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

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

The site plan for the Stoked Living development on Hay Rd. (Stoked Living)
Rental housing agreement approved for Hay Rd. project

Stoked Living development guarantees 10 rental units for 12 years

Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services. (File)
UPDATE: RCMP say fire at Rivers Edge suspicious

Second fire in less than a week in Revelstoke contained to one unit

Remembrance Day in Revelstoke, Nov. 11, 2019. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke Remembrance Day celebrations different during pandemic

The Legion is asking you to stay home as a limit of 100 people are allowed at the ceremony

A municipal election is likely coming up in January. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)
City takes steps to host byelection by end of January

A ministerial order is required to temporarily change the Election Bylaw

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

In May 2019, Brennan Joel Metlewsky and Jordan Robert Kupser were charged with attempted murder, robbery and aggravated assault stemming from an incident that took place in Vernon in 2017. (Facebook photo)
Attempted murder charges dropped for pair accused in Vernon stabbing

Brennan Metlewsky and Jordan Kupser will appear in Supreme Court to set a new trial date

Eric Termuende and the Emily Dahl Foundation are presenting a virtual ‘fireside conversation’ on modern happiness from the stage of the Powerhouse Theatre in Vernon Nov. 3, 2020, at 7 p.m. (YouTube)
Mental health advocate joins happiness chat in North Okanagan

Versed public speaker teams up with Emily Dahl Foundation to equip virtual guests with tools to live a happier life

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A boat moored at Turtle Bay Marina was reported stolen Oct. 1 and remains under investigation. (Contributed)
North Okanagan crimes remain unsolved

Boat stolen from marina, theft of siding and vehicle break and enter

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Most Read