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Claiming Your Airbnb Income In Canada

As the sharing economy continues to grow an increasing number of startups are being developed that provide everyday people with the opportunity to increase their income streams. This is causing the average person’s tax return to become much more complicated than it would be with a simple T4 income.

First things first YES you need to claim your AirBNB income. It may be your “fun money” but to the government it’s income and it won’t be fun income if you don’t claim it and the government finds out.

How to Claim This Income

Airbnb income is considered rental income so long as you don’t include meals, personal laundry services, and other tourism services to your guests, in that case, it’s going to be business income.  

If it’s confirmed rental income you need to complete a T776 (Statement of Real Estate Rentals) and declare the income on line 126 of their federal return.

 

How To Calculate Your Expenses

The benefit of claiming this income is that unlike T4 income you can claim your expenses to offset the total net income.

The Full Property Is rented

When calculating your expenses you need to make sure that you calculate the correct percentage. You can only claim operating costs for the time your property was generating revenue.

For example: If you rent out your entire place for 165 days of the year (45% of the year) and make a total of $11,000 and over the course of the year the claimable expenses you incur on the property (eg. property taxes, strata fees, insurance) are $15,000, you can only claim 45% of this amount (ie: 165 days worth of expenses) so – $6781. Making your net income $4219. Expenses that relate directly to the rental such as replacing sheets and cleaning fees that you incur over those 165 days are 100% deductible.

Renting Out A Room

If you only rent out a room in your house then things become a little more complex. You need to go a few steps further and separate out the expenses that directly relate to the room you are renting (linen, decorating etc.) and divide them by the percentage of use (as demonstrated above) in addition to calculating your rental operating expenses for the house dividing them by the percentage of the year the room was rented AND then again by the  percentage of the house used to generate income.

For Example: If you rent out a room in your home (¼ of your house) for 200 days of the year and make $10,000,  the claimable expenses for the entire home $12,000 annually and the expenses relating directly to the room were $1500 annually.

You can only claim the following – The operating costs throughout the time you made the income (200 days of costs)  will be $6575 for the entire home. This then needs to be divided by 4 as only ¼ of the home was rented out so $1644 can be claimed.

In addition, you can claim $822 worth of expenses for the $1500 of furniture you purchased that was used for rental purposes 200 days.

What Expenses Can You Claim

The following is a list of expenses that are deductible:

Each can be explored in more detail by visiting the link.

If you are unsure of what you should and shouldn’t claim we recommend filing your return with a tax professional. What may feel like a saving by not paying for advice now could cost you later if you are audited and forced to pay penalties and interest on overdue funds.

Why Your Need To Know Your Numbers When Developing Your Marketing Plan

When measuring the success of a marketing plan a lot of business owners make the mistake of only focusing on website views, social media likes, and new leads. Don’t get us wrong, these key performance indicators (KPI’s) should be measured and reviewed regularly BUT to ensure that you are heading in a truly profitable direction you need to take your marketing and sales planning a step further. Talk to your bookkeeper or accountant to figure out how to accurately measure the following data so that you can use it to drive your marketing strategy.

1) Measure The Net Revenue Of Target Audience

Knowing the net revenue of each client will help you accurately determine who your most profitable clients are, which clients (if any) are costing your business money, and who you should be targeting with your marketing and sales efforts. It’s easy to make assumptions when it comes to client profitability and use these assumptions to drive your sales and marketing efforts.

For example: Henry owns a construction company with 3 key target audiences – New developments, luxury home renovations, luxury home builds. He made the assumption that new developments are his ideal target audience as they are long-term contracts, their invoices run into the millions and they allow him to build and maintain a large team. Reviewing his true net revenue by target audience revealed that after labour costs, overtime, materials, project management costs, accounting, office management, legal fees and delays that this target audience wasn’t as profitable as he originally thought and that his renovation clients were actually more profitable on average.  

While there may be times when your assumptions are correct we always suggest trusting your numbers rather than your gut when making strategic marketing decisions.

2) Know Your Client Acquisition Costs  

How do you find your clients? What is your cost of advertising to each target audience? How many hours a week do you spend on marketing and sales? How long is your sales cycle? How much time does each marketing activity take? These are all questions you need to know the answers to so you can determine which clients are worth pursuing and which marketing efforts are the best ones for obtaining them.

