Xtreme-EffeX: Extremely creative and innovative design with impact

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As part of our Client of the Month series, we look at Xtreme-EffeX, top custom ironworks and fabrication biz with swag!

Imagine this: A beautiful four-story staircase with glass landings. You’re at the top floor, awestruck, as you glance down at the transparent tier and see the basement at the bottom of the house.

Xtreme-EffeX,  Custom Design and Fabrication, has been making projects like this a reality for residential and commercial properties in Vancouver and throughout North America since 2007.  In fact, they designed and built the swanky residential glass staircase mentioned in the first paragraph.

The brainchild of Ryan Ramsdale, Owner/ General Manager, who built Xtreme-EffeX out of his garage, has evolved into a flourishing retail and fabrication hub that connects businesses, homeowners and developers to the most cutting-edge design trends and products.

 

 

 

Photo: Ryan Ramsdale admits he does not have too many photos of himself. It is evident that his focus has always been on his family and business.

 

With Xtreme-EffeX inventive design-build process, the in-house design team creates unique, functional and durable products that FIT.

Their motto? “Customize rather than compromise. Because custom fits!”

It’s design with impact. With passion, precision and hands-on approach, it’s high-end work that exceeds expectations, going above and beyond with their out-of-the-box approach to realize your vision no matter how seemingly far-fetched or impossible.

Surely, it is no surprise the 10-year-old business has a five-star presence in the industry with access to the best products and materials on the market and the most skilled fabricators.

Whether it’s your outdoor living space that needs sprucing up or you are looking for a special installation project, or security solutions, Xtreme-EffeX is there to save the day, and make it a lot more awesome!

With no signs of slowing down, you’ve probably seen their eye-grabbing work at upscale restaurants, lottery show homes, and designer retail stores.

As part of our “Client of the Month” series, we caught up with Ramsdale on everything from life as a business owner to advice for new startups:

 

What motivated you to start your own business?

“The experience I gained through the industry and the drive to want to continually create custom products that my team and I can be proud of.”

What do you enjoy most about being a business owner?

“Through hard work, the freedom and ability to create a schedule that benefits me, and especially my family.”

 

What’s your favourite part about the fabrication industry?

“The ability to take raw materials and create functional items, using different processes and practices, to achieve what most people don’t see as possible.”

 

What’s your #1 motivator?

“My #1 motivator would definitely be my family. Working hard and developing a business that allows me the time to be there for and with my family.”

 

Describe your ‘a-ha’ moment

“Being able to confidently rely on my team to carry out the tasks that I would typically feel to be my responsibility. Releasing the control and being pleased with the results.”

 

What’s your vision for the business?

“To have self-sufficient business with a dedicated team of motivated fabricators and designers that consistently exceed the expectations of our customers and clients in every aspect.”

 

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

“‘With dedication to your dream, you can spend a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.'”

Anonymous quote

 

How do you achieve a work/ life balance?

“With the technology of today, it makes it very difficult to be able to turn work ‘off’. But it’s planning for tomorrow, today, then actually turning work OFF and enjoying what it is that we work so hard for.”

 

Who could benefit from your services?

“Home builders, home owners, architects, developers, or anyone with a design idea or concept that needs to be brought to life through our design/build process.”

 

Find Xtreme-EffeX online here and check out all the neat things they do on the daily to make living and work spaces way cooler!

 

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.

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!

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

Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, Black Friday shopping, Black Friday, #BlackFriday, QuickBooks Online, QBO

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.

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.

 

 

 

#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!

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

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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.