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Things are a’happening!

Happy belated New Year!  I hope that your holiday season (although it may now seem long forgotten) was a refreshing and wonderful time for you and your families.

For me, the holiday season was a great time to reconnect with family (sometimes too much family!), to rejoice about the wonderful world we live in and feel thankful for all the tremendous blessings that have been bestowed upon us.  In addition, I often use the time to try to see what future career aspirations my young children have and specifically to see if they’re interested in following in Dad’s tax footsteps.  At times, especially while we’re driving and taxiing our kids to skiing or to other sporting events, I’ll ask them what they want to do with their lives.  I’ll throw out questions such as “do you want to be a tax lawyer or a tax accountant?” The common response is “no way Dad!!!”

I guess my kids don’t yet see the benefits of sleeping with the Income Tax Act

Notwithstanding that my children might think my career is not dynamic, hopefully they will soon learn that the tax advisory profession is a constant and fun challenge to keep current so as to provide such fresh knowledge to our wonderful clients.  Some of the more exciting updates are as follows:

US Estate Tax

Unexpectedly, the US Estate Tax does not exist as of January 1, 2010.  For many US tax practitioners, the scheduled 2010 elimination of the US Estate Tax was not expected to see the light of day since most thought that the US law-makers would bring in temporary fixes or perhaps a permanent fix to keep the US Estate Tax in existence for 2010.   However, that did not happen and, as I write, there is no US Estate Tax for those who die in 2010.  Most people believe that US law-makers will make some form of retroactive fix for 2010 so as to bring back the US Estate Tax for 2010 deaths.  However, there is no shortage of discussion as to whether such a retroactive fix would be constitutional.  See a news article and a blog for some examples of some of the web chatter on this topic.

Bill 53 – Professional Corporation – Still not proclaimed

As our blog entries of November 26, 2009 and October 27, 2009 discussed, there are new opportunities for introducing family members into the shareholdings of Alberta professional corporations.  However, such legislation (although it has received Royal Assent) has not yet been proclaimed into effect.  As our blog entries discussed, there are significant problems with this legislation.  Our office has been in contact with the Alberta Minister of Finance with respect to such issues and I had hoped to have a meeting with the Minister to further discuss such matters.  However, the Minister who I had been chatting with has recently been replaced by a new Minister and therefore our office will try to reach out to the new Minister to discuss our concerns.

2010 Federal Budget

Although Parliament is not in session until early March, the Federal Government has announced that it will release its 2010 budget in early March.  There is much speculation as to what the Federal Budget will contain given the grab bag of goodies that the budget contained last year.  Will we see an extension of the home renovation tax credit? Will corporate tax rates continue to decline as scheduled? Will personal tax rates continue to be static or, given the need for revenues, will we see some form of tax increase?  I guess we will have to wait and see….

UBS affair

As our blog entries of August 25, 2009 and September 8, 2009 discussed, the US Government continues to pursue people who have evaded taxes using secret bank accounts in offshore jurisdictions.  Canada is also making movement on this area.  This topic has been getting wide main stream media coverage (see a recent television video on this subject).  The end of this issue is not near.  The US Government continues to prosecute people.  Canada will likely do the same.  Accordingly, taxpayers who have not properly disclosed foreign bank accounts, or who have not reported the income from these accounts should immediately seek tax and legal advice.

New US tax advisory service

As many readers know, our firm is a Canadian tax advisory boutique where we limit our practice to tax advice to private clients and to their advisors.  Earlier this week we were excited to announce the addition of Ryan T. Carey, a US tax lawyer and US CPA.  Ryan and his team of US tax advisors would be pleased to discuss US cross-border tax matters and solutions with you.

See our services description for more information on this exciting new addition to Moodys LLP.

Economic conditions improving

Overall, our firm is pleased to report that our activity levels are significant which, in my opinion, is great evidence that the local economic conditions are improving. Memories of the recession and the suddenness of it are still fresh and therefore we are not relishing in the up-tick in the economy quite yet. However, we are pleased to see that our clients are experiencing improved conditions.  This means that many clients should continue to plan their tax affairs proactively.

So, that’s it for now… As you can see, I’ll be chatting with my kids tonight about how exciting the tax advisory profession is!  I’m sure they will finally understand what I mean.