enroll children born into low-income families for the grant.
5. As of June of 2019, the government will offer five additional weeks of “use-it-or-lose-it” EI Parental Sharing Benefits when both parents commit to sharing parental leave. It’s available to all two-parent families, including adoptive and same-sex couples. If you’re going for the standard parental leave option of 55% of EI benefits over 12 months, you’ll have a total of 40 weeks of leave instead of just 35. As well, where families have opted for extended parental leave at 33% of earnings for 18 months, the second parent would be able to take up to 8 weeks of additional parental leave.
6. Canada Student Grants and Loans has expanded eligibility for part time students, as well as full and part time students with children, and introduced a three-year pilot project that will provide adults returning to school on a full-time basis after several years in the workforce with an additional $1,600 in grant money starting Aug 1, 2018.
7. A new Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women would give women in male-dominated trades fields $3,000 per year of training (or up to $6,000 over two years). Almost all Red Seal trades are eligible.
8. The government will invest $90.6 million over the next five years to combat tax avoidance.
9. The government is going to lower taxes on small businesses from 10.5% to 9% in 2019, while making sure the small business tax rate is not being used for personal advantage. Going forward, there is a $50,000 threshold on passive income held in corporations. When passive income reaches $150,000, a business owner will lose the Small Business Tax Rate. They’ll be taxed as a large corporation at that time. The government numbers show that it’s only the top one per cent of income tax filers whose corporations will be affected by the changes but this change will still reap a windfall for federal coffers. With recently announced changes to income sprinkling, the government expects to raise $925 million per year by 2022.
Who should worry about the passive income thresh holds? Anyone who has over $1 million in passive investments in their corporation because they will no longer receive the full benefit of the small business tax rate. (Note, this $1 million in passive investments is the accumulated value in your corporation.)
10. The CPP death benefit is now $2,500 for all eligible contributors (whereas before it was pro-rated.)
11. The Medical Expense Tax Credit is extended to psychiatric service dogs in order to help Canadians cope with conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is directly aimed at benefitting veterans and others in the disability community who rely on psychiatric service dogs.
12. The government will introduce legislation for the Pension for Life plan, which will include benefits to support Canada’s veterans. The benefit would recognize pain and suffering caused by a service-related disability up to a maximum amount of $2,650. Another option is income replacement for veterans who are facing barriers returning to work after military service at 90% of their pre-release salary. Pension For Life means that a 25-year-old retired Corporal who is 100% disabled would receive more than $5,800 in monthly support, a 50-year-old retired major who is 100% disabled, monthly support would be almost $9,000.
13. Cigarette taxes are going up again—from 54 cents to 60 cents per five cigarettes
14. As expected, there will be a tax on cannabis as well, which depends on whether the plant product is a seed, flower, trim or seedbag. In the meantime cannabis growers and manufacturers will be required to obtain a cannabis license from the CRA and remit the excise duty where applicable. Details to come at the time when non-medical marijuana becomes available for legal retail sale.
15. If you have a Health and Welfare Trust you need to convert it to an Employee Life and Health Trust by the end of 2020.