Why having a professional bookkeeper is important for the success of your business

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The success of your business is OUR business. We have the big picture in mind. It is much more than posting income and expenses (though we can never have enough of that sweet click click click sound of the POSTED stamp as it graces your business receipts).

Call us your personal bookkeeping miracle workers! We will turn your messy, torn-up pile of receipts into a beautiful, sparkling file your accountant will be proud of.

Not convinced?

Here are five reasons why having a certified bookkeeper on your team of professionals is important for the success of your business:

  • Corporations: We know what an accountant needs to file your corporate year-end
  • Actually reconciling your bank and credit card to the statement balance. It is more complicated than just checking off everything in the bank rec screen in Quickbooks. Go figure!
  • Reviewing all of your accounts for accuracy and highlighting any issues so that the accountant knows where to direct his/her attention
  • We will deliver your year-end in a reliable software that the accountant is used to
  • Sole Proprietor: We know what is needed to complete your year-end so we can file your tax return and/ or GST/ PST returns

Why is all this important?

  • You will save on accounting fees if the accountant receives a clean set of books in a format they are accustomed to seeing
  • The accountant and bookkeeper speak the same language. You will save time because the accountant will ask the bookkeeper questions about the year-end instead of asking you
  • Sole proprietors: similar to above, but we will do your bookkeeping anticipating doing your tax return at the end of the year. We will look/ask you for any additional write offs that you may not have provided to us based on other businesses in your industry. Our job is to ensure that your tax liability is as low as possible while still compliant with the CRA rules
  • We will ensure that you get the maximum write-offs possible based on our experience filing thousands returns
    • We will ask you about certain items you might never have thought you could even write off eg: Business insurance, WorkSafe BC, Meals
    • We will ask you about incomplete entries we think should be there eg do you have certain months missing for rent or telephone? Did you pay for utilities?
    • Forgot your bank and credit card statements? We will send you a reminder to send us your statements with any additional business expenses that may not be in your folder
  • We will review your expense totals to make sure they are reasonable

Stay tuned for next week’s post to see how your business will benefit from having a professional bookkeeper on your team!

Why hire a professional bookkeeper?

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Sure, we’re smart, cool and fun! But as a small business owner, do you need a professional bookkeeper?

We have the big picture in mind. It’s much more than posting income and expenses. We know what needs to be done to file your year-end accurately while ensuring that your tax bill is as low as possible. (BOOYAH! And no mad taxman high-jumping it to your back!)

Over the next couple of weeks, we will elaborate on two topics:

  • why having a professional bookkeeper on your team of professionals is important for the success of your business
  • how your business will benefit from having a professional bookkeeper on your team

Need a bookkeeper, like, yesterday and can’t wait for next week’s blog post? Get the process rolling now here. 🙂

Tax Installment Series: How do you calculate your tax installment payment?

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Tax installments got you scratching your brain?

Thanks to our tax installment blog series, you know that tax installment are pre-payments made on certain dates to avoid paying a large tax bill in a lump sum on April 30th and to consider your net tax owing when paying by tax installments

This week, we keep the tax installment party going by answering two important questions:  how to calculate your installment payment and when do you have to pay your 2017 installments?

 

How do you calculate your installment payment?

Here are three ways to calculate your installment payments:

  • No-calculation option: Recommended for individuals whose income, deductions and credits stay about the same from year to year.
    • Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will determine the amount of your installment based on your latest assessed tax return
    • CRA will send you a reminder
  • Prior-year option: This is the best option if your 2017 income, deductions and credits are similar to 2016 amount but WAY different from those in 2015.
  • Current-year option: This is the best option if your 2017 income, deductions and credits are SUPER different from 2016 and 2015.
    • You determine amount of your installment payments based on your estimated 2017 (current year) net tax owing, CPP contributions payable and EI premiums. Use the Calculation chart for installment payments for 2017 to calculate your total installment amount due.

 

Here’s an important tip from CRA:

When do you have to pay your 2017 installments?

If you are required to pay installments, the CRA needs to receive your 2017 installments BEFORE December 31, 2017. 

Here are suggested dates to pay your tax installments for 2017:

  • March 15
  • June 15
  • September 15
  • December 15

Whether you pay in a one lump sum or make monthly installments, as long as you pay your full installments before December 31, 2017 you will avoid installment interest. 

If you missed your March 15, not to worry. Just make sure you make it up before the end of the year.

If you are unsure if you have to pay installments, go here.

 

Tax Installment Series: What do you need to consider when paying by tax installments?

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So, we’ve already introduced the vivacious blog series on tax installments. Yes, two whole weeks of tax installment fun!

This week, we take a look at what items you should consider when deciding if you have to pay by tax installments and why you should pay by installments.

 

What should you consider when deciding if you have to pay by tax installments?

No one likes to be hit with a huge tax bill. But that’s where sassy tax installments come in, or prepayments that  you make on certain dates to pay off your balance owing instead of paying in a lump sum!

Here are the two factors to consider when determining if you have to pay tax by installments:

  • your net tax owing
  • your province or territory of residence

Net tax owing

Your net tax owing is the amount you owe on your tax return. The items used to calculate net tax owing (line 15are listed in the Calculation chart for installment payments for 2017 on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website.

 

Your province or territory of residence

To determine the threshold of net tax owing you will use when determining if you have to pay tax by installments, look at your province or territory of residence.

If you live in Quebec on December 31 of a year, use a limit of $1,800 of net tax owing.

If you live in any other province or territory on December 31 of a year, use a limit of $3,000 of net tax owing.

 

Why you should pay by installments

You have to pay your income tax by installments for 2017 if both of the following apply:

  • your net tax owing for 2017 will be above $3,000
  • your net tax owing in either 2016 or 2015 was above $3,000

You do not have to pay your income tax by installments for 2017 if your net tax owing for 2017 will be $3,000 or less.

If you received an installment reminder that shows an amount to pay, you have to pay your income tax by installments.

The same applies if your main source of income in 2017 was self-employment income.

Mo money, mo installments!

Tax Installment Series: Paying your income tax by installments

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Tax installments never looked cuter…

Whether you spell it “instalment” or “installment”, it comes down to this: If you ever got hit with a large tax bill on April 30th, you’ve probably considered making an installment, or a regular income tax payment, to avoid paying in a lump sum. Suddenly, your balance owing will seem a lot less, “I’m gonna have to go live with squirrels” and way more “OMG, I got this!”

As part of our new blog series, each week, we will look at paying your net tax owing by installments, answering the questions below:

  • what items to consider when deciding if you have to pay by tax installments and why you should pay by tax installments
  • when do you have to pay your 2017 installments and how to calculate your installment payment

Get ready for cool and informative weekly posts on one of our most asked questions, especially during tax time. Amazing conversation starter alert.

#ThursdayThoughts: When you realize that tax deadline be creeping up on you!

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The Number Cruncher Allysia is laughing a little too hard on the eve of her GST filing target date…Luckily for her, she’s on track and won’t let deadline stress get the best of her!

 

Who doesn’t love the P-word? Procrastinate. We all do it. Whether we are taking a break from spring cleaning to brush up on 2017 BC Budget or freaking out over the Shaw internet outage on a beautiful sunny day.

But what do you do when you wake up from a sweet dream of popcorn and butterflies and of doing nothing, and realize that tax deadline is standing right in front of you, evil laughing and pointing its long, wrinkly finger, shakily, at you?

Pop a gummy bear vitamin and do this:

  1. Sit down: Remember that April 30th falls on a weekend this year. So, you have until end of day May 1st to file. Know that you are getting a refund? Even better. There are no late penalties for a tax refund. You goood.
  2. Request the Homeroom E-Return: We can’t promise an on-time filing at this point, but at least it will get done by a pro who cares.
  3. Stretch your tax worries away here.
  4. Listen to your favourite song: Facing the cold hard fact you have not yet filed your tax return days before the deadline can cause the heart to beat faster than a car from Fate of the Furious.  Take a moment to forget by boogieing to your dearest jams. It won’t change the reality, but it will make you feel better and straighten out your thoughts.
  5. Pay the CRA online if you still haven’t. You’ve got until May 1st and online payments work like a (fast) charm
  6. Follow @HomeroomSBS on Twitter for fun and smart posts. You might even laugh….and learn something new
  7. Don’t have all your tax slips? Homeroom to the rescue. Read  this ASAP.

You got this!

#FridayFeeling: How are we doing at the busiest time of year?

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While many tax firms slave away, droopy-shouldered and sad-faced, to meet their deadlines by working late nights, skipping meals, and glaring at their computer screens until their eyes cry, the Homeroom team is chill. Zero stress, no overtime hours, and everyone’s happy! And we’re hitting goals. So, what’s the secret to work-time bliss? 

 

“Want chocolate?” the Solution Seeker Alan bounced out of the office kitchen area grinning, holding a thin, rectangular package in his hands.

We all motioned, ” YES!”

“It’s green!” noticed the Gatekeeper Anja as she hesitantly broke off a piece and popped it into her mouth.

“It tastes like white chocolate,” added the Task Buster Michelle. She stopped and chewed slowly, looking half scared and half amused, seemingly concentrating on the flavours of the melting chocolate.

“It’s matcha. It means green tea,” confirmed Alan, who’s had green chocolate before and approves of its healthier-than-most-chocolate benefits. “Oh, wait! The package says there’s also white chocolate in there.”

“I knew it!” Michelle jumped to her feet. “I know my chocolate!”

The Lady in Charge Teya took a bite. Her face scrunched up. “Green chocolate? I can taste very little chocolate in here….”

 

It’s April, and this is our  busiest time of the year. For real, though.

 

It’s 3pm. The Gatekeeper Anja has one more hour left to go. (She is not keeping track but this blog assignment begs keen observation skills!) She had graduated from slight head banging to outsinging the radio that is blasting fun throwback beats from behind, like N’Sync’s “Bye, Bye, Bye” and K-Ci and JoJo’s “Crazy.”

Anja is working at a leisurely pace to finish up next week’s tasks. Yes, she is ahead and loving it. She stops to gulp down some fresh H2O, laughs about nothing, and continues to work. No, she is not stressed. She is happy.

Her phone shakes the desk gently and rings a chirpy tune to notify the team: It’s time to stretch.

As we get into our regular circular stretch formation, and open chests to the ceiling, Homeroom client Monique Harris, owner of Moksha Yoga East Vancouver, walks in. She pauses at the door with a smile: “Wow! It’s like I walked into my studio”.

The Number Cruncher Allysia stretches her legs to the water machine to fill up. The Lone Wolf Kevin has  just returned from his lunch break. He’s on track and feeling good. He stops to chat with Allysia about the sixth ROE he had to do this week.

Teya is powering though Homeroom E-Returns behind her stand-up desk. “I’m on a roll!” She even has time to leave early to pick up her son Jules from school. Thanks to our secure online tax submissions, there hasn’t been many tax appointments. More free time for clients, and speedier filings for us!

Life at the office is good.

So, how are we able to reach a stress-free, no overtime, goal smashing work pace? Because in the midst of a busy, fast-paced day, we don’t forget to stop and taste the chocolate!

 

 

 

THIS: Submit ALL your tax docs by April 21 to ensure an on-time filing (and happy hair)!

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Kudos for getting the tax-filing process started! If you’ve already received the final PDF of your tax return, you should be celebrating, not reading this!!

If you’ve been emailing with us back and forth but haven’t submitted ALL your tax docs, there’s still time!

Upload your tax documents to us by Friday, April 21, at 4PM to guarantee an on-time return.

 

If you are just getting around to doing your taxes, no problemo. Request the Homeroom E-Return here for a speedy and hassle-free tax-filing. No appointment required, and you’ll get the best Homeroom rate.

Complete our tax intake form here. We will email you instructions on how to securely upload your tax documents as soon as we receive your completed form.

Call the office at 604-739-9536 if you have any questions!

Happy long weekend, y’all, and here’s to meeting those deadlines!

 

 

Does the idea of dropping-off your taxes give you the smileys?

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As part of our fun and timely tax-filing blog series, we looked at the in-person tax appointment and the Homeroom E-Return as two great ways to get’er done. But not everybody has the luxury of sitting through their tax-filing or lounging on their bed and snapping pictures of their tax documentation and submitting electronically, especially with Netflix in the way.

This week, we cover the Homeroom’s drop-off option for the swamped and the practical. Simply, drop and go. Leave the rest to us.

 

Here are some pros and cons (Yes!! and Oh, Poo!) of dropping-off your taxes at our office:

 

“I’m a busy lady. If I was a fictional character, I would be The White Rabbit from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Wigged out, clutching a watch, and late”

 

YES!!

