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FAQ

Will it be legal to claim 15-20 allowances on my W4 in order to lower tax refund? According to IRS checklist I should claim around 7. What other things can I do to lower tax refund? I am in Los Angeles.
As was already pointed out, you want to lower your withholding u2022 not your refund (which will increase your refund, or reduce your tax due).Anyway . . . itu2019s not a good thing to do, for several reasons. 1. Employers are no longer automatically required to submit W-4u2019s with more than 10 allowances to the IRS, but (i) that could change at any time, and (ii) a particular employer can be directed to submit W-4u2019s, or certain W-4u2019s whenever the IRS wants.2. You will likely be under-withheld u2022 by how much depends on your circumstances u2022 and that could result in underwitholding penalties at tax time.3. The W-4 is a tax form that you are signing under penalty of perjury, saying that the information is correct (read the signature line). Part of that information is that you are entitled to X allowances per the worksheet (based on dependents, deductions, etc.). Nobody expects those number to be absolutely precise, but when youu2019re entitled to 7 allowances, and you claim 17, thatu2019s hard to write off to an error in estimates.4. Finally, you say you are in Los Angeles. I donu2019t know what California does in terms of withholding allowances, but if u2022 like many other states u2022 it uses your Federal W-4, then youu2019re just compounding your problem.As far as it being u201clegalu201d, I canu2019t see you going to jail over it, but if someone wanted to make something of it, willfully providing false information on a W-4 is a crime, punishable by up to $1000 fine and 1 year in jail. (Itu2019s a form of tax evasion, but it is its own violation.) Perjury is also a separate crime (remember the signature line), punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and 3 years in prison. So, to answer your specific question, no, itu2019s not u201clegal.u201d
What is the federal and provincial tax rate in Nova Scotia for a monthly salary before tax of CAD 3500 per month? Will this be enough for a family of 4 to survive for a new immigrant?
If you have a single income of $3,500 per month in Nova Scotia, and are a family of four you will (essentially) pay no or very little income tax.It will help to know how the Canadian tax system works. Your employer must withhold some of your income and sends it to government. That amount is determined by your family situation. Annually, before April 30, you must complete forms and show your total income, various tax credits and deductions, and either pay outstanding tax, or claim a refund if too much tax has been withheld.So, when you are hired make sure you fill out the deduction form (TD1) correctly. There is a worksheet that helps and the form itself both online.See page TD1NS-WS Worksheet for the 2022 Nova Scotia Personal Tax Credits Return.Filling out that form will help calculate your tax rate. I would be very surprised if it was not very, very low. There will be some withholding for Canadian Pension Plan and employment insurance. You will get CPP back in the form of income when you are 65, and you hope not to have a period of unemployment. I do not know the numbers, but they may be $200/mo or so.It is WELL worth your while as early in the year as possible - particularly if you are new to Canada - to have a professional help you fill out your tax return and submit it well before April 30. There may be special allowances and credits for you because you are a immigrant. Income tax is a significant part of life in Canada. It is worth doing it right.That information should answer the first part of your question. And, it should give you a hint about the answer to your second question.Your second question is much more difficult to answer because it is largely about attitudes and priorities. If you think like me, your expenses will be -Housing. You can find a two or three bedroom apartment for around $1,500. Maybe more, maybe less. I thought it would be more expensive than that, but checked on Kijiji and Craigslist and that is an adequate budget. You will be asked to pay 1/2 monthu2019s rent as a damage deposit. You will need to buy furniture. Stove and fridge usually come with an apartment. Budget $2,000 to help buy used things from Kijiji. You will want a location near schools, near work, on a bus route, modern with good insulation for winter. Ask what cost of heating and electricity will be, and ask if they are included.Utilities. You will have heat, electricity, telephone, cable, internet, water bills. Around $500 should pay most of those bills. They are important in Canada - heat in particular in the winter. Canadians try to keep their homes at 20c when they are home. Maybe 18c overnight while sleeping, or even 15c if they are not at home. Newcomers from warmer climates like to keep their home at 22c or warmer, and frequently do not adjust the temperature for economy. That is significantly more expensive. Buy sweaters, learn to economize on heat. Typically you will pay a lot for heat in the