Business beat: Tax tips for Revelstokians

Gordon Frocklage from H&R Block goes over some common tax credits he says many people miss out on

Gordon Frocklage has owned H&R Block in Revelstoke for 23 years.

Spring has arrived in Revelstoke, and taxes are due. The ins and outs of filing tax returns can be complex, and mistakes are easily made. Gordon Frocklage from H&R Block wants to help by advising people about the four most common issues he sees at tax time.

Frocklage has owned H&R Block’s Revelstoke office for 23 years. Before he settled here, he was a “fixer” for the company, being sent to problematic offices to straighten them out, overseeing an area from the Washington border north to Williams Lake and east to the Alberta border.

“The most common thing I see is people missing out on the new (home) buyers plan,” Frocklage explains. “If you are a first time buyer, you are entitled to $750 back.”

While it might sound like a drop in the bucket compared to your mortgage, that $750 can help cover the cost of unexpected repairs, help with renovations, be a mini vacation, your ski pass or be squirrelled away.

Second on the list is concerning young people who don’t file taxes but do have part time jobs and get T4’s from their employers.

“I mean the sixteen and up crowd here,” Frocklage elaborates. He explains that they should file taxes because the BC Medical Service Plan (MSP) begins to charge a monthly minimum once you turn 19.

“The government assumes you are making $100,000 a year unless you tell them otherwise. This means if you’ve never filed taxes before, you’re paying the highest monthly amount. If you have shown in past years to be making very little, your MSP coverage is free,” he says.

The past year has seen the MSP crack down on those not paying through various methods, including having their fee garnished from your pay check.

To encourage youth to file, H&R Block offers a program where the first year tax return is free, the second year is half price and then the third year regular price. “By the third year I figure they are 18 or 19,” Frocklage laughs. “So it’s ‘welcome to the real world’.”

The third piece of tax advice involves tuition. “A lot of young people don’t claim tuition because they don’t have an income to deduct it from. But you can carry your tuition forward for 10 years until it’s a suitable time to claim it,” Frocklage explains. “So if someone paid $10,000 in tuition in 2008 and is now in 2016 making good money, they can claim the tuition against their income, which helps them get a larger tax return.”

For any graduated university or college students out there, your student loan interest can also be claimed. “Keep all your paperwork in case you need it down the road,” Frocklage recommends.

His final suggestion concerns trade apprentices. “There are federal grants available for $1,000 in the first two years and after that there are tax credits up to $2,000,” he explains. A lot of apprentices in trade school are not kept informed about the benefits available to them when it comes to tax time.

There are many challenges involved in filing taxes to ensure you get the best refund possible, so why not check out one of the number of excellent bookkeepers, accountants and tax professionals in town? They are all willing and able to help you get the best return you can.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Liam’s Lowdown: Revy, drive safe

And clear the snow off your car

Rain for Revelstoke

Highway 1 closure until 2 p.m.

Nearly 12,000 children living in poverty throughout Okanagan: report

BC Child Poverty Report Card includes stats for Central and North Okanagan, Okanagan-Similkameen

Kelowna grandmother scammed of $14,000 in phone scam

RCMP warn of Grandparent Scam in the Okanagan after December incident

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Campfires no longer permitted at Kelowna scout camp

City of Kelowna said they rejected Camp Dunlop’s fire permit due to stricter bylaws

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Okanagan team leads animal rescue efforts in Australia

Brad Pattison’s team arrived in Sydney on Monday

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Melted snow uncovers problematic potholes in Vernon

Temperature swings, precipitation behind cracked pavement, city says

Most Read