Homeroom’s drop-off option allows you to pop by our office anytime during our business hours to drop-off your tax documentation. The Homeroom’s lively team will offer you a cup of water to catch your breath while we get some of your personal information eg: Address, SIN #, and make sure nothing has changed since last year if you are an existing client. Then we will send you on your merry way to catch that appointment you’re running late for 🙂

OH, POO!

You could have saved yourself loads of time by requesting the Homeroom E-Return. Simply, snap pictures or scan your tax paperwork to us from wherever, whenever. It’s never too late to submit to us electronically. Unless it’s AFTER April 30th……

 

“Tech is wack. I need to see to whom I am handing off my precious tax docs. Even if it is the second priciest option you offer. Things get lost in the interwebs, and I do not want to see my  T4 sold on Craigslist to the highest bidder.”

 

YES!!

We hear you. Drop off your tax paperwork at our office to ensure it is personally received by our staff. Got separation anxiety? Stay as we label your folder and neatly put it away into the “to be filed” section in the back. We will offer encouraging words like, “It is in safe hands” and, “We will courier or mail your folder back as soon as we file your tax return.”

 

OH, POO!

You could have kept all your documentation and securely submitted all your tax documentation to us electronically from wherever by requesting the Homeroom E-Return. We would ensure all your files have been received and would have scheduled a phone call if your tax situation proved hairy. Next time, next time!

 

“I’m a babe-on-the-go. I’d rather drop and run. There’s always someone waiting for me, talking to me…looking at me..”

 

YES!!

Our drop-off option allows you to quickly submit all your tax docs to us in person. It is deal for anyone who prefers to personally hand-off their taxes but has no time to watch their taxes get filed.

OH, POO!

By requesting the Homeroom E-Return, you could have submitted all your tax docs electronically while having lunch at your fave cafe. Now you have to run and the idea of messing up your hair is giving you the freaks…

You are welcome to drop off your taxes at our office Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

 

We will be closed on Friday, April 14th for Easter long weekend.

Happy Easter!

So you think the in-person tax appointment is THE filing option for you?

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Even the Lone Wolf Kevin seeks occasional human contact, especially when it comes to filing his tax return. In a good handshake he trusts!

 

Last week, we profiled the Homeroom E-Return as part of our weekly blog series: “Which type of Homeroom tax filing option is perfect for you?

This week, we take a look at the in-person appointment with pros and cons (Yes!! and Oh, Poo!) through real-life inspired scenarios:

 

“I’m an old-school gal with a flair for reading people’s energy vibes. Basically, zero human contact is a deal breaker.”

 

YES!!

By going with the in-person appointment, you get the perk of the face-to-face experience by sitting through your tax filing. That is, 30-60 minutes of sensing the Lady in Charge Teya’s presence as she works her tax magic in front of you!

 

OH, POO!

You could be in your PJs….or at a human healing workshop. Submit your documentation electronically from wherever by requesting the Homeroom E-Return and let the pros take care of it. You have better things to do anyway, like saving emotional lives!

 

“I’m a go-getter guy with a sturdy handshake and a killer smile. If there is any chance this can help my tax return, I will take it.”

 

YES!!

Work on your physique while you wait for the Lady in Charge to file your return on the spot. The upright sitting position can do wonders for your back! Walk out with your head held high.

OH, POO!

Submitting online could have bought you more bathroom time as no appointment is required. Yes, more time to work on looking good!

 

“I’m the Queen of Questions. I need someone there to answer them ALL. I don’t care how much it costs!”

 

YES!!

While the in-person appointment is the priciest option, it allows you to talk to the Lady in Charge directly as she files your tax return. She is there to answer all your questions as she simultaneously works on your return.

OH, POO!

You could have requested the Homeroom E-Return and still had all your questions answered by scheduling a phone call. Sure the money is replaceable…but no one can bring back time…..

Look out for the blog post on dropping-off your tax documentation next week, or request an in-person appointment  here.

 

 

 

 

Is the Homeroom E-Return the ideal tax-filing option for YOU?

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The scrap piece of paper floating above the Number Cruncher Allysia’s head comes from a family of reused receipts, serving as the ideal platform for chicken scratch and in-house receipts.

Last week, we introduced our new blog series that will focus on Homeroom’s tax-filing options. This week, the Gatekeeper Anja zooms in on the Homeroom E-Return through various scenarios and pros and cons ( “Yes’s” and “Oh, Poo’s”) in digestible bites to help you pick the best choice for you!

“I cherish my lazy mornings and yearn for quality bedtime”

 

YES!!

The Homeroom E-Return allows you to file from wherever, whenever. All you need is a steady Wi-Fi connection and a laptop or phone. Simply, request the E-Return here and we will email you the instructions on how to securely submit your tax documentation.

OH, POO!

You won’t have a reason to pop into our fabulous office space on West Broadway to get the scoop on the Lady in Charge Teya’s recent wedding or to join in on the fun and casual daily stretches.

“I’m a ‘Best Bang For My Buck’ type of chick”

 

YES!!

By requesting the Homeroom E-Return, you will get the best Homeroom rate. This year, we are encouraging everyone to take advantage of our quick and convenient online filing option by extending last year’s rate to all online filers.

OH, POO!

Can there even be a con for more money in your pocket?

 

“I might be a tough dude on the outside, but I have a soft spot for the environment forever!”

 

YES!!

Save paper by going with our super cool online Homeroom E-Return option. All forms are electronically signable. No printer or scanner required. Do it all from your phone! No need to print countless pages of your tax return. We will securely email you your final copy, with an option to print if you reeeeally wish. This way, you are also saving gas, and helping make the world a cleaner, healthier, forever home for us all.

OH, POO!

Even the witty Anja could not think of a con for saving trees.

 

Request the Homeroom E-Return here, or stay tuned for next week’s blog post that will feature the in-person tax appointment.

Which type of Homeroom tax filing option is perfect for you?

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Homeroom’s Number Cruncher Allysia is on-the-go mom who treasures her free time. She also enjoys people. Which return is right for her?

Are you an on-the-go gal who prefers to drop-off and go, or do you tab through your daily tasks from wherever you can find a decent Wi-Fi signal and some java?

This month, we’re putting the spotlight on all of Homeroom’s income tax filing options: The Homeroom E-Return, the in-person appointment and drop-offs.

Stay tuned each week for fun and to-the-point posts that will highlight pros and cons of each type of return to help you pick the perfect filing option, and maybe even make you fall in love with tax season.

Whether you’re an online dude or a stay-until-it’s-done chick, we will help you pick the easiest and the most convenient option for you.

Easy, breezy, beautiful CRA online payment option

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“How do I pay the CRA online?”

Even the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is in with the online!

Whether you have 2016 taxes owing or  you are a business owner who needs to settle a debt, handle it like a boss and pay the CRA to avoid late fees and any legal trouble.

Here are some ways you can pay the CRA, whether you are an individual or a business:

Online (Recommended)

The CRA prefers to receive electronic payments. It’s fast and easy! You can do it two ways:

  • Make a payment using your financial institution’s online banking services:

    • Sign in to your financial institution’s online banking service (RBC Royal BankTD Canada TrustVancity, etc). Bank with another financial institution? See the complete list of banks that can be used on the My Payment service here.
    • Under “Add a payee,” look for an option such as: CRA (revenue)-current year-tax return. CRA (revenue)-tax amount owing. CRA (revenue)-tax installment.
    • See other available options under “Add a payee” that are not listed above here.
    • Business: Specify payroll, GST, Corporate Tax
    • Account number for personal: SIN number
    • Account number for business: Business number
  • Pay via CRA’s My Payment service:

    •  The amount that you can pay will be restricted by your daily banking limit for online transactions
    • Click on “Start my Payment” here to make an electronic payment.

Offline payment methods:

  • In-person (at the bank): You cannot walk into the bank to pay without the remittance voucher. The CRA does not mail them our anymore to encourage people to take advantage of their speedy, secure online payment option.
    • We can provide all our existing clients with a remittance voucher  for their personal taxes which they need to take to their financial institution to pay.
  • Photocopy an old one that you have, or  call the CRA to request it mailed to you. The process takes more than 10 business days, and that might cause you incur late penalties.
  • Mail a personal cheque: In the memo, indicate account number (SIN for personal or business number for self-employed).  Attach a letter to let CRA know what you are paying.

For information about your account balance and payments, including installments, see My Business Account.

When completing your return, you may calculate a balance owing on line 485Your balance is due no later than April 30, 2017. When a due date falls on a Saturday, a Sunday, or a holiday recognized by the CRA, your payment will be considered on time if the CRA receives it or it is postmarked on the next business day.

Generally, if this amount is $2 or less for 2016, you do not have to make a payment.

If you owe tax for 2016, and you file your 2016 return after the filing due date, the CRA will charge a late-filing penalty.

They start charging compound daily interest on any outstanding balance for 2016 starting May 1, 2017, until you pay it in full.

If you can’t pay the full amount you owe, take action right away and call the CRA arrange a payment plan.

For a full list of payment options, go here.

Get in touch with us if you have any concerns here.

When you owe, but your cash flow is low

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Once upon a time, this cup was filled to the brim, and a juicy olive accompanied the tooth pick that now quietly rests on the desk….

 

Nothing like receiving the little brown envelope from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) reminding you of your tax debt as you reluctantly stare at your empty fridge, which is a depressingly on-point indication of your current financial situation.

Here’s what you should do and/ or consider, like, NOW:

  • Make a payment arrangement: Call the CRA and set up an agreement to make smaller payments over time until your debt and applicable interest is paid. Ignoring the CRA will only amp up any financial and/ or legal consequences. IMPORTANT: The CRA may also charge interest compounded daily at the prescribed rate on any amount owing until your balance is paid in full.
    • Here are three ways you can work with CRA to set up a payment agreement today. No one likes to be ignored.
  • Considering bankruptcy? Go to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy for more information.
  • Business owner? You might qualify for taxpayer relief from penalties and interest charges and reduce your total amount you or your business owes. See  Taxpayer relief provisions if your business qualifies.
  • Financial hardship provisions: Does your debt repayment make it hard for you to pay for food, utilities, housing, and other life essentials? You may qualify for help under the financial hardship provisions.
    • It is your responsibility to contact the CRA if repaying your debt is causing you financial hardship. The CRA will take your situation into account when reviewing your request. For more information and to see if you qualify, call 1-866-864-5823.

Stretch your tax worries away, and request the Homeroom E-return today.

Tax high-fives!

 

 

Stay in the know: Income tax changes that might impact your 2016 return (and save you some dough!)

Homeroom’s Gatekeeper Anja Konjicanin decided to stay in the know this year by going to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website to see what’s new in the tax world in 2017. What she discovered blew her mind (in a good way!) While she’d rather be battling a Poké gym, she is aware taxes not only impact her but everyone else too! Go Anja!

 

Are you fiercely awaiting to get your 2016 taxes filed?

Tax-filing season is around the corner, and now is the prime time to learn about how you and your family can save come tax time!

Here ‘s what’s new for 2017 tax-filing season,  according to the CRA:

 

  • Working income tax benefit: Got a low income? You might be eligible for this refundable tax credit which was designed to provide tax relief to low-income Canadian workers. Eligible individuals and families may be able to apply for advance payments.
  • Buying or selling a home? If you are a first-time home buyer, you may be able to claim $5,000 for the purchase of a qualifying home in 2016. You may also be eligible to participate in the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP). Go here to learn more.
  • Students save with extra credits: File on time if you want credits and save big this term! Find out how here.
  • Children’s arts tax credit: While the additional amount of $500 for children eligible for the disability tax credit has not changed, the maximum eligible fees in the year is reduced from $500 to $250. Find out more here.
  • Child disability benefit: You might be eligible for this tax-free benefit if you care for a child under the age of 18 who is eligible for the disability tax credit.

Request the Homeroom E-return today and leave the tax filing to us!

We start processing tax returns on March 1.

Happy tax time!

What happens if you miss the deadline to file your personal income tax return?

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Homeroom’s Alan Chau bursts into panic mode at the thought of a missed tax deadline…Lucky for him,  the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) opens the option to file online on February 20, 2017. So, he’s got some time in his hands…

 

Planning on forgetting to file your tax return on time?

The result of failing to file your personal income tax return by April 30, 2017,  deadline can best be revealed with the scary emoji: 

It is mostly scary financially as the penalty can cost a hefty coin. Basically, your wallet will get the worst of it.

