Category Archives: Uncategorized

Giving Guidance About The CRA Taxpayer Relief Program

When an income tax return is filed late and the CRA assesses what is owed, or a previously filed return is re-assessed and new monies are owed, the CRA will add interest and penalties to the amount of the tax debt that an individual owes, which may substantially increase the amount of that debt. In this situation, Taxpayer relief is an important option that may help those clients who find themselves with tax debt.

Taxpayer relief is a formal program offered by the Canada Revenue Agency where they agree to cancel all or part of the interest and penalties. Individuals can qualify for one of the following reasons:

  1. A natural disaster, for example, misstated expenses resulting in an inaccurate return filing because a basement flooded and all receipts were destroyed.
  2. Extreme financial hardship
  3. A documented personal issue like a medical problem or death in the family
  4. An error on the part of the CRA

The Taxpayer relief program is a long and complicated process and very few applications under this program are granted. Furthermore, the CRA will not reduce the principal tax debt owed. However, it is an important option that can reduce interest and penalties.

Prior to making an application, it is important to determine whether or not the initial debt is payable, and if not, your client may need some advice on where to turn in order to reduce the debt and to make it more manageable, regardless of whether or not they receive interest and penalty relief under the program.

For more information about the Taxpayer relief program in Canada and how your clients may benefit from it, please contact me by emailing kgoldenberg@debtcare.ca, call me at 416-907-2582 ext 2587 or visit www.debtcareservices.ca.

Learning the Difference between Debt Consulting and Debt Reduction Companies

At DebtCare we applaud the FCAC (Canadian Government consumer agency) for finally taking a stand against debt reduction companies in a recent consumer alert.

If your client goes to a debt reduction company for help, he could find himself in a worse financial position than where he started. The debt reduction companies’ model is to accept hundreds to thousands of dollars per/month from your clients over a period of years with the promise that in the future they will make settlements with your clients’ creditors.

They advertise aggressively to lure clients in but they cannot ensure they will get multiple creditors to agree on a debt settlement in the future.

Debt consultants, credit counselling companies and bankruptcy trustees all offer access to programs where the money that your client pays into the program is immediately distributed amongst your client’s creditors. With each payment funds are distributed amongst the creditors in accordance with federal legislation (for example, a consumer proposal). Debt reduction companies can NOT offer immediate debt relief from creditors as their programs cannot legally protect your clients from their creditors.

It all sounds so confusing.  but that’s not a good reason to give up on finding sound resources to deal with debt.

If you would like to get informed about the differences between debt reduction companies, debt consultants, credit counsellors and trustees please call 416-907-2582 ext 2587 or email me at kgoldenberg@debtcare.ca

Knowledge Lessens the Stress of Financial Planning

Now that your clients have made it through the holidays are they ready for tax season?

Tax season is in fact a time of year where Canadians come into even more debt than the holiday season. During the holidays one may rack up a credit card debt or two but when an individual is in a position where he or she knows that once he files a tax return he will be facing a large debt, the stress can be overwhelming.

This leads many Canadians (your members and clients included) to ignore their tax problem hoping that it will just go away by itself and it won’t. Keeping your clients informed about the consequences of filing late returns can save them thousands of dollars. Penalties for late filing tax returns are severe and include financial penalties, interest and even prosecution.

While your clients prepare to file their late returns they can start financial planning to cope with the new debt that’s coming down the pipeline and DebtCare can help. Not only can we work with your clients to come up with a financial plan to deal with their tax debt but we also have access to programs to find them relief if the amount that they owe is more than they can pay.

Give your clients the gift of less stress this tax season and contact me to arrange a WeCare Day at your office so that you can help your clients get informed. I can be reached at 416-907-2582 ext 2587 or email me at kgoldenberg@debtcare.ca.

Employees and Mental Health Related Issues

One challenge facing employers today is the significant number of employees who go on disability because of mental health related illnesses. More often than not it is stress, anxiety, depression and panic attacks that can lead an employee to need time off work. This reality costs insurance companies and employers millions in disability compensation.

Financial trouble often fuels mental health problems. Debt has been established as a major cause of stress, anxiety, panic and depression. When an individual can no longer make ends meet because their debt exceeds their income, it can have a crippling effect.

At DebtCare Canada we work with employers, EAP program providers and insurance companies to provide employees with access to programs to help them get control of their debt and achieve financial relief. Once an individual can make ends meet and achieves debt relief, they are more able to focus and start to get their lives back on track.

A healthy employee is a happy and productive employee and employers stand to save by investing in helping their employees get their personal finances on track.

If you would like more information about our financial programs please call 416-907-2582 or email me at kgoldenberg@debtcare.ca.

Starting the New Year with a Financial Check-Up

Each holiday season many people finance gifts using credit. This is short term gain with long term pain. Come January they often face a landslide of credit card bills and are left wondering how they are going to pay for it all. Some individuals are still carrying credit card balances from past holidays. The cycle can continue until it becomes a crisis.

If you work with individuals who struggle with debt, why not recommend a financial Check-up this holiday season? We encourage you to encourage your clients, employees and members to try to pay for as much of their holiday shopping with cash. Also, encourage them to come up with a solid holiday budget, review their 2011 spending and credit, set financial goals for the New Year and create a plan to achieve those financial goals. Easier said than done right? Well you can help using DebtCare Canada’s wide range of financial solutions and services catering to those who struggle with debt.

