By Rob Carrick
There's a federal budget coming Tuesday and it will be watched closely to see how the Liberals deliver on their election promises. On Thursday, they pledged to restore Old Age Security eligibility back to 65. For young families, there's the Canada Child Tax Benefit, which was a key part of the party's platform in the election last fall. This program replaces the Enhanced Universal Child Care Benefit, which parents will have to account for on their 2015 tax returns. A tax expert looks here at how reporting enhanced UCCB benefits may, in combination with another tax change, result in parents paying more tax than they expected, or getting less of a refund.
Here's a calculator the Liberals have used to show how much people will benefit under the Canada Child Tax Benefit.
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Rob's top web links
How to fly for free
> This infographic guides you through the various travel rewards credit cards to help you find the one best suited to your needs. Now for a discussion of how you can diversify your credit card reward programs to protect against changes like a devaluation of points.
Do you really need car rental insurance?
> The author of this article ended up with a repair bill of more than $1,500 (U.S.) after his rental car suffered two flat tires. Here's another take on navigating the car rental agreement.
Don't be a bad tipper
> A former waiter guides you through the issue of appropriate tipping.
A free e-book on women and money
> Three women in the financial field teamed up to write this book on investing and financial planning, which you can download here. It was written to help promote an online advisory firm.
How negative interest rates warp our minds
> Japan introduced negative rates in January and one result is that sales of safes have risen sharply. Negative rates – essentially, putting a cost on holding cash – is supposed to convince companies and individuals to spend. In Japan, people are hoarding cash.
Cancer and your finances
> Survey results from people diagnosed with cancer about how well their benefit plans at work covered their treatment costs. The cost of prescriptions seems to be an issue.
Today's featured investment tool
Here's a worksheet to help you work through the costs of staying in a long-term care facility if you suffer a serious illness or can no longer look after yourself.
The question: "Which tax program do you think is best?"
My reply: There was a time when there were only a few tax software programs, and I was able to test them all. Today, there are more than a dozen if you include all the products offered online and through stores. As a result, I'll have to draw upon reader feedback to answer this question. TurboTax and UFile both have their fans, and I've heard good things about a pay-what-you-want product called SimpleTax and a freebie called StudioTax. A recent column I wrote on tax software may be helpful.
Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Questions and answers are edited for length.
These are the TFSA rules for Canadians living outside the country.
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