On the money: news and financial advice — June/July 2017

Celebrated fashion designer Karen Miller has declared bankruptcy after receiving a hefty tax notice, while young adults are collecting credit cards that offer reward points.

FASHION VICTIM

Unpaid bill bankrupts designer Karen Miller

Fashion icon Karen Miller has declared bankruptcy after receiving a notice to pay £6 million ($10 million) in back taxes this past September. The hefty bill came following a lengthy dispute with UK tax authorities in regards to a tax avoidance scheme Millen says her accountants told her to enter in 2001, which involved the transfer of shares to trustees in Mauritius to bypass £70 million in capital gains tax on the sale of the shares. Millen, 55, has been designing upscale womens wear for more than three decades, and is a favourite among the well-heeled, including Kate Middleton (Duchess of Cambridge) and actress Eva Longoria.

BIRTHDAY BANKNOTE

New $10 bill for Canada’s 150th

New Canadian ten dollar bill

Check your wallets – a special $10 banknote marking the 150th anniversary of Confederation enters circulation this month. It features portraits of Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, fellow Father of Confederation Sir Georges-Étienne Cartier, Canada’s first female member of Parliament, Agnes MacPhail, and James Gladstone, Canada’s first senator from a treaty of First Nation.

CREDIT CARD COLLECTORS

In pursuit of points

Young adults are stocking up on credit cards, lured by generous sign-up reward point offers that can be used to redeem travel or other goodies, the Wall Street Journal reports. One 29-year-old financial analyst and his wife have accumulated 40 credit cards together, earning 1,492,500 in reward points that they’ve used for travel, with the aim of visiting “each destination named in the chorus of the Beach Boys song Kokomo.”

BITCOIN BISTRO

Catering to blockchain

After being the first of the Big 4 consultancy firms to install a Bitcoin ATM (BTM) in its offices last fall, Deloitte Canada is now accepting bitcoin at Bistro 1858, the in-house restaurant at its Toronto location. “After placing a BTM in our offices and seeing Deloitte personnel downloading a wallet and buying their first fraction of a bitcoin, it seemed natural to enable the next step of the use case under our own roof,” says Ian Chan, a partner at Deloitte.

HOUSE ADVANTAGE?

Canada’s less bullish on home ownership

The vast majority (82%) of Canadians believe buying a house or condo is a good investment, according to RBC’s Home Ownership Poll. Still, there is a five-percentage-point drop from the 87% who said the same last year – and is the lowest rate recorded by the annual survey since 2009. What has them spooked? The impact of a potential interest-rate hike. Six in 10 (58%) respondents think house prices may come down in the next year.