Old Age Security Eligibility

The Economic Action Plan puts the Old Age Security (OAS) program on a sustainable path by proposing legislation to raise the age of eligibility for OAS and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) benefits gradually from 65 to 67 starting in April 2023. This will be fully implemented by January 2029.

About the Initiative

The age of eligibility for OAS and GIS will be gradually increased from 65 to 67, starting in April 2023, with full implementation by January 2029. An 11-year notification period, followed by a 6-year phase-in period, is being provided to ensure that individuals have significant advance notification to plan their retirement and make adjustments.

Who Will Benefit

The changes announced in Economic Action Plan are necessary to ensure that the OAS program remains on a sustainable path. They will ensure OAS remains strong and is there for future generations when they need it, as it is for all seniors who currently receive these benefits.

Initiative Update

The legislation has passed, and the age change will start to take effect in April 2023.
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                                              2013 INCOME TAX DEADLINE

Well Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is pleased to report that all of its online systems have been restored to full service as of April 13, 2014. Individuals, businesses and representatives are now able to file returns, make payments, and access all other e-services available through the CRA’s website, including all our secure portals.

CRA was informed of an Internet security vulnerability named the Heartbleed Bug that had the potential to affect technology systems around the world. This represented a serious challenge for CRA, which has worked around the clock with Shared Services Canada to apply a “patch” or solution that addresses this vulnerability. Its effectiveness has been rigorously and successfully tested on CRA systems, resulting in restoration of our e-services.

The Minister of Revenue, Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay  said  "I would like to reiterate that interest and penalties will not be applied to individual taxpayers filing their 2013 tax returns after April 30, 2014 for a period equal to the length of the service interruption. This means individual tax returns for 2013 filed by May 5 will not incur interest or penalties."
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The Registered ...

The Registered Disability Savings Plan

The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), is a unique savings program that allows savings to grow in a tax-deferred environment and provides matching federal contributions of up to 300% annually. Canada is the first country in the world to have a RDSP, which helps those living with a disability and their families save for the future. An estimated 50,000 people across Canada will benefit from this initiative, and future impacts of the RDSP go well beyond a simple planning tool.

Although the RDSP is the most powerful financial tool for Canadians with disabilities and their families to secure stability for the future, the biggest challenge has been getting the information about to RDSP to the families that need it the most; it is Ascend Financial’s goal to inform families with disabilities about the RDSP in order to help create a good life and a strong financial future.

The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is a long-term savings plan to help Canadians with disabilities and their families save for the future.

Contributions to RDSPs may be supplemented by a Canada Disability Savings Grant and a Canada Disability Savings Bond.

The beneficiary of the RDSP is the person who will receive the money in the future.
The RDSP is delivered by: Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)
The Grant and Bond are delivered by: Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)

Eligibility Information

Any person who:

•is eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (disability amount);
•is a Canadian resident;
•is under 60 years of age (if 59, the individual must apply before the end of the calendar year in which he/she turns 59); and
•has a social insurance number.

If the person is a minor, their parent or legal representative may establish the RDSP for their benefit.

Additional information

The lifetime contribution limit for an RDSP is $200,000, with no annual limit. Anyone can contribute to the RDSP with the written permission of the plan holder.
Contributions are not tax-deductible and are not included in income when paid out of an RDSP.
Investment income earned in the plan accumulates tax-free. However, grants, bonds, and investment income earned in the plan are included in the beneficiary's income for tax purposes when paid out of the RDSP.
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Well as we star...

Well as we start a new year most people are starting to evaluate the year that just past. Considerations of how they will adjust will start to be become the focus.

Five tips to focus at work

When was the last time you were reading a draft and your phone buzzed? While writing your last email, were you distracted by an incoming email notification? How many times in the last week did a co-worker interrupt you mid-task? Be honest.

Office workers are interrupted (or self-interrupt) every three minutes, according to a recent study at the University of California. What is worse is it can take up to 23 minutes for a worker to return to the original task. No wonder it’s so hard to get work done. And while our ability to juggle work is necessary, multitasking is a weakness, not a strength. A 2009 study at Stanford University found that frequent multitaskers not only underperformed when compared to nonmultitaskers, they also used their brains less effectively when they focused on a single activity.

So how do we avoid all these evil attention seeking, unnecessary task and make sure we accomplish what we should be accomplishing on the day itself? Our minds are easily wavered and affected and it becomes extremely hard to realign your focus with goals at job task.

