Delean: If car insurance requires anti-theft system, you can blame the thieves

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If theft rates remain high in the Montreal area, car owners can expect to see more insurers requiring the installation of protective devices, says the director of the Automobile Protection Association.

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Requirements for automobile insurance and the payment of income tax in quarterly instalments were among the topics recently raised by readers. Here’s what they wanted to know.

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Q: My insurance company has made a TAG anti-theft system mandatory for the Honda CR-V I am getting. My insurance agent reminded me that TAG must be installed before I pick up the new vehicle, and that any delay would result in a weekly $15 premium to be added to my policy. The insurer has made arrangements with another company for a discounted installation price, along with a $100 rebate. I was also informed that until the TAG is installed, my deductible would be $2,500, not $250. Is this unusual?

A: Actually, it isn’t all that surprising, according to George Iny, director of the Automobile Protection Association (APA). CR-Vs are the most stolen vehicle in the Montreal area, and it’s reasonable for the insurance company to require a quality anti-theft system in vehicles they cover, he said. The TAG system happens to also be on the APA’s recommended list.

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“Car dealers can’t be trusted to install something effective (on their own),” Iny said. “In other places, where the insurance requests aren’t as explicit, they often sell junk. It would be helpful if the carmakers came up with something better on their own.”

Iny said CR-Vs are largely being stolen for export, and thieves who take them might park them somewhere for a couple of days to see if there is a tracking device. If someone shows up to claim it, they’ll go find another, he said. And if theft rates remain high in the Montreal area, especially for certain makes and models, car owners can expect to see more insurers requiring the installation of protective devices as part of their agreement, he said.

Q: In 2021, I received notices from both the feds and provinces that I needed to make installation income tax payments, which I did. This year, despite having received assessments from both agencies, I have not received any requests to make installations. Should I be worried that I might face high interest charges, or is there some explanation for this? I did check both websites and there was no indication there either.

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A: Reminders to taxpayers who are expected to pay income tax in quarterly instalments usually go out in mid-August, so yours may be arriving soon. Even if you don’t receive a statement from Revenue Quebec instructing you to make the payments, you might want to do so anyway if the numbers suggest they’re warranted. The provincial tax department says it’s on you to do the math and respect the deadlines if you meet the criteria for paying in this fashion. If you had net provincial income tax owing of more than $1,800 in either the 2020 or 2021 tax years, and estimate you will again in 2022, you’ll be expected to pay instalments to Revenue Quebec.

Canada Revenue Agency is a bit more lenient; it says you don’t have to pay federal installs and won’t be subject to interest or penalties in the current tax year if it doesn’t send you a reminder. For Quebec residents, they take effect if you had net tax owing of more than $1,800 to CRA in the 2020 or 2021 tax years and project exceeding that threshold again this year. For more information, see the “Who has to pay — required tax installs for individuals” page at canada.ca (direct link: bit.ly/3oKokri).

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Q: As a Canadian and US citizen, I have resided and worked in Montreal for many years. Recently, as I began to plan my retirement, I heard that it is illegal for a Canadian citizen residing in Quebec to own or receive income from an annuity or other investments outside Canada that are not being managed by a financial institution or a certified professional or broker in Canada or Quebec. Is this claim true?

A: Quebec’s securities regulator, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), says there is no legislation prohibiting a Canadian citizen residing in Quebec from owning or receiving income from annuities or securities investments outside Canada. “Applicable securities regulations provide a statutory exemption which allows international dealers to provide limited services to permitted clients without having to register in Canada,” the AMF said. A person administering, promoting or distributing annuities and securities in the province must be registered in the relevant category with the provincial regulator.

The Montreal Gazette invites reader questions on tax, investment and personal-finance matters. If you have a query you’d like addressed, please send it by email to Paul Delean at [email protected]

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