Monday, 23 March 2015

Ahead of the Game: Tax Debt Relief Before the Tax Deadline

The deadline for filing your 2014 tax return is fast approaching, and that means getting all of your ducks in a row to be able to meet those tax obligations that often arise once your assessment is returned to you. For those who know they won’t owe, this time of year represents just an added bit of necessary hassle – but for those individuals who either already owe a tax debt, or know that one is looming, this time represents significantly more stress.

If you are in the latter group, avoiding the issue is never a good idea. If you owe the CRA money, they will try their very best to get it – as soon as possible. This might mean leveraging various enforcement actions against you, including wage garnishments, frozen bank accounts or even property liens. Pretending the problem doesn’t exist isn’t going to make it go away.

Here are some options to consider for tax debt relief that may be beneficial:

Negotiate with CRA
  • As mentioned, when the CRA is owed money, they will try their best to get it. Calling to negotiate with an agent might work as far as getting a payment plan in place – but there are number of things to be careful with when it comes to this option.
    • The CRA isn’t interested in your financial situation, and if you don’t have the extra income to pay the debt they are still going to attempt to get the maximum amount possible.
    • Miss one payment and they will leverage those above mentioned enforcement actions almost immediately.
    • Once you’ve called the CRA and tried to negotiate a payment plan, the CRA will be aware of all of your personal information – including your banking information – making self-protection almost impossible.
  • This option is usually one that is best accomplished by having an expert act on your behalf and not by acting on your own.
Consumer Proposal or Bankruptcy
  • If your tax debt is substantial, both of these options can offer a significant amount of tax debt relief. Either one might offer the benefit of a reduced debt and/or interest, and can ensure that your monthly payments are set at an amount that you can handle.
  • Neither of these options can be achieved on your own – as legal processes, both need to be conducted by a trustee in bankruptcy, someone with the knowledge and experience conducting these forms of debt relief. Just make sure to get the advice or assistance of a debt consultant first to represent you through the entire process.
Debt Consolidation
  • Need to free up some money to be able to meet those tax debts head on? A debt consolidation may be the answer. This is also something to be considered when consulting a debt specialist.
For many Canadians, this time of year is one that leads many to think about tax debt relief and how to obtain it. DebtCare Canada can help. Call us today at 1-888-890-0888.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Canadian Household Debt – How Do You Stack Up?

Earlier in February, the McKinsey Global Institute released a report regarding debt and global economies, and after surveying 47 countries, listed seven with ‘potential vulnerabilities’ when it comes to household debt. Among these seven is Canada, and the report argues that this Canadian household debt could prove disastrous, leading to further financial instability and a consumer spending slowdown.

A recent Globe and Mail article touched on this report, stating that “As Canada’s economy begins to slow, the country’s growing household debt burden is raising new concerns as it outpaces that of most developed countries. In fact, Canada had the second-biggest jump in household debt-to-income ratios of any country other than Greece between 2007 and the second quarter of 2014.”

You can view the entire report here.

For many Canadians, this report likely does not come as a shock - a vast majority carry consumer debt loads that are significant. Canadian household debt has become a major source of stress for many individuals and families alike, leading either to a cut in consumer spending (which the report suggested as a potential outcome), placing some financial responsibilities before others, or both.

If you find yourself in the Canadian household debt camp that is not so much swimming as treading water, it might be time to consider some alternatives. A debt consolidation, consumer proposal or bankruptcy can be a lifesaver when it comes to getting your finances back on track and eliminating financial stress from your life.

Tired of being part of these startling statistics? DebtCare can help. Call us today to find out about the options available to help lower your consumer and household debt: 1-888-890-0888.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Tax Time is Upon Us: Are You Afraid You’ll End Up Owing Money to CRA?

It is that time of year again; soon the tax man will be knocking at the door asking for your 2014 assessment. If you know that your taxes are all in order and are expecting a refund, that is great! However, if you are in the opposite camp, and are afraid that once those taxes are filed you are going to end up owing money to CRA, you might be a bit worried.

Tax debt is really scary, and for good reason. Unlike other creditors, CRA does not need a court order to freeze your bank account or send a wage garnishment letter to your employer. Not only do these things impact your personal life, they can also begin to impact your professional life. This is not a good situation to be in!

So, what can you do when you know that, upon receiving your assessment, there will be a balance owing at the bottom of the document?

  1. Think filing late in order to give yourself time to get your finances in order will do the trick? Think again. CRA applies a late filing penalty to every month you miss (5% of your 2014 balance owing, plus 1% of your balance owing for each full month your return is late, to a maximum of 12 months). This doubles if you also filed late last year or in one of the preceding years.
  2. If you have the means to pay off the debt in its entirety, do so as soon as possible. This might mean using some available credit or dipping into your savings, but since the debt is not interest free and CRA is unforgiving when payments are missed, this is by far your best option.
  3. If you don’t have the ability to pay off the debt, consider a consumer proposal. Filed by a registered trustee in bankruptcy, a consumer proposal, once accepted, can stop interest, consolidate all debts (not just the tax debt) into one monthly payment, and in some cases can even bring your total debt down. But there are pitfalls, and to avoid them this should not be entered into without meeting with a debt consultant to give you independent advice prior to filing your proposal.

Ignoring a tax debt in the hopes that it will go away is not a good idea. All this approach will garner is a higher amount owing once penalties and interest have been added. Don’t ignore the debt – deal with it.

For more about what to do when you end up owing money to CRA, or any other debts, please contact DebtCare Canada today by calling 1-888-890-0888.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Step into Spring with a Smile: Realistic Ways to Get Rid of Credit Card Debt

Is your credit card debt making it hard to get to sleep at night? Are you finding it hard to focus on daily tasks because of the stress? Are collection agencies calling you or your family members in an attempt to obtain what you owe? Are you avoiding opening bills that you know you can’t pay?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, don’t worry, you are not alone. Thousands of Canadians struggle with this financial problem on a regular basis. The ease with which credit companies extend credit and the high interest rates have made credit card debt a national problem, one that continues to plague the average Canadian no matter their income or financial status.

Does this mean that you have to continue to struggle to make those monthly payments or combat the stress? No – there are ways to get rid of credit card debt and stop the calls and finally get a good night’s sleep.
  • Firstly, stop using those cards. Right now! Remove the cards from your wallet to help resist the temptation.
  • Secondly, assess your debt. Make a list of the credit cards, the amounts you owe, and the monthly payments. Follow this up with a monthly budget, including everything you spend money on and all income. Once you’ve done this, establish what expenditures can be cut – and cut them.
  • Attack your debt. Once you’ve cut your spending, start applying that extra income to your current debt load. Make sure that you are making at least the monthly minimum payment on each card, and apply any additional savings to the balances owed.
If this doesn’t seem like a realistic approach for the amount of debt you are currently carrying, or if making minimum payments has become almost impossible, some more serious methods may need to be considered. If this is your current situation, our best advice is to speak with an experienced debt specialist right away. Getting rid of your credit card debt might mean a debt consolidation, consumer proposal or bankruptcy – all of which are complex and come with a number of great benefits.

Stop ignoring those phone calls and throwing away those bills. Deal with your credit card debt and eliminate that stress.

For more about getting rid of credit card debt that seems to be holding you back please call DebtCare Canada today at 1-888-890-0888.