Living Out Allowance (Contractors ONLY)

If you work in the Oil and Gas industry you have undoubtably heard of Living out Allowance (LOA).  This blog is dedicated to contractors only.  The purpose of LOA is to help with costs associated with working away from home.  Typically a contactor will add the LOA to their invoices, or it is automatically included as part of their hourly charge out rate.  Because you are charging "extra" for LOA you are able to deduct the expenses.

CRA - Your rights during an Audit

Getting audited by the CRA is normal.  Having to produce documents to support your taxes is normal.  Getting unfairly treated by the CRA is NOT!

Tax Scams and the CRA

In an effort to inform everyone out there I am writing to explain how the CRA works so you will not be caught off guard or scammed by the scammers.  If you owe the CRA money and it is NOT under appeal.


  • Send you an Assessment or RE-Assessment via snail mail

  • Send you letters directly

  • Call you directly

  • Know your name and will be clear about it (no mumbling, fumbling, or ambiguity)

  • Try to garnishee your bank account

Good Records Beat the CRA

I have always said that good record keeping is important.  In addition, organizing your affairs properly can legally save you tax.  The key to any good tax strategy is to understand the process then to make sure that your actions and accounting records reflect what it is you want to do.  For instance, if you want your income to be taxed in a corporation then you must have your income go directly through your corporation’s bank account.  It is also a good idea to have any relevant contracts made out in the corporation’s name.  In short, as stated above, your actions MUST reflect your intent,

Home Based Businesses

There are many ways and reasons to operate a business.  The easiest way is to run a proprietor business out of your home.  It is easy because all you need is an idea and a space and you are good to go.  In comparison getting an incorporated business going requires more money and is way more complex.  The book keeping and accounting are more complex and way more expensive for incorporated businesses.

Tax Schemes - More things you should know

As most of you know by now I used to work for the CRA.  You should also know I still have lots of friends and acquaintances who still work for the CRA.  I had the misfortune of having to deal with one of these friends in a professional manner recently and need to warn you.  Now before I get too far you need to understand that while I may have friends at CRA that DOES NOT mean I get special favors or treatment.  In fact I would say that it is exactly the opposite.  People I know will go out of their way to ensure that there cannot ever be any accusations of wrong doin

Employment Insurance - What You Should Know

Employment Insurance is not really a tax subject but I thought that I should address something I recently learned.  Everyone assumes (we know what happens when you ass-u-me) that if you have been working and you get let go that you will qualify for benefits.  Well guess what?  There are all sorts of rules and conditions that must be met in order for you to qualify for and collect benefits.  I suggest visiting the Service Canada website or going to an office to get all the information specific to your situation.  That said here are some things that I feel you must be made aw

Pick Your Battles

I am sure that you will agree with me when I tell you that I don’t want to give the CRA (or anyone else) more money than I have to.  I also don’t want to pay someone if I don’t actually owe them.  That said you have to pick your battles.

Tax Deductions – It’s up to you

Every so often I get phone calls or emails (usually around the time I am preparing a tax return) stating that “I need as many write-offs as possible”.  Understandable, but WRONG.  Tax deductions do not change.  The personal tax return has not changed significantly in over a decade (10 years for you youngsters out there).  I would also like to say that I can’t just make stuff up or manufacture deductions.

Net Worth Audits - How to Beat Them

As regular readers will know I worked for the CRA for many years in all different capacities of audit.  As a result I am able to tell you how you can respond when CRA come and do audits.  Specifically I want to address how to beat a Net Worth Audit.  Before we get too far I want to clarify my last statement.  I am talking about when the CRA make bad choices, inaccurate assumptions, or mistakes.  If you are deliberately cheating or screwing the system and get caught there is nothing I nor anyone else can do to help you.  In my last blog I mention that the CRA will use a net worth approach wh


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