Here’s what will happen:

  1. The CRA will charge you daily interest starting one day after your return is due on any unpaid amounts owing for 2016. This includes any balance owing if the CRA reassess your return.
  2. The late-filing penalty is 5% of your 2016 balance owing, plus 1% of your balance owing for each full month your return is late, to a maximum of 12 months. If you were charged a late-filing penalty on a previous return eg: 2013, 2014, or 2015, your late-filing penalty for 2016 may be 10% of your 2016 balance owing, plus 2% of your 2016 balance owing for each full month your return is late, to a maximum of 20 months. That’s double the trouble!
  3. Your goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/ HST), including any related provincial credits, Canada child benefit payments (including related provincial or territorial payments), and old age security benefit payments may be delayed or stopped.

FYI: Since April 30, 2017, is a Sunday, your return will be considered filed on time if the received on or before May 1, 2017.

Tax Tip

Even if you cannot pay your full balance owing on or before May 1, 2017, you can avoid the late-filing penalty by filing your return on time.

Keep an open and honest communication, and the CRA will be your BFF: agreeable, reasonable and understanding. But ignore or cheat them in any way and expect a pricey strike-back.

Self-employed Individuals

If you carried on a business in 2016, your return for 2016 has to be filed on or before June 15, 2017. However, if you have a balance owing for 2016, you have to pay it on or before May 1, 2017. We recommend that all sole proprietors have their tax returns ready to go for May 1.

Find out how to pay the CRA here.

Happy tax season 2017!

How do you change your filed tax return?

 

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Whether it’s because your received a tax slip too late or hungoverly forgot to submit the documentation, here’s how you can make changes to an individual income tax return:

  1. Do NOT file another return for that year
  2. Wait for your notice of assessment before asking for changes to your return
  3. Go online (recommended, as it’s the speediest option!)
    • Log in to My Account
    • Click Change my return. You cannot use Change my return to change the following, according to the CRA:
      • a tax return that has not been assessed (see #2  above)
      • a tax return where nine reassessments exist for a particular tax year
      • a bankruptcy return
      • a return prior to the year of bankruptcy
      • carryback amounts such as capital or non-capital losses
      • a return of an international or non-resident client (including deemed residents of Canada, newcomers to Canada, and individuals who left Canada during the year)
      • the elected split-pension amount
      • a return where you have income from a business with a permanent establishment outside your province or territory of residence (you have to complete Form T2203, Provincial and Territorial Taxes – Multiple Jurisdictions)
      • If any of the above apply to you, see “Mail it”option (#5) below
    • Sign up for online mail to get instant access to your CRA records
  4. Contact your tax preparer (Homeroom loves to save the day!)
  5. Mail it: Send a signed letter to your tax centre asking for an adjustment to your return
    • By Mail: If you send a letter, make sure to give your name, address, and social insurance number and which tax year you want to adjust.
    • Send the following to your tax centre:
      • A completed Form T1-ADJ, T1 Adjustment Request, or a signed letter giving details of your request (including the years of the returns to be changed), your social insurance number, your address, and a telephone number where we can call you during the day
      • ALL supporting documents, including those for the original assessment, for your change

IMPORTANT: Send your current year return separately from any request to change a return for another year.

The Wait Game

  • Online: 2 weeks
  • Mail: 8 weeks

It may take longer if CRA is requesting more information or your request is sent in spring or summer.

When CRA review is done, you will receive:

  • a notice of reassessment showing any changes to your return and
  • a letter explaining why we did not make the changes you asked for or if no changes were needed

Want to receive a tax reminder?

Complete form below, and here’s to a perfect 2017 tax season!

Add me to the tax reminder list!

 

 

 

What if you don’t have all your tax slips?

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Do you have all your income tax information neatly clipped in a smooth-surfaced Manila folder ready to go for tax season 2017? (Bonus points for dressing up your tax folder in self-affirming stickers that scream “AWESOME!!” or, “YOU ARE A STAR”).

If you are stonily shaking your head, read on:

Slips are provided by your employer, payer or administrator.

You should receive most of your slips and receipts by the end of February. However, T3 (Statement of Trust Income Allocations and Designations), and T5013 (Statement of Partnership Income) slips do not have to be sent before the end of March.

Still, by the time March rolls in, you might find yourself seething at the sight of your mail carrier, who’s brought you EVERYTHING—even Bob’s mail, and you don’t even KNOW a Bob—but your precious tax slips.

Take a moment to:

  1. Breathe
  2. Repeat this mantra: I will not go to jail, I will not go to jail, I will not go to jail
  3. Read this blog post about how to fetch your slips

Here are three ways to get a copy of your tax slips for the current year:

  • Ask your employer, or the issuer of the slip, for a copy
  • Complete a T1013 form. This allows a third-party (your accountant..us!) to view your tax information online. We issue this form to all our clients to make tax season as painless as possible.

T1013, CRA

IMPORTANT: If you have to file a return for 2016, file it on time even if some slips or receipts are missing.

Obtaining a slip for prior years

If you need a T-slip for a prior year, you can get a copy by:

Ta-Da!! The CRA opens its online filing services February 20. Homeroom starts filing March 1!

You got this!!

Request the Homeroom E-return today here. We’ll take care of the rest!

 

 

 

Sole Proprietor: “Do I need to file my business and personal tax returns separately?”

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Running a small business is an eternal learning curve of aha moments. Whether you’re filing an income tax return as a startup or exploring entrepreneurship for down the road, here’s one of the most popular questions that come up every year come tax time.

 

“Do I need to file two tax returns?”

Every year, many new small business owners ask whether they need to file two tax returns: personal and business.

As a sole proprietor (SP), you need to report your business income on your T1 General (personal tax return) by filling out Form T2125: Statement of Business or Professional Activities (see below).

 

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Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) classifies business income as money you earn from the following:

  • profession
  • trade
  • manufacture or
  • undertaking of any kind, an adventure or concern in the nature of trade, or any other activity you carry on for profit and there is evidence to support that intention.

NOTE: This income may be earned from a business you operate yourself as a sole proprietorship or with someone else as a partnership.

While you need to file only ONE business tax return, here are some key points that are different from filing a personal return:

  1. Deadline
    1. While the deadline for individuals filing their 2016 personal income tax return is April 30, 2017, SPs get until June 15, 2017 to file their taxes. That is, if you or your spouse or common-law partner carried on a business in 2016. However, any monies owing are due on April 30.
  2. One extra form to complete
    1. All your business tax deductions are reported on Form T2125, Statement of Business or Professional Activities (pictured above).
  3. Business tax deductions
    1. Business expenses: Deduct only the business expenses from business income Eg. Meals, Travel, Equipment, Office Supplies relevant to your business.
    2. Home Office Tax Deductions: In order to deduct expenses, the work space must either be:
      • the place where the individual principally (more than 50% of the time) performs administration or employment duties,or

      • used on a regular and continuous basis, for meeting customers or other persons in the ordinary course of performing the office or employment duties.

      You can deduct expenses that are required to run your home office. Eg: Utilities and maintenance costs. If you rent your home, you can deduct a portion of your monthly rent. You can deduct the cost of office expenses (eg: Pencils, stationery, paper clips, stamps, etc). You have to claim the maintenance and repairs related to business use of work space in your home as business-use-of-home expenses. Learn more here.

    3. Private Health Services Plan Premiums: You can deduct the Private Health Services Plan (PHSP) Premiums you pay to insure yourself, your spouse and/or any dependents. Click here for more info.

Here is a list of items we need to complete your business return.

CRA Tip: You have to report all amounts of income that are required for calculating income for tax purposes. If you do not report all your income, you may be subject to a penalty of 10% of the amount of income that you did not report.
Save money by being on top of your bookkeeping.

Contact us here if you have any questions or concerns.

Happy 2017 tax season!

Ho, Ho, Homeroom Christmas Hours

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“Grab a prop”.  And so we did. The result were three hilarious photos jam-packed with Christmassy goodness. Homeroom Christmas party brought us to the magical Vancouver Christmas Market where we enjoyed mulled wine, pretzels and carousel rides. The team continued the fun at  Chambar with laughs and toasts! Photo courtesy of West Coast Photo Booth

 

With Christmas on the brain, a lot of our clients are asking about our hours of operation over the holidays.

While we will remain in full hustle mode (working from 8AM to 5PM, Monday to Friday) for most of the days like cool little bookkeeping elves, we will take some time off to guzzle down jugs of eggnog and insert funny family photos into lively Jib Jab videos.

So if you’re yearning to drop off your bookkeeping before the celebrations commence, please keep in mind the following changes in our hours:

  • Friday, December 23: We close the doors early at 3PM
  • Monday, December 26: CLOSED
  • Tuesday, December 27: CLOSED
  • Monday, January 2: CLOSED

We hope your holidays are merry and bright, and you welcome 2017 awesome-style, wherever you are!

Contact us here or call us at 604-739-9536 if you have any questions about your bookkeeping and ridding yourself of the last bit of 2016!christmasemojis

Think tax time before you go gaga over Black Friday shopping deals, no matter how fluffy

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If you’re like us at Homeroom, you’re feverishly pulling names for Secret Santa with your workmates, and thinking about snatching all the tantalizing Black Friday shopping deals.

We aren’t saying that those things are not important.  

However, there are a few more things that we recommend you think about before you body-surf your way to the cash counter or Jackie Chan your way through the mad crowds to that magical trinket that’s calling out to you,  to ensure that tax time doesn’t hurt your wallet (or your body) as badly as the holidays can.

Unless you’re  like the shoppers in the photo above, lugging human-sized plush toys through the packed fluorescent store aisles….. because teddy bears are forever-friends that can make everything better, even tax season!

Business Owners

If you are a sole proprietor and corporation owner it is time to start making sure you have everything in place to minimize your tax payable and to ensure a smooth transition into 2017, as December 31st is rapidly approaching.

Large Purchases

You should determine what business purchases you may want to make in the beginning of 2017. Once you have written your list take the time to consider if you can afford to make any of your listed purchases before December 31st.

If you can it will increase the amount you can write-off when completing your 2016 tax return.

Check Your Payroll

Take the time to look through your 2016 payroll liabilities.

Determine if there are any unpaid balances or discrepancies that you can remit/reconcile by Jan 15, 2017 (the date when final liabilities are due for 2016).

Failure to do this could result in your business being charged a penalty to rectify any errors that are found after your T4’s are submitted.

Note: Good bookkeepers will be doing this on your behalf.

Work Out Your Net Income

It is good practice to spend this time of year figuring out a rough estimate of what your net income was for the year.

This will allow you to determine if you have put aside enough savings over the year to pay your income taxes and if you haven’t it will at least buy you enough time to write a letter to Santa begging for money to be left in your Christmas stocking.

Personal taxes are on April 30th and corporate taxes are due March 31st so if Santa doesn’t pull through you still have a chance to save.

We recommend that you complete this task even if you are a salaried employee of your company as it will allow you to determine if you should hold off on paying yourself a bonus or if you should defer any salary payments.

Deferring some payments until January may help you stay in a lower tax bracket or at a minimum defer additional tax payments for another year.

If you need help getting your year end in order Teya our business consultant and tax expert is the lady to help. You can make an appointment by calling us directly on  604 739 9536  or by requesting an appointment through our contact us page.

Save money on your bookkeeping, Wonder Woman-style!

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When you are juggling a small business or start up and your life…. every penny counts.

Here are our top four tips for saving money on you  bookkeeping:

 

1. Organize your receipts

 

Keeping your receipts well organized can sometimes be difficult when you are busy running your business. As bookkeepers we are never surprised when a new client brings in bags or boxes of mangled receipts. However, if you are looking to make your bookkeeping as cost effective as possible then the easiest way to save money is to make sure your receipts are well organized so that the bookkeeper does not have to sort them for you.

In addition to sorting them, make sure they aren’t scrunched up into little balls. You may laugh but a lot of people do this and it takes a lot of time to un-scrunch them. Additionally scrunching them up can cause the ink to wear off which means that you are paying us to un-scrunch receipts that turn out to be blank pieces of paper.

Also if you want to claim the GST you paid on a meal as well as the tip (in addition to cutting down the amount of time we spend entering your data) make sure you staple together the original itemized restaurant bill to your credit/debit slip.

Sole Proprietors:

A common mistake a lot of first timers make is arranging their receipts by month instead of by category.

The fastest way for your bookkeeper to enter your bills into Quickbooks is if they are sorted by category. If you want to go one step further and really limit the amount of time a bookkeeper spends on you file, organize your receipts by company eg. Translink.

Corporations:

If you are incorporated then you need to organize your receipts by payment method (eg. Visa account, cash, business savings account) rather than by category so that it makes it faster for your bookkeeper to enter your bills and reconcile your accounts.