1. Work in small segments

It’s a scientific fact that our brains can only be attentive on a limited amount of information for a limited amount of time. Making sure the appropriate information in mind is the one that lines up with our duties at work is where the difficulty is. To lighten the load on your brain, it is better to segment your work into small manageable pieces. The idea is you do not want to spend an entire day working on one task non-stop. Breaking it up allows your brain to ‘breathe’ and it will reward you later with effective work.

2. Take a minute to reward yourself

It’s not really a bad thing to visit sites like Facebook, Meebo, or Twitter to get your social updates, but this should never be done especially when your work is not complete. What I tend to do is create a set of tasks that I need to complete before I can visit any of those sites or leave my desk. I will work awhile, complete a task, then reward myself with some time catching up with a friend. This strategy relies on sheer perseverance and strong will. If you cant stick to goals that you set try another one of these methods.

3. Find the right Music

As for me there is no way that I can push through an entire work day of coding or designing without the appropriate music to keep me motivated. For me its either intense techno or alternative music that sustains me throughout the day. I can be wrong about this but I believe its important that whatever genre you decide to listen to, to make sure its music that can be easily filtered out while keeping the work ethic at full throttle.

4. Try to be interested and passionate about your work.

Finally the best way to be productive is to truly enjoy and be passionate about what your working on. We go to great lengths and hours of work for things that interest us. Yet we lose focus instantaneously if what we are doing is not important. It might take sometime finding interest in the work you do, you might have to just think about the big picture or maybe focus on impressing those around you (possibly a boss) to stay on track.

5. Keep a low profile.

Often times co-workers simply want to stop by your office and tell you about their day. While this is usually a nice chance to keep up with each others lives, it can happen at an time that is inappropriate. When work deadlines become pressing, it is a good practice to schedule time in your calendar that prevents bookings. During those times set your phone to do not disturb and close your office door. This will allow you to complete the tasks at hand.
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Are Tough Times...

Are Tough Times Ahead?

All the economic indicators tell us that we are still looking at some tough trading times ahead.

In that regard, we have prepared a "Tough Times Business Checklist" which we hope you will find useful as you look at ways to keep your business successful in this environment.

Please review the ideas we have presented and talk to us about how we can help you with implementation. We have helped a number of clients recently to control their costs and maintain their revenue base.

What is really important is that you take steps now to make sure your business is "ship shape and Bristol fashion".

Please let me know how we can help.

Best regards

Trevor Gough, BComm, CGA
[Ascend Financial Certified General Accountant]

P.S. Take action now to preserve the health of your business

Tough Times Practice Management - Immediate Action Plan No Action Item Completed
1. Review your Budgets and set targets for 2014.
2. Get rid of can‟t pay/won‟t pay clients.
3. Bill out Work in progress on a daily basis.
4. Review debtors list and chase up overdue bills.
5. Offer existing debtors extended payment terms and/or discounts.
6. Establish a fee-funding facility (for example Premium Credit).
7. Make sure your invoices contain explicit payment terms.
8. Assign responsibility to one individual for billing and collections.
9. Agree extended payment terms with all suppliers in advance.
10. If appropriate, review banking facilities and discuss future needs.
11. Put extra effort into making sure your relationships with your better clients are solid.
12. Focus more on what your client's revised needs are.
13. Detail the services you can provide you clients during tough times 
14. Publicise to your clients that these services are available
15. Review and flow chart the main processes in your office (e.g. accounts and tax production) and challenge the need for each step.
16. Encourage team members to suggest ways to streamline and simplify processes (e.g. sit down and brainstorm about efficiencies and cost reduction).
17. Use „bottom up‟ budgeting where everyone in the office gives input on areas over which they have control – target a 10% cost saving.
18. Review your staffing needs over the next 12 months and make weak or unnecessary individuals redundant now.
19. Get your members of staff involved in a discussion of likely trading conditions and get their input on reducing costs and maintaining revenues.
20. Review your list of services and eliminate those that are unprofitable or not core services
21. Establish your key performance indicators (KPI‟s) and measure them on a daily basis (e.g. daily charge time –v- budget)
22. Review efficiency of office processes and consider alternatives such as outsourcing certain activities locally or overseas.
23. Pull everyone together and explain firm‟s strategy and get their buy-in.
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