I wish all of you and your families a happy, healthy holiday season.

For more information about our financial programs please call 416-907-2582 or email me at kgoldenberg@debtcare.ca.

Financial Triage

In my new role at DebtCare Canada, as Director of Community Outreach, I often think about the similarities with my past work as a therapist in the rehabilitation world, my work at JVS Toronto, where we worked with people to help them find their career path and my new work with organizations who help people who face financial challenges.

I was recently reminded of the importance of “triage” and getting people to the right place at the right time with the right solution.
There are many parallels as it relates to diagnosing a financial problem when compared to diagnosing a medical problem.

Triage: is the process of determining the priority of patients’ treatments based on the severity of their condition. (Wikipedia)

Financial Triage: is the process of determining our client’s best fiscal solutions based on the severity of their financial situation.

Here are some comparisons:

Medical Triage DebtCare Financial Triage
Go in to the emergency room and wait to be assessed. Meet with a financial advisor and receive a free assessment.
Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, prescriptions are written with
the intention that patients will go to the drug store to have the
prescription filled.
Once the financial advisor determines the cause of the problem, they
give a number of possible solutions for the client to choose from to correct
their financial problem.
The patient fills the prescription, takes the medication and starts to
see improvements in the coming days.
Clients who decided to enroll in our Federal Government programs
receive financial relief within a few days of enrollment.
If it is a physical injury, often patients need physiotherapy rehab. We offer our clients financial rehabilitative options through a number
of programs that include budget management, financial protect plan, after
care and more.

For more information about how we help organizations just like your work with individuals and businesses who struggle with financial problems or to arrange a meeting, please contact me at 416-907-2582 or send me an email at www.kgoldenberg@debtcare.ca. You can also visit us online at www.debtcareservices.ca.

What is WeCare Canada Anyways?

WeCare Canada is an initiative that I am very proud to be a part of. The Toronto Star recently released an article titled Toronto’s wealthiest are the most indebted. The article goes on to discuss that the average homeowner in Toronto is $40,000 in debt (this excludes their mortgage).  Suffice it to say, this is not a sign of wealth. This is a sign of a deep problem in society today. It’s time to look at the reasons that people across Canada 1. Have the ability to go into this degree of debt and 2. Why families are turning to credit to make ends meet.

The WeCare Canada initiative was developed by DebtCare Canada in an effort to combat this problem. We are going into communities across the country, on the front lines and working with organizations to help educate the public about the destructive consequences of too much debt. More importantly we are on a mission to help folks who have been stretched beyond their means to find solutions and relief.

If you would like to organize a WeCare day at your organization please contact me at 888-890-0888 and I would be happy to meet with you about the program or to simply arrange your first WeCare Day. Together we can work towards a day where the average family is financially fit and I can promise you that your WeCare day will be more meaningful to your members then you could ever imagine.

Young Couples Who Struggle With Debt

As Director of Community Outreach at DebtCare Canada the constant reminder of how often debt is the reason for the destruction of marriage is all too real to me.

Here are some quick facts that I thought you might find of interest.

A large study revealed that debt brought into marriage was the number one problem area for newlyweds.

  •  55% of husbands and wives had automobile debt
  •  48% had credit card debt
  •  23% had school debt, and
  •  12% had medical debt as they entered the marriage.

Couples burdened with debt that starts to spiral out of control often are compromised. More education is needed at school and in the community if we plan to return to a situation where families are not using credit to make ends meet.

At DebtCare we provide a number of programs dealing with financial education, including access to Federal Government Programs that provide immediate debt relief to families that are stretched beyond their limits. We also offer financial counselling, financial protection and budget management.

Participating in DebtCare’s programs through our WeCare initiative enables newlyweds and young families to focus on building the foundation of a healthy relationship without the worries of financial stress.

If your organization works with families who struggle with debt, our solutions offer debt relief and a chance at a fresh start. Call 888-890-0888 for more information about DebtCare’s WeCare Canada initiative. We would be pleased to come out to provide you with more information about this ground breaking initiative. Alternately if you know someone right now who is in need, help is only a phone call away.

Help Your Clients to Protect Their Identity

Recently, I was a victim of identity theft. Fortunately, my credit card company dealt with it but it was frightening and I felt invaded.

I immediately filed a police report and notified the credit bureaus and my bank and credit card companies. I got lots of good advice from PhoneBusters National Call Centre. They can be reached at 1 888 495 8501 or www.phonebusters.com

Caution and communication is required to prevent and resolve identity theft. For more info to learn how to protect yourself and go to www.publicsafety.gc.ca.

You may not even realize just how many of your members/clients could become a victim of identity theft. I hope that you have found this information useful and feel free to share this blog to provide others with this very important information. It is imperative that if an individual thinks that they may have been a victim of identity theft, that they act quickly to protect their personal information.

Consumer beware!!!

DebtCare Canada at The Financial Technology Tradeshow

We had a great time at The Financial Technology Tradeshow this past week. Thank you to everyone and it was a pleasure to connect with so many financial professionals. Here are our photos.