2. Keep your receipts/documents in one place

Create a filing system for your receipts/ documents and utilize that system so that you can ensure all paperwork is easily accessible.

Keeping your receipts all over the place can result in two issues.

  1. You will lose some receipts. This means your reporting will be inaccurate and you may miss out on including significant write-offs in your tax return.
  2. You will need to keep contacting your bookkeeper to let them know about additional receipts you have found or to ask them to hunt down important documents for you. This means that you will utilize more of their time and your fees will increase.

3. Save your online receipts to a flash drive, or upload them to LedgerDocs

These days a lot of businesses send email receipts. Although you have the option to forward all of your email receipts to your bookkeeper we recommend that you download your invoices and save them onto a flash drive that you can submit with your paperwork. This saves your bookkeeper time as they do not have to sort through all of your emails, in turn saving you money.

It also means that if your email crashes you have all of your important documents saved elsewhere.

If you’re using LedgerDocs, snap pictures of your receipts and forward them to your unique email address in real time. We’ll take care of the rest! Contact us here if you are interested in signing up!

4. Don’t keep receipts you can’t claim

Know what you can and cannot claim and know your categories. For example: in most cases YOU CANNOT CLAIM CLOTHES as an expense unless they are branded with the company logo or required safety wear.

Additionally, you cannot claim haircuts, facials or any other kind of personal maintenance even if you are a TV personality or the face of your company.

Placing receipts into your file that you can’t claim just means that your bookkeeper spends extra time sorting through receipts, remember time is money.

 

Regardless of what state your bookkeeping is in we are happy to help you. That said, we always recommend that you consider these points because it not only helps you save money it keeps your bookkeeper happy and guarantees that you will be added to their secret list of favorite clients.

If you need help getting organized contact us today.

Think before you cheat the Tax Lady!

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The Scary Tax Lady is watching……and she means business! 

 

Want to get freaked this Halloween season?

Google “tax audit”:

tax audit

Frightening indeed.

And it’s happening.

Extra tax auditors, tighter oversight, criminal investigations….

This year, The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is upping their game when it comes to catching the wicked tax dodgers, after recent reports revealed possible tax cheats and loopholes in the system, which certain offshore investors were also, apparently, tapping into.

Goosebumps-inducing, isn’t it?  Not if you report honestly come tax time.

The government is banking on catching the perps, which seem to have been slipping through the cracks. With a budget hike to bankroll tax hack crackdown , the CRA is already criminally investigating 20 cases of tax evasion and conducting 750 tax audits, according to Financial Post.

“The budget aims to recover $2.6 billion over five years through a pledge of $444.4 million to support the hiring of auditors and undertake investigations and verification of filings,” reported Business Vancouver.

The CRA crackdown:

The Canada Revenue Agency’s crackdown on tax fraud in the overheated real estate markets of Ontario and British Columbia is bearing fruit, with auditors recovering $240-million in unpaid taxes and $12.5-million in additional penalties over the past 18 months, new figures show.

The money is being recovered as auditors focus on several issues identified in a series of stories in The Globe and Mail, including property flipping, efforts to hide capital gains and avoid paying sales taxes, and false ownership statements. — The Globe and Mail

 

Need a trusty tax service to take care of your 2016 taxes? Get in touch with us here.

Stay on CRA’s good side, when it comes to  proper tax filing, because no one wants to be the receiver of THAT call……

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bravo Dog: Fun and smart coaching proves a treat for dogs and humans alike


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Renée Erdman, Owner of Bravo Dog, implements fun and effective coaching techniques for dogs and humans to create a healthy and happy living environment for all. Whether you are in puppy-training mode or tackling deeper aggression-issues with your canine, Renée is your go-to-gal! Photo courtesy of Bravo Dog | Words by Anja Konjicanin

 

Bravo Dog keeps tails wagging, and people jumping (out of joy!)

 

After 15 years of meticulous and grueling graphic design work, Renée Erdman, Owner of Bravo Dog and Certified Behaviour Consultant and Trainer, woke up with a realization: I don’t HAVE to do this for the rest of my life.

“I have always wanted to have my own business. Something to create and to call my own. I grew very tired of working for other people to help them reach their goals,” said Erdman. ” I wanted to do something in my life that gives back and makes a difference, even if it’s a small one.”

Bravo Dog joined Homeroom’s growing bookkeeping client roster this summer, and we couldn’t be more ecstatic about this amazing super woman entrepreneur and her business. Instantly, we had a light bulb moment: we will revive our Client of the Month series, starting with Bravo Dog!

We caught up with the awesome dog trainer last week. She dished on everything, from how she maintains a healthy work/life balance to tips for new entrepreneurs.

There’s even a training tip buried somewhere in there……

When did you open your business?

Bravo Dog is now two years old!

What do you enjoy most about being a business owner?

I can control whether my business is successful or not, whether I take on certain projects and, most of all, being proud of what the work can achieve for dogs and their people.

What do you like about the dog training/ coaching industry?

I meet some of the most fantastic people on the planet. They want to help their dog and their family to ensure everyone is happy and healthy. They are open to changing what they were doing that wasn’t working and they make themselves vulnerable a lot of the time by confiding in me about what is going on in their lives that is possibly affecting their dogs’ behaviour.

What’s your #1 motivator?

To reach the dogs and the people out there that have used questionable training methods and done more harm than good, that come to me with no hope. When I can help them change behaviour using scientific, reinforcement-based protocols proven by years of research and their dogs are happier and THEY are happier. That drives me to do what I do.

What’s your vision for the business?

To continue to build strong relationships with my clients and those that work in pet-related businesses. I do a lot of volunteer work with Whistler Animals Galore (WAG) and the BC SPCA and I really enjoy coaching and working with volunteers and staff. I would like to do more work with veterinarians in the future.

What advice do you have for other people who would like to start their own business?

Even with all the preparation in the world and money you need to have passion and drive for what you do. My motivation for Bravo Dog has nothing to do with money. Although I have to make a living, it’s something I would do for free if I could. If you can say that about your vision for your business then I can’t see how you CAN’T be successful.

How do you achieve a work/ life balance?

Ha, ha! That’s my biggest challenge. My work bleeds into every aspect of my life, it’s wholistic. It can be emotionally draining at times and burnout in this field is high. I took a vacation this year so I am going to try and do that every year. I take one day off a week NO MATTER WHAT. That means no appointments, whether I use it to catch up on work-related things is up to me but just ensuring I don’t book clients is healthy for me.

FUN FACT: Bravo Dog is the first company in the Lower Mainland to officially offer Canine Concierge Wedding services. YES!!!

Who could benefit from your services?

If you are thinking about getting a dog or already have one and you’re facing some challenges, I can likely help you.  A big portion of my work surrounds behaviour issues such as fear-aggression, but I also do a lot of work with puppies and the average dog that needs some help with manners.

TRAINING TIP: A new puppy can bring so much joy to a new family. But the start can sometimes be ruff. Here’s Dog Etiquette Made Easy.

Learn about Bravo Dog’s  training programs, puppy kindergarten, or one-on-one private sessions online here, or visit the store at 1493 Crown Street, #2, North Vancouver, BC.

Fall back into bookkeeping mode with three tips from the Number Cruncher

back to school, bookkeepers, bookkeeping, catching up on bookkeeping, entrepreneurs, financial organization, personal finances, September, small business owners, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, Quickbooks, Ledgerdocks, Tax Return Service Vancouver, Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Spiderman

Summer weather is a slowly-fading memory. Your bookkeeping needs some TLC. Spidey senses tingling…..

Look at the pile of receipts grinning sheepishly from across the room. Stare super hard. Concentrate. Envision the end result of turning it into a neat, categorized little accordion file your bookkeeper will love you for, and focus. Still there? Leave it to us, your cool and keen Bookkeeping Super Heroes!

Slay your bookkeeping this fall (before the holiday craze kicks in November), and be ahead of the ball for tax season 2017.

Whether you’re a small business owner or an awesome human living your life, here are three tips on how to catch up and stay organized, from Homeroom’s very own super hero Allysia Lewis, the Number Cruncher:

Allysia-

  1. If you are NOT already utilizing the fabulous LedgerDocs to take care of all your receipts digitally and you feel like you’re living inside of a bill blowing booth, do this: Get a swag organizational folder. That is, anything to hold all your documents neatly together. Preferably, with separators/ pockets. The Number cruncher recommends you hit up Dollar Store, Staples, London Drugs or Walmart.
  2. Collect ALL your documents (expenses, sales, bank and credit card statements). Look HARD to ensure no scrunched up bill welcomes New Year 2017 in between your car seat. Your tax preparer will not want late receipts once your tax return is in progress or has been finalized.
    1. IMPORTANT: Small business owners: Separate your business expenses from your personal expenses. 
  3. Organize all your receipts by category: Meals. Utilities, Auto (Gas, Repairs, Parking), Office Expenses, etc.

We file tax returns for self-employed and employed individuals! We might have the power to revive even the sloppiest bookkeeping, file 12 years worth of tax returns, but you will save money by following the steps above, and help yourself stay up to date with your bookkeeping! The true power lies in you!

Contact us today here to learn more about our bookkeeping services, or request an e-return here.

Top 10 influencers to follow right now

Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, Inc.com, Business in Vancouver, Forbes, Jennifer Moore, QBO, QuickBooks, LedgerDocs, Mashable, Success Magazine

Get all your ducks in a row with boundless inspiration!

Make work time a happy time, grow your business with industry tips, transform a bad day into an AWESOME day! Homeroom cooked up a little pick-me-up action to help make your day, no matter how sucky or amazing it already is!

Sometimes a self-affirming post-it stuck on your computer screen just doesn’t cut it. And other days you could use some help navigating the small business world.

Here are our favourite go-to blogs (in no particular order) for daily boosts of inspiration. They make us feel all summery inside…

Success Magazine

From goal-setting to positive thinking to reinvention to failure, Success Magazine is our go-to BFL (Blog For Life). A true to it’s word “road to success”!

Mashable Business

Mashable shares all kinds of cool stuff. Small Business tips, Startups, Advertising, Media. And when you’re tired of reading business posts, check out their Entertainment section for hearty LOL moments.

Jennifer Moore

We love to stalk our girl Jennie at QBOadventures.com to get tips on the number one bookkeeping software we use QuickBooks and learn about new apps in the bookkeeping industry.

Business in Vancouver (BIV)

There’s always something to see at BIV! Catchup on daily news briefs and weekly articles. Local company profiles, investments news, and more! Lady in Charge Teya gets hers mailed to her address weekly, and definitely notices when they do not come (it’s a long story, but when she moved addresses they stopped coming for a brief time, and Teya was sad.)

Entrepreneur

We give Entrepreneur a golden star! Highly recommend this for ALL Entrepreneurs  who are interested in growing their business/ launching a business. They even offer daily health tips to get you in the right mindset, so there is nothing holding you back from success, not even YOU!

LedgerDocs

You must have heard us talking about LedgerDocs SO SO SO many times before. But we love it. We use Ledgerdocs daily for inputting receipts into QuickBooks Online (QBO). Our clients use it. They adore it. But we also don’t forget to check out LedgerDocs blog to keep up with the program updates, and see what else is new!

Financial Post

It’s all kinds of awesome. We usually peep the Entrepreneur section. It never, ever fails to impress.

Forbes

Forbes opens up with a quote of the day. Nice, right? A shot of business inspiration in your face from the start! How can you not want to read on? We sure put in some good time reading Forbes.

Fast Company

They’ve got titles that hook, they grab you hard, and don’t let go! “6 thing you’re doing that you’ll seriously regret in 10 years.” Like, how can you not want to click on THAT?

INC.com

While similar to some of the blogs we mentioned above, INC.com is its own gem with lots of GREAT reads, and a definite inspiration booster. Three big YES, YES, YES for all things business, technology and more!

Like us on Facebook to keep up with industry topics and team updates!

What are you reading to get inspired in business and life?

 

Case Study: LedgerDocs integrates with QuickBooks Online for smarter data entry

LedgerDocs, QuickBooks Online, QBO, Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver

Imagine wedging a 10-hour bookkeeping project into two hours. That’s the dream, and it’s happening!

Work Smarter, Not Harder

At Homeroom, we are always on the lookout for smarter ways to save our clients time and money (and save paper because we’re hella hot that way!)

Enter LedgerDocs.

We’ve been using the program for around a year and have since had to upgrade our account at least five times to accommodate our growing client base. We currently have 11 active companies on LedgerDocs who’ve chosen to utilize the app to simplify their document management and stay on top of their bookkeeping in real time. It’s truly proven to be the ideal time saving integration for our clients.

