New Tax-Free Savings Accounts Analyzed in Research Paper
The latest CGA-Canada Issue in Focus research brief examines the new tax-free savings account (TFSA), concluding that it is the most revolutionary savings instrument in Canada since the introduction of registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs). Tax-Free Savings Accounts – Shifting Opportunity can be read at cga.org/canada.
“Tax-free savings accounts present another investment option for Canadians to consider and, depending on their individual situations, many people will find the TFSA to be very useful,” says the paper’s co-author Rock Lefebvre, CGA-Canada’s vice-president, Research and Standards. “The TFSA measures will encourage Canadians to increase their rate of saving. That, in turn, will improve investment, encourage economic growth, and increase the collective well-being of society.”
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CGA-Canada Welcomes International Tax Recommendations
A report issued by the Advisory Panel on Canada’s System of International Taxation echoes CGA-Canada’s long-held view that simplification of Canada’s tax system is needed. Several other CGA-Canada recommendations have become key proposals in the report, including interest deductibility by Canadian companies which make foreign acquisitions, and tightening domestic thin capitalization rules to limit the amount of money a foreign corporation can borrow and deduct.
“Certainty and simplicity in tax legislation and administration are critical,” says Anthony Ariganello, president and CEO of CGA-Canada. “We agree that Canada’s international tax system and the treatment of Canadian investment abroad, as well as foreign investment in Canada, must be competitive, fair, and regularly benchmarked.”
Ariganello urged the federal government to go beyond examining international taxation and business investment. “CGA-Canada believes a panel of experts should be appointed to review domestic tax policy and how the system affects individual taxpayers. We need a complete picture to move forward on the entire tax front,” he says.
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Sustainability Reporting Training Program Endorsed by CGA-Canada
CGAs are eligible for a discount on a new two-day training program on the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. The GRI-certified program is offered by LEAD Canada Inc., the first North American organization to provide accredited short courses on the GRI’s sustainable reporting framework in Canada.
The course provides hands-on guidance to new sustainability reporters and will further improve the practices of experienced reporters. It is targeted to professional report makers and users, including those involved in corporate social responsibility, engagement, sustainability reporting, benchmarking, assurance, and disclosure. CGA-Canada is one of LEAD Canada’s sponsors for the GRI-certified courses. A 2005 CGA-Canada research report advocated for adoption of GRI Guidelines and recommended that “globally-accepted sustainability reporting guidelines are necessary to maintain efficient capital markets and allow for comparable, consistent, and credible reporting.”
CGAs receive a $100 discount on the listed course fees of $1,599. Courses are offered in various Canadian cities and more information is available at www.leadcanada.net.
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Three CGA Doctoral Candidates Receive Renewed Funding
The CGA-Canada Research Foundation has renewed funding for three CGAs conducting research into technical issues as part of their doctoral studies. Luanne Currie of the School of Business at the University of Alberta is researching absenteeism as a growing trend that has significant implications for the operational and financial performance of firms. Shelley Lukasewich, also of the University of Alberta, is investigating the evolution of corporate reporting, and hopes to advance the profession’s understanding of the value of audited information and the strategic role played by enhanced corporate reporting. Gulraze Wakil, an Ontario CGA studying at Ohio’s Kent State University, is working on a study of dividend taxes and the implied cost of equity capital in Canada.
Currie is receiving funding for a second time while Lukasewich and Wakil are having their funding extended for a third year. Under its Doctoral Funding Program, the CGA-Canada Research Foundation provides up to $10,000 a year for a maximum of three years to CGAs interested in pursuing a PhD in accounting and auditing related fields. Application forms and funding criteria are available at cga.org/canada.
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New IFAC President Focuses on Financial Crisis
Robert Bunting of the United States assumed the presidency of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) following meetings of the IFAC Council and Board held in November in Rome. The meetings focused on the global financial crisis as well as convergence to global auditing and ethics standards, and the profession’s role in sustainable development.
“The financial crisis has clearly demonstrated how interconnected global markets are,” says Bunting. “This makes IFAC’s initiatives to achieve convergence of international standards ever more urgent. Convergence to a common set of high quality accounting and auditing standards is essential to assuring the quality of the profession’s services and is vital to the effective operations of markets and to promoting cross-border trade and investment.”
The meetings marked the conclusion of Sylvie Voghel’s term on the IFAC Board of Directors; however, the Montreal FCGA was reappointed to another three year term as chair of the Small and Medium Practices (SMP) Committee.
Bunting indicated that the needs of SMPs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be another priority during his term. “The SMP/SME community did not cause the current financial crisis, but they will be very much affected by it,” he says. “We must do what we can, including ensuring that they are not subject to overly burdensome regulatory requirements, to contribute to their health and effectiveness.”
Those views were supported by the results of IFAC’s 2008 Global Leadership Survey, which reflected the responses of the chief executives and presidents of 110 accountancy bodies worldwide, including CGA-Canada. The complete survey results and IFAC’s 2009-2012 strategic plan are available at www.ifac.org.
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CGA-Bahamas Turns 25
CGA-Bahamas celebrated its 25th anniversary on December 6 with a banquet attended by members and business and government leaders. CGA-Canada Chair Tony Ducie, President and CEO Anthony Ariganello, and Lyle Handfield, vice-president International and Corporate Affairs, represented the national association. Ducie and Handfield met with the Bahamian governor-general, auditor general, and minister of finance during their visit. Recruitment presentations were delivered to the staff of the treasury department, the auditor general’s office, and the Bahamas Electricity Corporation.
Although CGA-Bahamas was established in 1983, the CGA program has been available in the Bahamas and parts of the Caribbean since 1964, and some accountants living in the region applied for membership in Canadian affiliates in the 1930s. The initial interest in the designation can be credited to long-standing economic ties between Canada and the region, including the presence of Canadian banks. As well, the flexibility and distance learning features of the CGA program made it ideal for a population scattered among the many small islands of the region.
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CGA Adds New University and Chapter in China
Ningbo University in the province of Zhejiang is the latest Chinese partner university of CGA-Canada, bringing to 17 the number of universities in China which use the internationalized CGA syllabus known as Intersyl, or enable students to enroll in the CGA program. Located in the historic and cultural city of Ningbo, south of Shanghai, the university has five campuses, offers a comprehensive range of disciplines, and has relationships with 47 institutions of higher learning in western and Asian countries.
Chinese CGAs have formed a new chapter in Guangzhou, adding to those already operating in Beijing and Shanghai. The chapters provide professional development and networking opportunities for the growing number of CGAs in China. In November, CGA-Canada Chair Tony Ducie welcomed 131 new CGAs to membership at a ceremony in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. Ducie also presented the FCGA designation to Jian Gen Chen, the first Chinese CGA to be honoured with the Fellowship award.
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