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Non-resident eligibility of child tax benefits and GST/HST rebate

Non-residents - Child Tax Benefits

Non-residents – Child Tax Benefits

Tracking Canadians emigrating to other parts of the word has become a serious challenge for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Over the past several years the CRA has begun targeting non-residents claiming child tax benefits and GST/HST rebates. This has created confusion among taxpayers in determine if they qualify for these benefits while they are residents/non-residents. Although a taxpayer files tax returns as a resident, they still may not be eligible for the child tax benefits and GST/HST.

This is exactly what happened with a Calgary family living in China for the past several years and filing tax returns as residents. Although the tax returns were accepted by the CRA, they have still assessed the family with $18,000 tax bill for child tax benefits and gst/hst rebates for which the CRA claims they did not qualify for.

 

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What is a professional corporation?

Professional Corporation

Professional Corporation

What is a professional corporation? 

A professional corporation operates much like a business corporation with few exceptions. A professional corporation has to abide by the regulations set by the Business Corporations Act (Ontario) and by the respective governing body. A professional corporation  can-only carry on activities of its profession. A professional corporation must meet the requirements of its governing body and receive a Certificate of Authorization or equivalent.

Many professionals are allowed to operate their business as a professional corporation.  Examples of professions that can operate under a professional corporation:

 Accountants  Lawyers  Medical professionals
 Engineers  Architects  Social Workers
 Veterinarians  Pharmacists  Chiropractors

Historically professionals have operated through a sole proprietorship or partnership which limits tax planning  and results in higher taxes (see “How to setup a business in Ontario” for more in depth discussion). Professionals have lobbied the provincial governments which have allowed them to incorporate their practices.

Does a professional corporation have limited liability? 

In “How to setup a business in Ontario” we discussed that a corporation is a separate legal entity and it has limited liability. A professional corporation is slightly different and does NOT have full limited liability (exception for architects and engineers). A professional corporation only offers limited liability in certain areas. When it comes to business debts, the shareholder is only liable up to his or her investment in the business.  However, in other circumstances such as malpractice, the corporate veil is lifted resulting in unlimited liability.

 

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