This week, we put the magnifying glass on the LedgerDocs app:

The Hitch

  • Lack of automation with posting bills through LedgerDocs app
  • Slow loading issues
  • Page rotation problems

What we did about it

We were frustrated because we were spending too much time and didn’t know what to do, or if anyone would listen to us.

  1. We contacted LedgerDocs and said, “Hey, we got some suggestions on how to make your app better and help us run our business better.”
  2. We got a response we weren’t expecting: LedgerDocs invited us to their office to discuss our suggestions.
  3. Teya, Lady in Charge, went to the meeting.
  4. The LedgerDocs team showed a beta test that executed a major suggestion we really wanted.

The Fix

Teya was blown away that even before the meeting, LedgerDocs implemented one of our suggestions. She had a great experience at the LedgerDocs office and said the team was awesome!

Here is how LedgerDocs listened to its customer (us):

  • Able to manually enter the date numerically as opposed to clicking through the calendar: MM/DD/YY. No dashes needed. Simply, tab through.
  • Program will remember all previous receipt information and the only thing we have to change are the date and amount fields. This saves us 20 clicks per receipt.
  • More manual entry allows us, with our complex tax codes in BC, to post things with 100 per cent accuracy because it’s not Optical Character Recognition (OCR).
  • Rotating receipts before they fully load doesn’t cause the page to freeze (resolved the kill page problem).
  • Option to rename documents by hitting the Enter key.

Wish list for LedgerDocs:

  • Pulling bank/credit card statements automatically (automatic fetching)

Exciting upcoming  LedgerDocs feature: Ability to easily transfer Master Admin if necessary.

LedgerDocs is committed to creating a better user experience and listening to their customers to continuously improve their product.

Great job, LedgerDocs! We’re super happy to have a partnership with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case Study: How Hubdoc saves time by auto-fetching bank statements

Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, Hubdoc, LedgerDocs, QuickBooks, Intuit Canada, Intuit

This app is frigging auto-awesome!

 

We are always  searching for ways to make our practice more efficient and save our clients’ time. 

Today we are going to share with you a case study we did on the Hubdoc document collection and management app.

We had looked at it more than a year ago. At that time, it was not suitable for our business. Recently, we heard rave reviews from other bookkeepers and Intuit community and decided to reach out to them and see if it would be beneficial to use it.

Can of worms

How do we deal with customers who can’t give us bank and credit card statements regularly?

Clients who can’t provide us with regular statements get far behind and then it’s hard to catch up with many months of bookkeeping to do at once. This is disruptive for our work flow and clients don’t get regular reporting from us.

The silver lining

Hubdoc aromatically fetches all the statements and utility bills (BC Hydro, Fortis BC, etc.) in real time. Just link your accounts for automatic delivery. It uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to analyze your documents. It imports all your financial documents and exports them into usable data.
See below for a step-by-step process for linking your bank account to get regular statements automatically:

Hubdoc trial sharpened

Hubdoc is a great solution for fetching bank statements. Unfortunately, the OCR technology does not jive with BC’s  unnecessarily complex tax system (GST/ PST/ Liquor Tax/ Hotel Tax..) However, in Ontario or Alberta where only GST/ HST is charged this would be a complete package solution.

 

 

 

Employee or Contractor: CRA checklist


Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, CRA, Canada Revenue Agency, employment, employee, contractor, long weekend

Something to chew on over the long weekend……

Looking to hire additional help for your expanding business? Last week, we outlined key questions to ask yourself before expanding your sales force.

We noted that deciding between hiring a contractor or an employee is not as simple as figuring out your personal preference.  The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has a very comprehensive checklist that they use to determine if you should be paying your new hire as an employee or if it is OK to consider them a contractor.

This week, we are going over the checklist presented by the CRA  in more detail so that you can make sure you are paying people under the correct category to avoid nasty fines.

Tip: If you own a store or run an office and you don’t want to hire a contractor through a temporary  employment agency then you need to hire an employee and pay the applicable payroll taxes.

Determine who has control

Do you want to have control over the worker? Will you determine when, how and where the work will be completed? Do you expect them to complete the work personally?

According the CRA ‘It is the right of the payer to exercise control that is relevant, NOT whether the payer actually exercises this right’ so basically, if you have the option in any way, shape or form to control the employee’s time and how they complete the work then they are not considered a contractor.

Tools & Equipment

Who provides the tools and the equipment to complete the job?

If you provide your new hire with the tools and equipment they need to complete the job and are responsible for all repairs to that equipment then you need to hire an employee.

Subcontracting Work or Hiring an Assistant

Can the person who is working for you independently hire an assistant or subcontract out the work you have asked them to do?

 If the answer is no, then as you may be assuming by now, you have yourself an employee.

Financial Risk

 Will the worker be financially liable if they do not fulfill the contract? Does the worker actively market themselves? Does the worker perform a substantial amount of the work from their own workspace? Are they responsible for paying their own employees?

If you answered YES to these questions then you may be able to categorize your worker as a sub-contractor, if you answered NO then you guess it, you need to pay them as an employee.

Responsibility for Investment and Management

Does the worker have any capital invested in their business and an established business presence?

If they do then you are pretty safe hiring them as a contractor so long as the also meet majority of the above criteria.

Opportunity for Profit

Can the worker realize a profit or incur a loss? Is the worker paid a flat fee and incurs any expenses as a loss?

If the answer is NO then you need to hire the worker as an employee.

In the end if you are uncertain about your relationship with your new hire or you can’t distinctively answer majority of these questions with a YES or NO response (because the status of your relationship is unclear) then it is best to contact the CRA and get a ruling before you proceed.

This will save you a lot of grey stress hairs, and costs in the long term.

#ThursdayThoughts: Employee or Contractor?

CRA, Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, subcontractor, contractor, employee

Tear. It’s been a year. Your small business is growing before your eyes. You stare at your Profit and Loss statement for the hundredth time like a kid who’s been fervently measuring their height against the wall fixedly checks in on their progress, and your eyes fill with water. You really made it.

Your email  inbox is flooded with fan mail. It’s wonderful and scary. You want to respond to all of them, even the creepy ones, you want to be Superman/Wonder Woman/the Hulk combined, deliver on your promise of top-notch service but you need help.

You can finally afford it, but who do you hire: an employee or a contractor?

We recommend that before you hire anyone as an employee you start them out as a contractor for a trial period. This way you can test them out and make sure they work well with you, are reliable and will not steal business from you before committing to a long-term agreement.

Once the initial trial period is over, ask yourself the following questions to give some clarity when trying to determine the best way to proceed with your expansion:

What is the nature of the project?

Will you need to control the time of those who help you and the sequence in which they complete tasks?

  • Yes- Then you need an employee
  • No- Then you can consider a contractor

Are you supplying all of the equipment?

  • Yes- Then you need an employee
  • No- Then you can consider a contractor

Do you need a very specific task completed?

  • Specialized tasks are often completed by contractors however if it is an ongoing specialized task then you may want to consider hiring an employee.

How long will I be this busy?

Do you have a higher workload because you have taken on a short term, labour intensive contract?

  • Yes- Then you can hire a contractor
  • No- Then you should consider hiring an employee

Financial responsibility

Will the payment of the person you hire depend on you receiving payment for the overall contract?

  • Yes- Then you can hire a contractor
  • No- Then you should hire an employee

Training

Do you plan on providing training?

  • Yes- Then you should hire an employee
  • No- Then you can hire a contractor as they should already be trained.

What are the Financial differences

If you hire an employee

  • You must match your employee’s CPP which is 5% of their gross earnings.
  • You must pay 1.4 times the EI amount that the employee pays.
  • You must remit taxes on behalf of the employee.
  • You must supply your employee with the equipment necessary to complete the job.

If you hire a contractor

  • They are responsible for paying their own CPP and taxes.
  • They supply their own equipment.
  • You cannot fire them without paying out the contract, they also cannot quit without finishing the contract.

As attractive as it may appear to hire a contractor over an employee you must make sure that your contractor is considered a contractor under the rules set out by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or you risk experiencing heavy fines.

Stayed tuned for next week’s post where we will discuss the CRA employee or contractor checklist in more detail.

Save big on your bank fees

Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, Plooto, QuickBooks Online, QBO,

Plooto: It’s out of this world.

Do you want to save big bucks on your bank fees? You’d be saving more than just money. Tons of precious time goes into deciphering cryptic e-transfers that turn up on your monthly statement. Well, no more!

We were recently introduced to a new app Plooto, an online payment solution that takes the guesswork out of determining unknown e-transfers and saves valuable time and money. We were dazzled by its impressive features and functionality.

So we are shouting it from the rooftops: This is an invaluable, must-have program for all small business clients who process cheques, email money transfers and wire transfers regularly.

We strongly recommend this quick and seamless online payment option for ALL our clients.

Here is why:

Plooto is every business’ and bookkeeper’s dream come true:

  • Pay anyone, anywhere, anytime in one integrated cloud platform.
  • Receive payments faster: Your money gets deposited directly into your bank account in two to three business days.
  • Cross-border payments: You can send money online to any bank or credit union in the US with just the routing and account numbers of your payee.
  • Your bookkeeper will never ask you about unknown e-transfers.

Why you should get it:

  • No monthly fees. Just pay when you use it.
  • No setup or any hidden fees
  • No minimums
  • Unlimited transactions
  • Unlimited payees (contractors, suppliers, etc.)
  • Unlimited users and bank accounts

Pricing:

  • Payments in Canada: $1.00/ transaction
  • Payments to US: $9.99/ transaction

Click here to see how much you’ll save.

Below is an example of how much you will save if you process 50 wire transfers in a month:

Plooto

 

Contact us here to learn about getting started today!

Oh, snap! Submit your receipts electronically

Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, LedgerDocs, receipts, bookkeeping, Quickbooks Online, QBO, Quickbooks

Got a receipt? Capture it. Send it. Leave the rest to us, your #1 bookkeeper!

It’s that time of the month. Remember the often cumbersome task of lugging bags of receipts to drop off your bookkeeping at the Homeroom office? The days of collecting paper are over.

We now have an option to submit your receipts electronically to us using the LedgerDocs app, while still getting regular accurate and timely reports.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Snap pictures of receipts and income invoices with your phone OR email them to your unique email address.
  2. Save yourself a trip to our office.

Keep in mind, you only need to get documents to the inbox and our bookkeeper will take it from there. LedgerDocs works great with QuickBooks Online (QBO). We’ll sync your LedgerDocs account and publish all your expenses and income to your QBO file for instant use.

You can even chuck the receipts once they are in LedgerDocs. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) officially accepts PDFs as supporting documentation. We will provide you with a back up of ALL your receipts if you decide to move on down the road. Hey, bookkeeping just got WAY cooler.

Three ways to get your documents to LedgerDocs:

  1. Upload within LedgerDocs. Log in at www.ledgerdocs.com with your user ID and click on the green “upload to inbox” button.
  2. Use your cell phone (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc) by taking a photo and emailing it to the necessary email address. Download the LedgerDocs app on your phone for free.
  3. Forward attachments directly from your email (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc) using your unique LedgerDocs email address, which we will provide.

Contact us here if you would like us to set this up for you.

Happy snapping!

 

Canada Day: Stat holiday pay. Are you eligible?

Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Quickbooks, stat holiday pay, stat pay, holiday pay, Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, Canada Day, Happy Canada Day

And it smells groovy….

Fireworks, road trips, bubbles, smiles and fun. The long weekend is almost upon us with Canada Day celebrations around practically every corner.

So before you lock up the office to celebrate Canada’s big 149th this Friday, July 1st, let’s figure out if you are eligible for statutory holiday pay.

In B.C., an employee is eligible if they’ve been employed for 30 calendar days before the stat holiday and have worked or earned wages on 15 of those 30 days. So if your employee, Susie, began work on June 1st and has worked 15 days since June 1st, she gets paid for Canada Day, whether she works on Canada Day or not.

Eligibility is determined by days worked, rather than hours, meaning it applies to both full-time and part-time employees, although the 15-day stipulation rules out most part-time employees.

At Homeroom, if we’re taking care of your payroll, it’s up to you to tell us which employees are eligible or not. This policy might vary from bookkeeper to bookkeeper, so make sure you know!

If you’re taking care of it yourself, here’s how you’d figure out Susie’s stat pay for Canada Day. Take the total hours she worked in the 30 days before the stat holiday and divide it by the number of days worked, then multiply by her rate of pay. Let’s say Susie worked 60 hours in 16 days and earns $25 per hour, she would be paid $93.75 on Canada Day (60/16 x 25 = 93.75).

