Square Payments System Comes to Canada

This is going to be huge for small and micro businesses. Now everyone who makes and sells something from home, or sells at conventions, flea markets, farmers markets and other odd places will have access to the electronic payment market they didn’t have before.

Imagine the artists, writers, home bakers, cleaning ladies, dog walkers and everyone else who can now participate in the real economy.


Square: Now Available in Canada from Square on Vimeo.


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Taxable Natural Persons

Taxpayers Beware

For the past couple years there have been stories circulating around the internet claiming that you don’t have to pay income taxes.

Most of these stories seem to have originated from American conspiracy theorist websites. Their basic argument is that you are in fact two people; first the “natural” person you were born as. Second; the “legal” person the government created when they issued you a social insurance number.

According to these theorists, a “natural” person does not have to pay income tax.


Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has sent out notices warning taxpayers against these schemes.

There is no such thing as a “natural” person. You need to know that Canada Revenue Agency has won every single one of their court cases against these people. As a Canadian, you do have to pay the income tax you owe.

You should also know that these “tax protesters” as they call themselves, are usually raking in the cash by inviting you to attend expensive seminars that pretend to teach you how to avoid paying taxes. They will try to sell you books, dvds and consulting services containing the same false information.

In 2012 Russell Porisky, the main Canadian proponent of this scheme, was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in jail for tax evasion and fraudulently counselling other people to do the same.

“It is difficult to set out his line of argument with cogency because it lacks logic, coherence and consistency,” the judge wrote. “Mr. Porisky’s theory not only does not bear any legal logic, but it also fails to accord with common sense. It is a failed attempt at word magic and has no validity.”

The Canadian Constitution allows the government to raise money by any “mode or system of taxation.” The penalties for tax evasion are up to 200% of the taxes owing plus up to 5 years in jail.

Even if you don’t owe any taxes, Canadians need to file a tax return in order to qualify for HST refunds and Trillium grants.

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Can anyone explain our Politicians?

If you have ever been confused by how our illustrious leaders act, and the seemingly stupid decisions they occasionally make you might want to take a look at Daniel Ben-Ami’s excellent review of The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition and The Common Good by Robert H Frank. The Spiked Review of Books.

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Filed under Economics, Economy, How It Works, Recession, Recovery, Regulation

Figure Out Your Net Worth


I recommend that everyone sit down once a year and figure out their net worth. Around the time you do your taxes seems to work out best, since that’s when you’ve already got all your financial documents spread across the dining room table, and a calculator at your elbow.

Net Worth is simply the total of what you own, minus what you owe. The idea is that each year you should see a gradual increase in your net worth. If not, you have to stop and yourself why.

Sometimes there’s a darned good reason. You got laid off from your job. Or you’ve got three kids in University.

But if the reason for the decline is because of an increase in non-productive spending, then it is time to assess your priorities. Perhaps a trip around the world is a priority, and you are willing to take the hit for it. You just need to be clear in your mind what the consequences of your financial decisions will be.

Net Worth Calculator


Bank Accounts  $
Savings  $
Stock Market Accounts  $
RRSPs  $
TFSAs  $
Company Pensions  $
Real Estate  $
Vehicles  $
Art & Collectables  $
Investments  $
Companies you may own (net)  $
Other Valuable Assets  $
Total  $  


Credit Cards  $
Lines of Credit  $
Outstanding Bills  $
Overdrafts  $
Student Loans  $
Car Loans  $
Mortgages  $
Investment Loans (like for RRSPs)  $
Business Loans  $
Other Loans & Debts  $
Total  $  
Net Worth
Total Assets minus Debts  $  


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Economic Theory Run Amok

For economics buffs out there (is there really such a person?) and those of you who are really just trying to figure out why the world is so messed up, I have to recommend a paper by Dan Ciuriak and John Curtis called What if Everything We Know About Economic Policy is Wrong?

Ciuriak and Curtis take a look at the current global economic situation and examine how Economic Policy has failed. They contrast the promises of Trickle Down Theory with the actuality of recession, high unemployment and government debt.

Download the pdf here for free.

I recommend that you print off a copy and hand deliver it to your local member of parliament, congressman or other favourite member of the political beau monde.


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Filed under Economics, Economy, Employment, Finance, How It Works, Inflation, Regulation, Uncategorized

The Consequences of Debt

The US government is in the process of learning one of the key lessons of the debtor.

The Creditor calls the tune.

The Chinese who hold trillions of dollars in US are not happy, and they are not afraid to let the US know that they need to shape up and fly right. Let’s hope that this credit downgrade is treated as a wake-up call, and the US uses the opportunity to get their fiscal house in order.

But don’t count on it.

The disfunctional houses of congress are too busy stabbing each other in the back in a pointless and self defeating series of internecine battles.

If the US doesn’t sort this out, expect more dire consequences in the future.

In the meantime, use this dip in the Dow to snap up any high quality blue chips while they are on sale. Just make sure you go for quality, look for income in the form of dividends to  tide you over until the markets recover.

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Filed under Dow Jones, Economy, Finance, How It Works, Inflation, Investing, Recession, Stock Market, Uncategorized, US Debt