What’s your mortgage rate? Back in 2011 when I bought my townhouse, my mortgage rate of 3.74% (5-year fixed) was considered extremely good. Now? Not so much. I’ve run the numbers, and refinancing doesn’t work for me, but people looking to enter the housing market (like a few of my friends) can now get rates much lower than that.
In fact, KANETIX.ca is offering a Spring Mortgage Rate Special, offering customers a super low interest rate of 2.75% on a 5-year fixed! And to top it off, they’re offering homebuyers who secure a mortgage rate online a chance to win $5,000. Not only are KANETIX customers automatically entered to win the $5,000 prize, but they can also gain entries by connecting with KANETIX and sharing the contest via social media. If you’re the lucky one that wins, that’s a pretty significant chunk of change that you can dump onto your mortgage, or do a few renovations around the new home. :)
Until April 19th, customers in Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, and Newfoundland are eligible for a chance at the $5,000 prize. Sorry British Columbians. :) For more information on the Kanetix mortgage $5,000 giveaway, click here.
KANETIX was one of Canada’s first online insurance marketplaces, and provides over a million quotes per year to customers looking to compare mortgages and and credit cards. Launched in the fall of 2012, the KANETIX online mortgage rates comparison service allows shoppers to secure rates online in minutes, without actually having to complete a full mortgage application – which I think is pretty cool. Customers will then have the option to complete the mortgage pre-approval process online, or through a licensed mortgage broker over the phone.
Note: this guest post and contest is sponsored by my friends over at H&R Block. I’ve been filing my taxes as a freelancer with H&R Block for the past few years, and I can say from first-hand experience, it’s been a really simple process.
It is becoming more common to hear Canadians say “I am freelancing.” It may not offer job security but it can deliver flexible hours, a chance to work on multiple projects and, more importantly, the opportunity to be your own boss.
But earning income as a freelancer does mean more paperwork at tax time, since no one will be sending you a T4 slip. And trying to piece together receipts a year later is not recommended. If you are getting ready to take the leap into freelancing, here are some tips to make your tax return easier:
- Every business receipt means less tax paid: Your business expenses are deducted from your business income. The more expenses you record, the less income on which you have to pay tax. Forgetting or losing receipts on a regular basis will impact your tax bill, so get receipts.
- Your home office expenses may not total as much as you think: If you have an exclusive-use area for your office in your house or apartment, you can claim a portion of expenses like rent or mortgage interest, insurance, utilities and property tax. So if you use 10 per cent of your home as an office, you claim 10 per cent of the costs. For example, if you pay $1,000 a month for your apartment, you can claim $100 a month as a business expense.
- Be reasonable: Claiming 90 per cent of your house as an office will most likely lead to a review of your return. You are allowed to claim reasonable expenses you incurred to earn your income.
- Single connections: If you only have one internet connection or phone line into your home, you cannot claim the whole cost as a business expense. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) expects you to have some personal use of a single connection, so you may claim the percentage used for business purposes. If you have an exclusive-use business phone line or internet connection, then you can claim the entire bill.
- No withheld tax, so expect to pay: How much you pay will depend on what other types of income and deductions you have. However, as a general rule of thumb, self-employed Canadians should save 30 to 40 per cent of their income for tax purposes. Do not expect your business expenses to eliminate your tax bill.
- CPP payments: If you earn more than $3,500 in the year, you will pay both the employer and employee portions of your CPP premiums.
- EI is an option: The government introduced an Employment Insurance (EI) program for self-employed Canadians but you have to register for it. And once you are in, you cannot opt out, so make sure you understand what you are getting yourself into.
- Record your mileage: Contrary to popular belief, there is no flat rate mileage amount for self-employed taxpayers. You need to a keep a logbook to track your business kilometres. Based on the percentage driven for work, you can claim a portion of your gas, insurance, maintenance and registration as a business expense. There is a simplified logbook option but you have to have kept a logbook for at least one year before you can use this option.
- Know how to calculate the GST/HST: If your total revenues from taxable supplies are more than $30,000, you will need to register, collect and remit GST.. You are allowed to claim the GST and HST you paid on your business expenses as Input Tax Credits (ITCs). These ITCs then reduce the amount you remit.
- Don’t wait to start bookkeeping: Freelancing can be a scary prospect so it can be tempting to think you will spend money on bookkeeping once you get a few more clients. Even if you just keep a simple spreadsheet, you need to have a system set-up from the day you start working for yourself. Trying to sort out 12 months of receipts as the tax deadline looms will increase your chances of making an error or omission.
You will report your business income and expenses as part of your personal tax return by using Form T2125, Statement of Business Activities. You do not need to attach your receipts to the form but you should keep your records for seven years in case the CRA reviews your return. Without proof of the expense, the CRA will disallow the deduction, so every piece of paper counts.
Here is your chance to win 1 of 3 copies of H&R Block’s Online Tax Software!
- You MUST use Rafflecopter to record all of your entries.
- I am giving away three (3) codes to file your taxes online with H&R Block. Each person who enters is only eligible to win one (1) prize.
- Only open to Canadians.
- Contest closes March 21, 2013.
ENTER NOW WITH RAFFLECOPTER!
Recently I had a chance to take a look at the Canadian Wealth Advisor newsletter – an 8-page monthly newsletter published by Pat McKeough, a well-known portfolio manager, and an expert in stock picking and safe investing.
Throughout my twenties, my focus was on getting out of debt, establishing my career, traveling, and saving money. Now that I’m about to enter my thirties, I need to start educating myself on how to be a smart investor. Now, I’m not talking about trying to make a fortune… but I do want to learn how to invest my money beyond mutual funds (which is all that I have been investing in). My main concern is that I want to see my money grow, but I don’t do well with high risk.
Why subscribe to the Canadian Wealth Advisor
I really like how Pat McKeough is trusted by so many big names in the Canadian financial scene:
“McKeough has quietly emerged as one of the top investment letter editors on the continent.” —CBS MarketWatch
“Most investment newsletters fail to beat the market. But Pat McKeough is one of only four investment newsletter advisors who have made big profits for their clients over the long haul.” —The Wall Street Journal
When you subscribe to the Canadian Wealth Advisor newsletter, you will gain inside knowledge on how you can:
- Discover the best ways to make the most of your Tax Free Savings Account, and put yourself in the best position to profit if the Conservative majority government follows through on its promise to double the TFSA contribution limit.
- Safely generate a rising monthly income without investing in bonds with hidden risks.
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- Enjoy significant returns in both bull and bear markets, with far less volatility than the overall market.
- Invest in the conservative dividend-paying stocks that are likely to give you the most reliable combination of income and capital gains.
Your subscription to the Canadian Wealth Advisor will be delivered monthly (12x/year), and I think one of the most valuable benefits of subscribing is gaining access to all of the back issues of the newsletter.
Special deal for GMBMFB readers
I know a lot of you are in the same boat as me – wanting to learn more about investing, but can’t afford a financial advisor, and don’t have a lot of time to scour the internet to learn more information.
That’s why I’m super happy to say that Pat McKeough has offered to let you try the Canadian Wealth Advisor FREE FOR A MONTH. If you want to stay on past that one month, you will only pay $14.75 every 3 months – that’s less than $5 per newsletter, and a savings of $60 off the regular annual subscription price of $119.
If you want to check out the Canadian Wealth Advisor newsletter free for a month, click on this link to sign up! :)