Now let’s say that Susie is a keener and she agrees to work on Canada Day. Eligible employees are paid time-and-a-half for the first 12 hours on a stat holiday. This is in addition to the stat pay that we calculated in the previous paragraph.

However, all this changes if your employee worked less than 15 days since June 1st. In that case, they’re not eligible for stat holiday pay and if they work a stat holiday, they’re paid as if it were a regular work day.

In B.C., there are 10 stat holidays: New Years Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, B.C. Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day, and Christmas Day. As an employer, you can choose to give more, such as, Easter Monday or Boxing Day, and can work out a custom agreement with your employees for these days.

Incorporation Series: How do I pay myself if I’m incorporated?

incorporating small business, incorporation, Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, Quickbooks, CRA

Balling! When your wallet fat from all that cheddar…..

 

You got 99 problems and your incorporated small business ain’t one? Great. Now it is time to pay yourself. Because you can.  Unlike sole proprietors, owners of a corporation no longer have to claim all of the income from the business as personal income.

“How do I pay myself if I’m incorporated”

You can pay yourself in a variety of ways.

1. Salary

You can add yourself to the company payroll and receive a T4.

This is a more expensive option as the company will have to pay all required payroll taxes on your behalf. Owners are exempt from EI but must pay CPP like other employees.

However, choosing this option will allow you to accumulate more room in your RRSP’s which you can utilize to save on personal taxes once you are making the big bucks.

Additionally if you are the lower income earner and need to deduct child care expenses from your taxable income you will need to be pay yourself with a salary.

2. Dividends

You can declare the money you have taken from the company as a dividend.

To do this you will need to get your bookkeeper or accountant to figure out how much money you took from the business throughout the financial  year and issue you with a T5 from the corporation.

Your personal tax rate will be lower than if you take a salary.

Important Note

As tempting as it may be to pay  yourself as a contractor WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS OPTION.

Anytime the CRA feels they are missing out on receiving taxes they feel they are entitled to ( which in this case would be payroll taxes)  they will, put quite simply, come after you!

For more information about the penalties for incorrect employee classification check out our blog post Employee VS Contractor – CRA Penalties for incorrect worker classification

In the end we recommend that you talk to your bookkeeper or accountant before you decide how you are going to pay yourself so that you can choose an option that is the most tax effective based on your income requirements.

If you are considering becoming incorporated and would like to discuss your options face-to-face with Teya our business consultant and tax expert you can make an appointment by calling us directly on  604-739-9536  or by requesting an appointment through our contact us page.

Incorporation Series: I’m incorporated. Now what?

Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, Quickbooks, Incorporation, Incorporating Small Business Vancouver

Big yellow sign, you feel me, bro….

You did it. You put months of heavy contemplation into concrete action and incorporated your small business. *Confetti drop*

Now what?

We hope that this post will help guide you to successfully move forward with your new corporation.

First things first

You need to pick a date when you will start operating under the corporation. Usually the 1st of your chosen month is recommended. Once you have picked a starting date you need to allow around 2-4 weeks to get the following accomplished;

  • You need a completely new set of books/accounting records.

    • Your old books cannot be rolled over to your new company, no if’s but’s or maybe’s. The time of the year when you were a sole proprietor will be included in your personal tax return, while any business expenses that were incurred after you became incorporated will be included in your corporate tax return.

  • Figure out how you are going to organize all the new paperwork

    • Now that you are  incorporated the amount of paperwork that you will need to deal with is going to increase tenfold so you need to have a good filing system in place to manage everything.

What you need to change

There are three very important areas of your business that you will need to change.

  1. Since a corporation is a separate entity, you now need to apply for all new tax registration numbers including GST, PST & payroll numbers.

  2. You will need to apply for a new WorkSafe BC account. Make sure to include your current WCB number so that you get your rate information transferred over.

  3. You will need to open new bank accounts and apply for a new company credit card.

TIP: While doing this we recommend that you utilize this time to develop a relationship with your banker as it will come in handy later.

Other Important Reminders

  • Remember to put your new GST and PST numbers on your invoice template

  • Track your accounts receivable and accounts payable separately before and after your designated start date for using your corporation.

  • Inform your insurance company to update the policy with your corporate business name.

  • You may need to put some of your personal cash into the corporate bank account. Make sure that you track this.

If you are considering becoming incorporated and would like to discuss your options face-to-face with Teya our business consultant and tax expert you can make an appointment by calling us directly on  604-739-9536  or by requesting an appointment through our contact us page.

Incorporation Series: Should I Incorporate?

Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, Small Business, Grumpy Cat, Quickbbooks, Incorporation, Small Business Incorporation

To incorporate or not to incorporate?

The answer is not so clear-cut. And the looming questions can buzz around your head like fruit flies at a gravesite of a discarded lollipop. It’s enough to turn even the jolliest person into Grumpy Cat.

There are several factors to consider, so before you turn into a furry creature cursed to look like the angry emoticon (>_<) for all eternity , let us provide you with the tools you need to weigh up the pro’s and con’s of incorporating. Let us answer that lurking question experienced by most successful business owners ‘should I incorporate?’ and help easify your life!

Positives of incorporating

Limiting Liability

When you are a trading as a sole-proprietor your personal assets can be seized to pay your business debts which is a scary thought that can place unwanted stress on you and your family.

If you incorporate your business it becomes it’s own separate entity in terms of liability and financial responsibility.

This means two very important things. Firstly, it means that although your business is still liable for any debts it incurs, as a shareholder you are not personally liable unless you have given a personal guarantee.

Secondly, it means that the business essentially has an unlimited lifespan. Unlike a sole proprietorship which begins and ends with the owner, corporations can continue to exist regardless of ownership changes.

Tax savings

Additionally businesses that trade as a corporation are taxed at a lower rate of only 13.5% which is a great incentive for sole proprietors that are earning between $60,000-$100,000 on their personal tax returns.

Negatives of incorporating

Although incorporating your business may seem very appealing thanks to the promise of lower tax rates and limited liability there are some downsides that need to be considered, which are::

More government reporting

Don’t think for a minute that you will get lower tax rates without having to pay the price with government paperwork.

Increased accounting costs and responsibilities

If you were concerned about the cost of managing your books and taxes as a sole proprietor chances are high that you will find the increase in cost quite shocking once you incorporate.

More tax returns.

Once you incorporate you will have to file a corporate tax return AS WELL AS a personal tax return

The cost of incorporating

If you have weighed up the positives and the negatives and decided that incorporating your business is the way forward then you will need to budget in the following costs.

Setting up the corporation

This will cost roughly $1000 through a lawyer, which is recommended if there are multiple shareholders or assets to transfer. Alternatively you can incorporate on your own through the BC Corporate Registry for $350 using their online facility.

Maintaining the books

Annual Accounting costs ranging from $2,000 for a simple corporation that experiences minimal activity to $5,000 for an average small incorporated business.

Although this may seem high you really shouldn’t underestimate the value of a good accounting team. This is one area of your business you need to make sure is solid.

We hope that this overview has given you a stronger understanding of why businesses incorporate. In the end we recommend seeking professional advice before taking the plunge and incorporating your business. It is in your best interest to make sure that you incorporate at the best time and set everything up correctly so that you avoid paying penalties or experiencing issues in the future.

Stay tuned

In our next post we will be discussing what happens after you incorporate your business and the steps you need to follow.

If you are considering becoming incorporated and would like to discuss your options face-to-face with Teya our business consultant and tax expert you can make an appointment by calling us directly on  604 739 9536  or by requesting an appointment through our contact us page.

Incorporation Series: If you like it, put an Inc. on it

Vancouver Small Business, Vancouver Bookkeepers, Vancouver Small Business Bookkeeper(s)

Recently, a lot of people contacted us about whether or not they should incorporate their small business. So, we are turning to our trusty Homeroom blog to provide you with handy tips and advice with weekly posts on just that: the ABCs of incorporating your business.

While there are many advantages to adding “Inc.” to your business name, there are also a myriad of risks when you take the Inc. plunge at the wrong time, including costly mistakes that can hurt you financially if you don’t fulfill  all of your responsibilities with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

In order to help you gain a better understanding of this topic we will discuss the following topics over the next few weeks:

Should I incorporate?

This post will discuss the costs involved, the criteria you should consider before taking the plunge and the common mistakes people make when deciding to incorporate.

I’m incorporated. Now what?

We will help you understand the process, what decisions you need to make and what reporting needs to take place.

How do I pay myself if I’m incorporated?

This topic is pretty self explanatory. Paying yourself is really important and once you incorporate you want to make sure you do it correctly.

We hope that our series on becoming incorporated will allow you to gain a better understanding of what being incorporated means for you as an individual business owner and for your business.

If you are considering becoming incorporated and would like to discuss your options face-to-face with Teya our business consultant and tax expert you can make an appointment in July by calling us directly on  604-739-9536  today or by requesting an appointment through our contact us page.

 

Teya Mali talks books with Globe and Mail

small business vancouver, slamm business, bookkeeping, Quickbooks, income tax return, taxes, efile, business, sole proprietorship, corporation, books

If your box of receipts is shapeshifting into a pot of paper flowers, exuding a musty book smell, this article is for you. Use the most cost-effective and fast categorizing approach so that you can account for every receipt when it matters the most, and save some dough for real flowers.

Paul Attfield’s article points out the key to winning your bookkeeper’s heart

“It’s actually faster to sort that way as opposed to trying to find the date on each receipt,” said Homeroom’s Lady in Charge Teya Mali in the recent Globe and Mail article on the importance of record-keeping in business. Teya was not talking about the throw-and-forget approach illustrated in the above left photo.

Find the best way to categorize receipts, why you should keep a mileage logbook, and more handy tips, to run a healthy business in the full article, “In record-keeping, consistency is king,” by Paul Attfield.

 

You get a raise! BC’s minimum wage jumps to $11.25 by 2017

Raise Vancouver
While the petition to raise the minimum wage in British Columbia to $15 still seems to be an active fight for change, BC’s minimum wage is climbing out of the chart dumps. Dubbed, ‘Lowest in Canada,’ the 80 per cent increase will place our beautiful BC in the whopping seventh place, with an additional small-business tax rate reduction of 40 per cent in 2017-2018.

Nice, eh!

What does this mean for you?

The increase will come in two stages:

  1.  The current minimum wage in BC of $10.45 per hour will go up by 40 cents to $10.85 in September 15, 2016
  2. Then it will raise to $11.25 in September 15, 2017

Liquor servers (who get  $9.20 per hour ) will get the same wage increases on the same dates.

Though the wage hike is not being celebrated by everyone, it’s a definite step up!

office-raise-the-roof

Raise the roof to that!

 

 

You can do it: File your taxes on time!

baby crying tax

Wah, scream, scratch. Tax season can make the best of us rip out our hair in a deadline frenzy, then hurl our bodies into a dark corner, where no one (*cough* CRA *cough*) can ever find us, ever, ever again.

Do this instead.

File and pay your taxes on time otherwise you risk serious consequences, especially if you owe the CRA money. And while the task can seem daunting at best, the CRA can be pretty reasonable, but, just like a hungry baby, they do NOT like to be ignored.

Income Tax CRA Deadlines

  • The personal income tax deadline is April 30 IF you have taxes owing. If you don’t have taxes owing, you are not required to file a return. However, we recommend that you do so anyway to get your refund and stay eligible for government benefits such as GST cheques, child tax benefits, premium assistance for MSP and Fair Pharmacare.

  • The income tax deadline for self employed individuals is very deceiving. If you don’t owe taxes you have until June 15th to file HOWEVER if you owe taxes you need to pay them prior to April 30. without doing your tax return you have no idea what is owing, so we recommend that you file your taxes for the April 30 to avoid interest.

GST

  • Annual GST payment and filing for  incorporated companies is due March 31st, 2016

  • Annual GST payment and filing for sole proprietors is due  April 30th, 2016 despite the fact that your remittance form will say June 15 as the due date. Please see above regarding deceiving deadlines for self employed individuals.

Employer Deadlines

  • T4’s must be filed with the CRA and given out to your employees before Feb 28 2016 if you want to avoid late penalties, which are $25/day.

What are installments??

So you have filed your taxes and discovered that you owe the CRA a lot more money than you expected. You feel your heart sink, you cry for a while and you curse the government for ruining your life.

Just as you finally begin to accept your fate and begrudgingly drain your bank account to pay off your mammoth bill, you receive an installment notification from the CRA. This notification informs you that due to the fact that you owed the government more than $3000 on your previous tax return you are now required to make quarterly tax installment payments (pay your taxes in advance) for the current year. If this isn’t bad enough the fine print will notify you that the first payment is due right away and that failure to pay the amounts requested by their due dates will result in interest being charged.

