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Income Tax Note for Canadians

Author: Brad Howland
First Posted: April, 2002

If your capital equipment goes up in value over time, don't throw away your 1994 income tax return!

The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency states that you should keep all tax documents and records for six years, in case they ask to see them. That means that you should be able to throw away old receipts and returns from 1995 or earlier. But before you rush to clean out the attic, consider that you may have equipment that goes up in value over time, for which you claimed the Capital Gains Election in 1994.

Musicians might be in this situation if they owned instruments such as harpsichords, guitars, violins, violas, cellos, basses, or any kind of antique musical instrument.

The Capital Gains Election was a one time affair. It allowed you to take a deemed disposition on capital property, raising the adjusted cost base of the property to its fair market value on Feb. 22, 1994. This means that if you sell the equipment now, you will have a capital gain based on its rise in value between 1994 and today, not between its original cost and today. But to calculate the capital gain properly you need to have that 1994 tax return, so don't throw it away!

Unfortunately, I'm one year late with my warning, but if you already trashed the return take heart! If you used an accountant she/he probably has a copy on file. If not, you can probably get the information directly from the CCRA. Unfortunately, getting information from the CCRA can take a long time, perhaps half a year or more. But if you get started now, you'll have those documents when you need them!


The information on this website, and the use of this website, are both provided without warranty of any kind. Income tax rules change every year and some information may be out of date. All readers wishing to take advantage of the information offered here should consult a qualified income tax preparer. In no event will Brad Howland, Howland Tax Services, or this website be liable for any damages, including lost profits, arising out of the information offered on this website, or the usage of this website. All material on this website Copyright © 2001-2017 by Howland Tax Services, Inc. Please contact us for permission to use this material in any form. Website designed and maintained by Brad Howland.