KeatsConnelly Cross-Border Weekly Best of the Web 2014-5-2

web-search-greyEvery week we share news stories, blog articles and other interesting stuff from around the web that received the most views, shares, comments and overall interest on various KeatsConnelly social media outlets.

This week’s articles include a review of Canadian TFSAs, a cautionary piece on new communication being sent by the Canadian Revenue Agency to taxpayers, an interesting view on preferred investment vehicles in the United States and finish with a look at home ownership in the U.S.

Could the  TFSA become a victim of its own success? (www.theglobeandmail.com) For a growing number of Canadians, the legacy of late federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will be the introduction of the tax-free savings account. He rolled out the TFSA in the wake of the 2008 global financial meltdown to help give shell-shocked retail investors faith in the capital markets. Since then, Canada Revenue Agency reports that more than 10 million TFSAs have been opened, with a total value exceeding $88-billion. It’s been a slow climb to popularity since 2009, when the initial maximum contribution was $5,000. Each year the total contribution limit has been increased by at least an additional $5,000. Canadians can now invest up to $31,000 in their TFSAs without ever being taxed on the gains…

Got a letter from the taxman? Why it pays to read between the lines (www.theglobeandmail.com) – When I was a kid, I remember being asked many times to clean my room. I never did a very good job of it. On one occasion, I recall my father sitting down with me and saying: “Tim, I want to educate you on how to do this properly.” It was a polite way of saying: “If you do it like that again, you’re in big trouble next time.” I can’t help but think of the Canada Revenue Agency and a relatively new program the department has introduced. They call it an “education program” where the taxman sends a letter to certain taxpayers whom the department thinks may be a little aggressive in their tax filings. An excerpt from the letter reads: “The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has sent you this letter to give you information about certain claims you made on one or more of your recent income tax and benefit returns. This letter also gives you the opportunity to ask for an adjustment if you find that you incorrectly claimed some items on past tax returns.”…

Why the poor’s investment of choice is so alarming (www.theweek.com) – Gallup’s poll on Americans’ favorite investments always makes fascinating reading.  Every year, Gallup asks Americans to choose the best investment from the following choices: Real estate, stocks and mutual funds, gold, savings accounts and certificates of deposit, or bonds. In the years since the 2008 financial crisis and housing bust — after which Americans as a group briefly ranked gold as their favorite investment — real estate has once again swung back into favor.  But as Barry Ritholtz notes over at Bloomberg View, the most interesting thing is that there are some serious differences between the investment styles of the poor and the rich…

U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls to the Lowest Since 1995 (www.bloomberg.com) –  The homeownership rate in the U.S. declined to the lowest in almost 19 years as rising property prices and mortgage rates held back demand.  The share of Americans who own their homes was 64.8 percent in the first quarter, down from 65.2 percent in the previous three months, the Census Bureau said in a report today. The rate is the lowest since the second quarter of 1995, when it was 64.7 percent…

Come back next week for more interesting news and articles. Enjoy your weekend!

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