Although not every person with a bill over $3000 will receive this notification, you should plan to receive it so that you are mentally AND financially prepared.

Important Information about Installments

  • If you DO NOT get an installment reminder, you DO NOT need to pay installments, unless you would like to voluntarily.

  • Installment payments are typically due in March, June, September, and December.

  • You will get a statement of installments paid from the CRA that you will need when you file your taxes.

  • Installment interest will be charged if you receive an installment reminder and you fail to pay the amount owing in full by the due date.

Exceptions to the Rule

If you anticipate your income for the year is going to be much lower than your previous years income eg. you are going on maternity leave and won’t be working for 5 months of the year.

Contact the CRA and discuss this with them. If your tax owing at the end of the year is below $3000 then you won’t be penalized for not paying the installments.

If you need help filing your income tax please don’t hesitate to contact Homeroom SBS today.

Happy tax season!

Job Alert: Looking for a fabulous bookkeeper!

career search, job search, bookkeeping, quickbooks, small business, income tax, vancouver bookkeeping, vancouver careers, hiring Vancouver

Riding on the back of the shear excitement of another successful tax season, we knocked down a chunk of the back wall and increased our office space by an entire room. The Lady in Charge Teya finally gets the much needed privacy of her own office, and we get more legroom.

Yes, more room for awesome!

So, what does that mean for you?

We are looking for a fabulous part-time bookkeeper to join our growing  team of six, and take over the lonely, soft, leathery chair with your name on it.

Our hiring process is simple. We don’t bother with resumes, and wasting paper.


Do this instead:

  1. Click the pink button below
  2. Follow the instructions carefully

Reply here by answering the following questions:

  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • If you could be an animal what would you be and why?
  • How many years experience do you have working with Quickbooks?
  • Why do you want to work at Homeroom?

Homeroom Small Business Solutions is a growing, fast-paced tax preparation and bookkeeping company based in Vancouver. We pride ourselves on providing quality customer service, accurate and honest bookkeeping and great employee benefits.

We love what we do and want to find additional team members who are passionate about providing great customer service, set and achieve high standards of work, pay close attention to detail and who are loyal, motivated and passionate about life and business.

In return we will offer you a stable, flexible, supportive workplace with opportunities for growth.

We currently have a part-time position available, with a potential for full-time, for a qualified bookkeeper starting mid May.

Salary + Benefits will depend on experience.

We also pay commission for any clients you bring to the company.

Must have:

  • Min 1 years experience using Quickbooks Desktop
  • Strong understanding of GST and PST
  • Strong understanding and ability to troubleshoot bank reconciliations
  • Patience to train and answer questions from junior bookkeepers on our team
  • Experience processing payroll
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to quickly learn and adapt to changing technology
  • Ability to work well within a team environment
  • A willingness to learn new bookkeeping procedures
  • An optimistic, friendly & supportive attitude
  • Ability to enter data in a timely and accurate manner

Bonus:

  • Experience using Client Track or similar databases
  • Experience using Quickbooks Online
  • Ability to generate and read reports

If you believe you are the perfect fit please send us an email answering the questions at the top of the ad. No phone calls or drop ins.

Job Type:

Part-time

Required experience:

  • Accounting: 1 year
  • Bookkeeping: 1 year

 

Tax tip: Claiming childcare expenses

Ryan Gossling, income tax, childcare expenses, child care expenses

A lot of new mamas (and dadas) come to Homeroom unsure about what childcare expenses they can and can’t claim come tax time. 

Below, we look at eligible childcare costs, the amount you can deduct and which parent claims the costs. 

So, what constitutes a childcare expense?

Childcare expenses are amounts you or another person paid to have someone look after an eligible child so that you or the other person could:

  • carry on a business either alone or as an active partner
  • earn income from employment
  • attend school under the conditions identified under Educational program
  • carry on research or similar work, for which you or the other person received a grant

The child must have lived with you or the other person at the time the transaction incurred for the expense to qualify. Usually, you can only deduct payments for services provided in Canada by a Canadian resident. See other situations for exceptions.

What are eligible childcare expenses?

  • Daycare/ day nursery schools or caregivers providing childcare services. An official childcare expense receipt must be provided.
  • If you employ a nanny, those costs are deductible. Contact us if you need help with payroll source deductions here.
  • Boarding school or overnight sports schools/ camps where lodging is involved (see note in Part A of Form T778)
  • Day camp/ sports school expenses where the primary goal of the camp is to care for childrenNote: An institution offering a sports study program is not a sports school.

Children’s sports and arts credits:

Any program that runs for minimum six consecutive weeks would apply. The maximum amount is $1,000 for sports and $500 for arts (eg. swimming lessons, soccer, dance, hockey, theatre, music and art classes.)

Good to know:

  • The child must have been under 16 years of age (or under 18 years of age if eligible for the disability tax credit) at the beginning of the year in which the eligible expenses were paid.
  • You can claim an additional amount of $500 for each eligible child who qualifies for the disability amount and for whom you paid a minimum of $100 in registration or membership fees.
  • Two parents can claim eligible fees for the same child, as long as they do not claim the same fees and the combined amount is not more than $500

Note: Save your receipts, and dig up more info on the children’s arts tax credit here, and for the children’s fitness tax credit here.

Is your child eligible?

An eligible child is a child of you or your spouse or common-law partner, or a child who was dependent on you or your spouse or common-law partner. Net income in the year was less than or equal to the federal basic personal amount ($11,138 in 2014, $11,327 in 2015).  The child must have been under 16 years of age at the beginning of the year, unless the child was mentally or physically disabled.

Who claims the childcare costs?

When the child lives with both parents, the parent with the lower net income (or zero net income) must claim the expense deduction. The supporting parent with the higher income may claim a deduction only during the period in which the lower income spouse or common-law partner is mentally or physically infirm, confined to a bed or a wheelchair, attending full- time at a secondary school or a designated educational institution or incarcerated in a correctional facility.

The amount that can be claimed for childcare is subject to special rules when the lower income spouse or common- law partner is in part-time attendance at a designated educational institution. Special rules also apply for single parents and those who have separated during the year or are divorced.

How much can you deduct?

You can deduct up to $8,000 annually for each child who is aged six or under at the end of the year, and up to $5,000 for each child aged seven to 15 at any time in the year.

This limit goes up to $11,000 annually for each child who is eligible for the disability tax credit (see topic 80). Also, the total deduction can’t exceed two-thirds of the salary or business income of the parent who is required to claim the deduction. However, it’s limited by the actual amounts paid in the year for childcare.

Still have questions? Comment below for a quick response, or call us at 604-739-9536.

The truth and lies about GST/ HST

GST pinata

Launching a small business can feel like swinging blindly at a big, colourful, juicy piñata: a hit or a miss, but if it’s a strike, you get all the yummies and toys inside, along with some lame confetti and papier-mâché filler.

The lackluster, more boring, of the bunch become the key steps and financial decisions to starting a new business. But, without careful planning, you might as well be that person with their eyes shut, hopelessly flailing their stick into open air.

One of the things you need to consider is whether or not you need to charge Goods & Services Tax (GST).

We hope our handy tips and our clarification of some common myths helps you move forward in your small business planning.

 What is GST?

  • GST is an input tax: Meaning that the amount that you PAY to others reduces the amount that you OWE.

Why would you register for GST before making sales of $30,000?

  • If you are starting your small business and incurring high start-up expenses. You can get a refund on the GST that you pay on those expenses.

  • Some potential clients might not want to do business with you if you don’t have a GST number.

Why would you hold off from registering?

  • Keep your paperwork simple for as long as possible. If you register you will need to hire a bookkeeper to make sure your returns are correct, filed properly and on time.

  • When you bill your clients your total will appear cheaper than a competitor who charges GST.

 It’s July and I’ve just made sales of $30,000. What do I do now?

  • By law you have 3 months AFTER you have made sales of $30,000 to register and start charging GST.

  • You must include your GST number on all your invoices.

  • You must keep all records of GST charged and paid for 7 years

Here are four common myths about Goods and Services Tax:

Myth: Every small business must register for GST.

Fact: Every small business that has made GROSS SALES of $30,000 in a calendar year must register.

Myth: I am registered for GST but my sales are less than $30,000 so I do not need to charge my customers the tax.

Fact: If you are registered, then you are obligated by law to charge all of your customers GST.

Myth: GST and HST are two different taxes.

Fact: In fact they are the same tax being paid to the same agency (Canada Revenue Agency). The only difference is that in BC we now charge GST of 5%; before we charged HST of 12%.

Myth: My Business number is different from my GST number.

Fact: Your GST number is your Business number (9 digits) with the ending RT0001.

Avoid CRA penalties

Income Tax Filing Vancouver

Unleash your inner beach diva mid tax season, and rejoice!

Whether you’re ripping the waves in Tofino, or lounging at home with a bird’s nest do, file you e-return whenever, wherever.

Our quick and easy electronic tax filing option is a great alternative for anyone who prefers hassle-free, no appointment necessary service.

April 30th filing deadline is approaching as quick as the Easter bunny. Save time and paper, and avoid CRA penalties.

And don’t let taxes stop you from quality time on the beach.

Fill out the form below, and request an e-return today!

If you know someone who needs help with their taxes, please forward this post to them. We always appreciate your referrals. 🙂

Request an e-return

 

Fix and flip: Three things you need to know about house-flipping in Vancouver

house flipping vancouver

I see a  beautiful, white 10-bedroom villa, with a long, spacious veranda that leads to a vineyard, overlooking a flowery hillside. The birds are playing in the field, chirping my favourite tune, with crops that are gently swaying in the warm summer breeze. Life is awesome. 

They say, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”  When it comes to flipping houses, it comes down to this:

  1. Have a vision
  2. Be brave
  3. Sell for profit

What the flip?

It’s when you see that junky house or an apartment and envision something different in that space, be it new, shiny tile floors and a fresh coat of paint, or a complete and utter gutting of the space.

So you buy it, spice it up, and sell it for profit. Flipping easy, right?

Suddenly, that run-down house becomes a mansion and that dude refreshing himself with a cold beer in front of it turns into a swimming pool. At least in your imagination they do, for now…..

Here’s the bare bones of house/ apartment-flipping:

  1. Find cheap land/ apartment. Without a good deal, there will be no margin for profit once the renovations are complete and all the other fees are paid out.
  2. Don’t spend more than 40-50K. If you are flipping an apartment that is 500-800 square feet, you should not be spending more than 40-50K on the renovation before you sell or you won’t be able to sell it for a high enough price and you might lose money.
  3. Rent it, don’t sweat it. House-flipping is less popular in Vancouver than apartment-flipping. Developers and homeowners can usually make more money just buying and holding the land for 6-12 months or more while renting the house, and making a significant profit of the appreciation of the land.

Tip: Like anyone engaged in the intricate art of renoing, you will need a cool bookkeeper to manage your expenses, file your GST return and make sure your taxes are filed properly.

That’s where we come in.
We can definitely connect you with some kick-ass professionals in the industry, or just take on your books!
Happy house-flipping!

 

 

 

 

Avoid procrastination, after reading this

IMG_5835

Even The Number Cruncher, Allysia Lewis gets occasionally sidetracked by the internet……

Virtually everyone is prone to procrastination. A new Donald Trump meme can induce low-brow fun and hysteria even for the most focused cat person ….and put that important tax preparation on the back burner.

The Lady in Charge Teya was interviewed by the CBC about the topic of procrastination. This was fitting for two reasons:

A lot of people procrastinate about organizing their bookkeeping and taxes (even when the tax deadline April 30, 2016 is peeking like a creepy clown behind a wall). As a the owner of a bookkeeping company Teya’s job is to help business owners become more organized and meet their CRA submission deadlines.

As perpetual procasters, we have found that Teya has an impeccable ability to avoid distractions (such as social media) and get things done. (If we could nominate her for the “least likely to procrastinate” award, we would.)

You can get there, too–we all can! Stick to the following five tips to really increase your productivity.

1. Outsource

Starting a new business can be quite costly so it is common for business owners to take on the initial roll of “everything to everyone” in order to keep costs low.

Although this isn’t a bad way to start, as time goes on and the business grows this workload can begin to become unbearable. This is where the procrastination starts.

According to an article by Phyllis Lokki in the New York Times the larger your workload the more likely you are to become overwhelmed and start procrastinating.

This is why outsourcing certain tasks is really important. It allows you to reduce your workload, free up some of your time and focus on your strengths.

