N.B. PRESS WANTS ACCESS TO COURT DOPE
by Esther Crandall
SAINT JOHN — The reaction of New Brunswick justice minister Rodman
Logan to a brief from journalists has raised hopes that court reporters
may soon have access to information necessary for proper reporting
of court cases.
The brief, presented to Logan Jan. 31, was supported by 22 N.B.
journalists, including members of Media Club of Canada (MCC) whose
N.B. branch acted as sponsor.
The brief pointed out six needs:
- Informations and dispositions of cases, particularly needed by small weeklies;
- Access to documents, once they have been tendered to the courts;
- Access to exhibits, once they have been tendered to the courts;
- Advance notice of decisions that are expected to be handed down;
- Immediate access to decisions when they are handed down;
- Police and RCMP co-operation.
The brief grew out of a "Media and the Law" seminar sponsored in
April 1977 by MCC's New Brunswick branch in cooperation with the
New Brunswick branch of the Canadian Bar Association.
At that time, some journalists told lawyers they were often unable
to get information on charges that had been dealt with in the courts;
others said that during some trials they could not see exhibits
or documents that had been submitted to the courts; still others
said that journalists based outside of Fredericton had difficulty
in getting copies of judgements while what was contained in the
judgements was still news.
At present, the Registrar's office posts daily notices in Fredericton
of judgements as they are handed down. But journalists based elsewhere
in the province must rely on informal sources for information on
Some of the problems outlined in the brief fall within the jurisdiction
of the federal government rather than that of the province, Logan
told a delegation of journalists. He said he didn't know some N.B.
journalists were having trouble getting information ostensibly in
the public domain.
He recommended they meet with other officials: the provincial police
commissioner, chief provincial court judge, N.B. Supreme Court registrar,
RCMP, and the province's chief trial judge.
This sent the delegation's six journalists scurrying in all directions
to arrange the meetings. Logan also said that, in the meantime,
he would talk with some of these same officials. All of which
is expected to lead to more meetings between Logan and the journalists.
— Esther Crandall.
Esther Crandall is a Saint John freelance journalist and MCC
TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE APRIL LESS
by Paul Park.
OTTAWA — April is the month that probably does more for national
unity than any other. Because it is on April 30 — Income Tax Day
— that Canadians everywhere turn to the capital to scream, "Dammit,
what am I? Made of money?"
It is possible to render unto Caesar a little less than he would
like, but new rules have limited some options available in earlier
Take incorporation, for example. In the past you could form a company,
pay yourself a smaller salary and pay out the balance as dividends.
But after the budget last November, that advantage has been restricted.
If more than two-thirds of your income is from one source, incorporation
is out of the question. This loophole was closed to prevent certain
professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, from paying less tax
But if less than two-thirds of your salary comes from one employer
(a condition which describes most freelancers for example), you could
easily continue to use this set-up.
Before you do anything rash, consult a tax lawyer and keep in mind
that an income of $20,000 is considered the minimum needed for incorporation.
If you haven't formed a corporation or if you formed one after
the budget, the new rules will take effect next year. Already established
corporations have been given one year's grace.
But even if it isn't worth your while to form a company, there
are other ways to save on taxes. Revenue Canada's Form T2032 will
help determine what is and isn't acceptable.
And don't forget legitimate deductions. For instance:
Private library: The price of new books related to research, plus
20 per cent depreciation on already-owned material has to be considered.
And don't overlook subscriptions, or even newsstand purchases, of
newspapers and magazines.
Travel: Travel expenses necessary for work, maintenance of your
car and two annual convention trips may all be claimed at tax time.
Rent: Office rent and a portion of your home rent, if you lease
rather than own, can be claimed. And remember to deduct incidentals,
such as phone, hydro, office expenses, film, etc.
Equipment: Depreciation can be claimed for essential tools of the
trade like typewriters, cameras, tape recorders. If you need it
for your work, deduct it.
Foreign sales: If taxes are deducted for a paycheque from outside
Canada, a foreign tax credit is allowed.
If this is your first time filing as a freelancer, set a non-calendar
business year. (See Content No. 84, April 1978, p. 10) By
using a non-calendar year, you can defer taxes for months at a time.
But remember: Once you choose your fiscal year, you're stuck with
it until kingdom come.
See about an interest-free loan from your employer. Revenue Canada
determines financial benefit from a prescribed rate of interest.
Let's say your boss loans you $10,000. Using the eight per cent
benefit calculation, Revenue would decide that the loan was worth
$800. But the credit for such a loan is $500. Therefore you'd end
up paying taxes on $300.
Remember to file your tax return by April 30 and don't throw away
receipts. The feds have up to four years to audit you.
Armed with a good tax guide and a knowledge of the system, you
could find this year's taxes don't sting as much as they could have.
Paul Park, Content's contributing editor for Ottawa,
is an unincorporated freelancer who does his most creative writing
on his tax return.
Published in Content April 1979
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