By Sheryl Smolkin
Canadians have spoken. Canada has a new Prime Minister and a new first family. While the moving trucks have not been booked yet, Justin, Sophie, Ella-Grace, Xavier and Hadrien will be the second generation of Trudeaus to live at 24 Sussex Drive.
Since the election, the financial press has gone into overdrive analyzing what the new government will mean for your bottom line and urging the new government to either act quickly or step back from key election promises.
Here are some of the post-election stories I found interesting:
The MoneySense staff posted What a Liberal majority means for you on election day shortly after a Liberal majority was announced. One of Trudeau’s well-publicized campaign promises was to cut the annual Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) contribution limit from $10,000 back to $5,500. A recent MoneySense analysis found high-income individuals stand to lose an estimated $53,000 over 30 years, assuming 5% equity returns and a combined federal and provincial tax rate of 50% under the Liberal plan.
In the Globe and Mail, Rob Carrick considered some potential TFSA avenues the Liberals could take. He quoted Mark Goodfield, a partner at BDO Canada LLP, who believes the Liberals may announce before year’s end that the cumulative TFSA limit starting next year will be $42,000. That would factor in the $5,000 limit from 2009 through 2012, the $5,500 limit for 2013 and 2014 and $5,500 limits for 2015 and 2016. According to Carrick, Goodfield believes the government will make the current $10,000 limit for this year a moot point, by limiting people who contributed $10,000 this year to just $1,000 in 2016, which would effectively be $5,500 a year for 2015 and 2016.
How the election affects your savings by Adam Mayers at the Toronto Star reports on both the Liberal commitment to expand the Canada Pension Plan and the proposed TFSA rollback. He says, “We can be hopeful about CPP expansion, but don’t expect it for a while. In the meantime, the Ontario plan will go ahead, with the best outcome being that it’s folded into an improved CPP at a later date.” Mayers also believes TFSA rules are unlikely to change before the new year, so if you have the money to use the $10,000 limit, he says do it now.
The non-profit Working Canadians group headed by Catherine Swift (formerly chair of the Canadian Federation for Independent Business) says cutting the TFSA limit is unfair when our tax dollars pay for gold-plated public pensions, Jonathan Chevreau reports in the Financial Post. Chevreau points out affluent baby boomers and seniors have hundreds of thousands of dollars ready to convert to TFSAs and he agrees with Swift that leaving the TFSA limit where it currently stands at $10,000 is the least the feds can do to enable 80% of Canadians to put away some funds for their own proper retirement.
In addition to discussing the TFSA rollback, Your Finances and the Canadian Federal Election by Dan Wesley (Our Big Fat Wallet) explains how other campaign promises could impact families, homeowners and students. For example:
- The Universal Child Care Benefit will be replaced by the Canada Child Benefit. The biggest difference? The new benefit is tied to income and is tax-free.
- The Liberals have quietly announced they would eliminate textbook tax credits for students ($520/year). But it’s not all bad news for students. Students won’t have to start paying back their loans until they begin earning $25,000 per year (or more).
- One of the bigger changes announced is that it will be easier to access the Home Buyers Plan which allows a first time home buyer to borrow up to $25,000 (tax free) from his/her RRSP. Borrowers have 15 years to pay it back and it can be used more than once in a lifetime. Under the new rules, those going through life changes (such as divorce) will be able to access the home buyers plan to buy a second home.
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