For example: Teya has outsourced writing this blog to me because she is so busy making sure your taxes are filed on time 🙂

2. Lists, lists, lists and more lists

Write everything down and prioritize your important tasks. It is easy to use small tasks as a method of procrastination because they give a false sense of productivity.

Think about the revenue each task will bring you and then prioritize accordingly.

For example: Vacuuming your bedroom floor, although necessary, will bring $0 to your business so it should be last of your list. Completing work for your client will bring in revenue so it should be a priority (you can then use this income to outsource your vacuuming)

3.Limit your social media usage

This is easier said than done, especially when social media is so prominent in most people lives.

Time your usage. Create a social media plan that allows you to fit your daily social media into 20 minutes per day and stick to it OR outsource your social media management to an employee or to a firm.

It is very easy to get caught in a social media vortex. All it takes is for you click on a one link and before you know it 2 hours have passed.

4. Make sure you take breaks

Breaks allow you to refresh your mind. There are several studies that reveal taking a break to eat your lunch or to go for a walk actually increases your productivity.

So stop eating at your desk and enjoy some fresh air.

5. Only check your emails twice a day

Emails are often a procrastinators drug of choice. Don’t get me wrong they are important. However,  it is easy to fall into the trap of checking them 300 times a day.

You need to limit the time you spend with your emails so that you can focus on other important tasks.

Most people are happy/ pleasantly surprised by a same day turnaround. So even if you only respond to emails once in the morning and once in the afternoon that is usually all you need to ensure positive feedback from your customers.

A great tip suggested by Timothy Ferriss author of The 4 Hour Work Week is to set up an email response that lets your clients know exactly when and on what day you check and respond to your emails so you can manage their expectations.

So you think you can claim that expense?

IMG_5749

That’s Michelle Chand, our cool new intern, and a messy bookkeeping project on her lap we call The Big Blue. But all you see is your face,  stuck amid a pile of receipts you are not even sure you can claim as a business expense and a mean clock ticking down to tax time? We can help!

So, you just got a styling hairdo at your favourite salon and a fancy Aritzia number to go with it.  But can you claim your new look come tax season?

Every year around this time, clients come in, confused about what they can and can’t claim.

So, we decided to bust common tax myths:

Home office Tax Myths:

  • If you have a home office you cannot claim any expenses related to your dog as a security expense. That means vet bills, dog food and hours spent loving your dog are not under any circumstances tax deductible.

  • Home office deductions are based on the percentage of your home that you use to conduct business NOT  the size of your home. You need to calculate: square footage of business area and divide that by the square footage of your home. Storage space for business supplies and/or tools also can be included in your calculations as an area used for business.

Clothing Tax Myths:

  • GENERAL CLOTHING CANNOT BE WRITTEN OFF UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. The only benefit you are going to get from purchasing some new work threads is the satisfaction of looking really good. The only exception to the rule is safety clothing such as hardhats or steel toe boots and company branded clothing that is considered a uniform.

  • Dry Cleaning is only deductible if you are having a company uniform cleaned. That beautiful Armani Jacket you own unfortunately needs to be cleaned at your own expense.

Food Tax Myths:

  • A legitimate meal expense  is one where you are going out with a colleague or potential client to discuss business. Going for a solo lunch while working doesn’t count for a meal. You should also record the name and number of the client you are meeting with on the meal receipt.

NOTE: In an audit of one of our clients, the auditor asked to see each meal receipts with the name and phone number of the person who was present at the meal AND a description of the type of business that was discussed.

Vehicle Tax Myths:

  • Just because your vehicle is branded doesn’t mean that you write off 100 per cent of vehicle expenses. Auto expenses are calculated based on percentage of the year’s total km’s that are driven for business purposes. That said the expense of having your car branded is 100 per cent deductible as advertising expense.

Client Gift Tax Myths

  • If you purchase liquor or any type of gift certificate from a restaurant for example a Starbucks or Whole Foods gift certificate, as a client gift, this is considered a MEALS expense (so only 50 per cent is deductible) NOT an advertising expense (100% deductible). In order to deduct client gifts at 100 per cent you need to buy gifts that aren’t food such as spa packages, flowers, Home Depot gift certificates etc.. Additionally you need to make sure you note which client received what gift in case you are audited.

Employee Tax Myths:

  • If  you receive a T4 from your employer, you are not eligible to deduct ANYTHING unless your employer fills out a T2200 form authorizing you to do so. That said any dues or insurance you purchase from professional organizations can be deducted so long as you have been designated as a professional.

Student Tax Myths:

  • Unfortunately as a student you are not allowed to deduct any additional expenses beyond what your tuition slip from your educational institution (T2202) indicates. Therefore items such as your computer and stationery supplies are non-deductible.

When filing your taxes it is important to keep in mind that from  the CRA’s perspective anything that could be deemed as personal, WILL be deemed as personal in the event of an audit.

Although you can take the risk and claim the above expenses you really should not, because in the event that you are audited and your claims are denied you will be forced to pay a fine in addition  to paying back all of the tax you avoided along with interest.

We are taking appointments for tax consultations now so if you want to get ahead of the rest and book your ideal time contact us now.

Also, enter our latest competition for your chance to win a free tax return.

Stretch your tax worries away

u-work-out-bruh-funny-cat-meme
Feel the burn? Power through tax season like a champ with these sassy moves.  Stretch your tax worries away. By Anja Konjicanin

“Close your eyes.”

We did.

The Homeroom team was told to hold open our hands. 
A small, metallic object grazed our skin: a golden key. And then we felt up an old record. It was the intro to the importance of consistency.
On a name tag, we jotted down reasons for wanting to keep up with personal goals. Our ‘why’. Then we keyed the crap out of the disc. One scratch at a time, like squirrelly kids colouring, we repeated the seesaw movement, up and down, until any lingering hope of listening to the record died. Our ‘why’, though, lived on….and this stare…err album, would serve as the perfect reminder.

Peter Frampton gem
Shout out to the curly-haired legend, Peter Frampton….

Ever since we keyed mint vintage vinyls, a harbour for consistency meant to remind us of the importance of remaining faithful to our goals (and that we slayed fine records), we’ve stuck to our office challenge: stretch every day. That is, get up every two hours for a break from the chair.

Great warm-up for tax season, no?

These movements may not be much. The consistency with which they are repeated makes all the difference toward a long healthy life. Because a little bit goes a long way with these office-friendly stretches that keep on giving!

I’m doing it for the forever healthy, happy, energetic body. What’s your WHY?

Sit Less, move more, do more, feel great:

1. Neck mobilization (6-8 reps): Keeping your chin up turn your neck side to side with a pause and hold on each side. With your chin pointed down toward your chest roll your chin from shoulder to shoulder in gentle half-circle.

2. Shoulder and upper back openers (6-8 reps): Arms are in front of your with forearms and palms together. Separate your arms keeping them at a 90 degree angle push back until you feel your upper back squeeze together. Keep your back squeezed raise your arms over head. Return to the first position and repeat.

3. Wrist and hand stretch and mobility (6-8 reps): Arms are extended straight in front of your body. Flex or roll wrists and hands as demonstrated.

4. Good morning twists (6-8 reps): Arms are crossed against your chest. Keeping your head up and back straight hinge at the hips moving your chest toward the ground until you feel a stretch up the back of your leg (hamstrings). Hinge up to standing erect pressing your hips forward until you feel your bottom (glutes) flex tight. Then standing straight and tall twist to the right, return to the middle and twist left. Start at the first position and repeat as directed.

5. YTUW Back, Glutes, and Hamstrings Hinge (3 reps): Standing straight and tall push your glutes out (stick your bottom out). Raise your hands above head then move your arms down into a “Y” position, then “T”, “U”, “W”. Return to hands above head. Hinge forward keeping your head up and back straight until your hands come to rest on your desk or other flat surface. Slide your fingers forward on your desk feeling a stretch down the back of your body. Return to standing and repeat as directed.

6. Split Stance Tilt for calves and hip flexors (2 reps pers leg): Part 1 – Standing tall with feet shoulder width apart. Step forward into what would be a natural stride keeping your back heel pushed down to the ground. Push your hips forward toward the front foot keeping your chest high and your head up. Part 2 – In the same stance look up and fully arch your back and tilt your hips up and away from your back leg. Return to standing shoulder width and repeat with the other leg.

7. Ankle circles (2 reps per side): With your toe pressed into the ground make small circles rolling your ankle in one direction and then the other.

Tax time doesn’t have to be a pain in the back!

Superhero business tax team Vancouver

Supercharge your health this tax season, and beyond! Homeroom Bookkeeping‘s got it going on: stand-up desks,  fruit and nuts, and now….delicious, daily stretches. Because tax season doesn’t have to be a pain in the back! By Anja Konjicanin aka Office Gal

It’s 11 am. The phone alarm gently shakes the front desk with a soft vibrate accompanied with lively beats of Sencha sound. The Homeroom team makes subtle eye contact. It’s time. The daily grind comes to a halt, receipts drop, bookkeeping calls are left unattended. This is the time to get up and stretch. Yes, a full-on body stretch with the fellow work mates!

“I really needed this,” says The Lone Wolf, Kevin as he stands up in slow-mo, visibly enjoying every step of the getting-up process.

He turns to The Number Cruncher, Allysia who is already on her feet, rolling her neck, eyes closed, in what can best be described as pure bliss.

While financial fitness is important, (remember to get those books in tiptop shape to meet tax deadlines!), it’s even more important to stay physically healthy so you can enjoy a long, happy, pain-free life. You might even dream about tackling those pesky tasks with a fresh boost of energy and vigor… and smiles.

The team shakes out of zombie mode and proceeds to the centre of the room where we face each other for a regular game of “Who’s Going to Laugh First?” Then, it begins. We start with juicy neck rolls.

Chin up, we turn our necks side to side. Pause and hold each side. With our chin pointed down toward our chest, Office Gal notices a forgotten paper clip begging to be saved from the carpet’s furry grip. We continue to roll our chins from shoulder to shoulder in a gentle half-circle.

It’s another day at Homeroom. Following the successful completion of our consistency challenge (and stellar cash prizes!), we vowed to commit to daily stretches. Every day, every two hours. Office Gal programmed her giant iPhone to ring at 11, 1 and 3 so we never forget. Ever. Get up every two hours to stretch, reflect, re-energize.

“Sitting is worse than smoking” said a certain health advocate when he exposed the secret to zero back pain during a brief visit to us: a list of seven short steps to breaking the spell of chronic sitting, which a gazillion studies have found directly impacts cardiovascular and metabolic function. Healthy people disintegrate behind the desk.

Dude, stretching is easy and feels so good. A reason to stop working, if only for four- and-a-half minutes. Two minutes if you power through it like Office Gal usually does.

The Lady in Charge, Teya quickly finishes up the email she’s working on. She guiltily runs to join the circle. Teya’s late but she knows the routine: neck mobilization, shoulder and upper back opener, wrist and hand stretch, Good Morning Twists, YTUW Back, glutes and hamstring hinge action, split stance tilt, ankle circles…

As we lean back, in a split stance tilt, forming a natural stride while keeping our heels pushed to the ground and hips forward, we check in on how the day is going.

“How you doin’?”

“Doing good. You?”

Two people at the office across from us casually walk by, do a double take along with a curious “What the–?” expression before slowly walking away as if they saw nothing. One of our clients walks in on us and joins the fun.

“This is great!” she says, flopping into position.

The Office Gal giddily laughs at the thought of another stretch and prepares for her favourite move: the ankle and wrist rolls AKA The Bollywood.

“We should add a bounce”, she suggests, looking for a sign of affirmation from the team. She lets out a hearty chuckle at her own idea. The Number Cruncher smiles with her.

“I have your back.”

Communications Guru, Yvonne quickly moves to another part of the room. The eye contact with the coworkers along with the inevitable laugh factor proves to be too much.

It’s time for Good Morning Twists. As we do the prayer mode stretch with arms crossed against our chest followed by a bow to get the blood flowing and hips moving, sticking our bums out with a slight bend, we breathe in and out.We gracefully extend our legs and neck looking at the ceiling. The radio provides a suitable backdrop of rhythm that seems to fit with every move.

Can staying healthy be almost as much fun as sifting through people’s gloriously overflowing shoe-boxes of scented receipts and random, unique objects that live among them? Yes, yes it can!

Give your body special treatment (it’s almost Valentine’s Day!) with these quick and easy exercises. Pitch the idea to your bosses and family and friends. Tell them Homeroom made you do it. Don’t be afraid to give them our number.

Stay tuned for next week’s post of all our moves, so you can get in on the action!