winter, nothing in the summer. It averages. Your utility services will stop if you do not pay and there may be penalties to restart. Heat, electricity, water (annual bill usually), telephone are essential to survival in Canada. Internet is important for your banking, bill paying, shopping, communication with home, news and potentially education and job hunting. Cable is entertainment and not so important.Transportation. You will want a car for commuting to work, for groceries and family errands, for adventures beyond your neighbourhood. A good used car that will be serviceable for several years can be had for a budget of around $10,000. That is cash outlay, or a loan payment of about $275/mo. Insurance will be around $200 per month, allow an additional $100 per month for maintenance, and $100 per month or more for fuel. That is nearly $1,000 per month total, so you might want to forgo that desire for family mobility during your early time in Canada. Get your driveru2019s license as early after arrival as possible, it will make life easier later. Take the bus daily, rent a car when you need one. See the Halifax Transit site for pricing of bus passes. Take taxis. Use Uber. Budget $500 per month for transportation. That would allow for a bus pass for you, frequent bus rides for your spouse and children, and a little left over for occasional taxis or rental cars.Food. I am going to say (no support for this whatsoever) that it will cost you around $250 per week, or $1000 per month for food. Your family could eat healthy food for that budget, but not specialty foods like vegan or kosher or halal. You would have to shop carefully and be creative and avoid processed or packaged items. There would be no budget for wine or beer or liquor in that price.That leaves around $500 per month for savings, clothing, personal items, entertainment.So, the answer to your question is, yes, it is possible for a family of four to live on $3,500 per month in or around Halifax, Nova Scotia. It would be VERY difficult to get ahead in life.The numbers I show for budget are quite arbitrary and you might save on those, but really it would sacrifice quality of life. You are moving to Canada to better your quality of life, not reduce it.Personally? I would only consider life under that economic pressure as a stepping stone to a better job or position. I wouldnu2019t recommend it unless you have a few tens of thousands of dollars in reserve for emergencies or extra unexpected expenses. Like losing your job, unfortunate funerals in your home country if parents die, or a car (eventually), like a sudden illness of a child, your spouse or you - the breadwinner. An income of $3,500 would be more than adequate for a single person, but you have a spouse and two children. A single would pay several hundred per month, maybe $1,000 per month in taxes on that salary. There is a reason you will pay next to none.The bad news is that in Canada, you can be very miserable and in deep economic trouble, and very cold and come under a lot of economic pressure. The good news is that there IS a significant social safety net. If you suddenly lose your job your children will continue in school, your health care will continue, and you wonu2019t freeze or starve if things donu2019t go as planned. Accessing unemployment benefits or other social measures isnu2019t necessarily easy, but the measures ARE available.So, welcome to Canada!Good Luck!
Why does it seem so difficult for millennials to be content with life in comparison to generations past?
Millennials who grew up middle class, and that includes my kids, are faced with a world of problems that were largely unknown to their GenX and Boomer parents.The cost of higher education has skyrocketed in relation to income, which means that when I went to school, a person could pay off state tuition primarily with summer jobs; I was graduated from a private university without a penny of debt, which was affordable to many parents at the time. Most of these kids will still be paying off college debt when theyu2019re approaching 40.The cost of housing has skyrocketed in relation to income. That means that while many people of my generation expected that they would one day be able to buy a house, my kids expect that they will never be able to own property. Many of these kids are moving to secondary and tertiary markets in the hopes of being able to pay rent adequately, even though the jobs in those markets may not be as plentiful.The cost of healthcare has skyrocketed in relation to income. This means that millennials, without the ACA, are less likely to be insured and are more likely to face penury if they are unfortunate enough to get sick or in an accident, which can be a constant source of stress.Wages, in relation to a market basket of goods, are stagnant, and many people are unable to find full time work and as a result cobble together a living out of several part time jobs, which means that the donu2019t get the health insurance. See above.I imagine that many millennials would be as content as their parents, for different values of content, but they canu2019t afford it.
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