For example:  Sally owns a yoga studio and to attract her ideal client she advertises on Instagram & Facebook, writes one blog a week and spends 2 hours a week networking. On average Sally brings in 6 new clients a week who purchase the introductory class offer which is $40 for the month. Out of the 26 new clients per month, only 5 continue on as annual members after the intro offer expires.

When Sally breaks down her time and costs and income it looks like this:

Social Media Advertising – $600 per month – Brings in 15 clients per month = $40 per lead

Writing a weekly blog – 10 hours per month x Sally’s rate of $60 per hour = $600 – Brings in 3 clients a month = $200 per lead

2 Hours of Networking – 8 hours per month x Sally’s rate of $60 per hour = $480 – brings in 8 clients a month = $80 per lead

Total marketing = $1680 per month

Total income from the months marketing efforts = $1040 for month one, $600 for month two

So for each month of marketing, it takes 2 months for the efforts to break even and the average cost per new lead acquisition is $65.

Sally dives deeper and realizes that the clients who are most likely to continue after the introductory offer are women in their 40’s who have back issues that she targets through her Facebook advertising and people she has built a personal connection with through networking.

Looking at the numbers Sally determines that writing her blog isn’t worth her time and puts that money into social media advertising. She spends more money targeting the demographic that is most likely to continue on an annual membership and as a result, triples her monthly leads. Her cost per lead is reduced significantly, her revenue has increased and she has saved herself 10 hours a month of writing tasks.

Without diving deeply into your marketing efforts and measuring the ROI of each effort you won’t be able to streamline and improve your marketing strategy and long term revenue.

 

3) Know Your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

It’s widely known thanks to Pareto principle that 20% of your customers generate 80% of your revenue. This is why knowing your CLV is so important. This metric is an easy calculation and essential number to know when reviewing your retention strategy and determining your future target audiences.

To calculate the lifetime value of a client simply add up the gross profit they have brought to your business over the course of their time as a client. In addition, it’s beneficial to note the length of time they have worked with/ purchased from you and if known how they found your business.

You can use this information to create target audience personas that are based on your most profitable clients for marketing purposes, to help with the creation of client appreciation campaigns, account development, and retention plans and to predict your future revenue.

For Example:

Jennifer owns an e-commerce business and spends a lot of money marketing her products on social media to attract new clients. Once Jennifer started measuring her CVL as a key metric she was able to determine which campaigns were the most profitable long-term, cut the campaigns that were only bringing in one-off clients and build stronger nurturing and retention campaigns to keep customers who were loyal to her store coming back, increasing her overall revenue.

In this new era of online marketing what was once thought of as a creative, whimsical industry filled with fun swag and events has turned into a data-driven almost scientific one that relies heavily on the bookkeeping and accounting industry.

To ensure that your small business continues to grow successfully you need to make sure you talk to your bookkeeper or accountant to solidify that your growth strategy makes sense and that your marketing spend is bringing you the right ROI.

To Expand Or Not To Expand? – Determining Your Cost : Benefit Ratio

Your mother clearly dropped you on your head as a child and as a result, you decided that you wanted to be an entrepreneur when you grew up. You took the leap and low and behold the crazy idea you had actually worked out and business is going great but you are at a tipping point where you either need to expand or start turning away business. Sound familiar?

While it’s always tempting to keep welcoming growth and leap into the opportunity to expand it’s not an easy black and white decision. You need to be strategic and know your cost to benefit ratio to ensure the decision to expand will actually be good for your business and not harm your bottom line long term.

Here are 5 things you need to consider when determining if taking the leap makes sense

Can you afford it?

This may seem like an obvious question that is easy to answer but it’s not as simple as it sounds. An expansion, whether it’s of a physical space (ie: retail location) or simply bringing on new team members to manage demand is a money sucker in the beginning.

You need to make sure you can afford any closures, renovation, and new inventory costs as well as any hiring and training costs in addition to your regular operational expenses.

Ideally, you want to have this money saved and only finance the expansion after discussing your numbers in detail with your accountant to confirm the additional costs make sense.

 

Know Your Break-Even Time Frame

How long will it take you to make back the money you spent on expanding? In most cases, expansions don’t happen overnight and increased profits aren’t guaranteed as soon as you open your new door. You need to know how long it will take for you to break even after an expansion so that you can ensure you have enough money saved to cover your increase in ongoing costs in advance.

Know Your Numbers

We say this in every post for a reason – because it’s essential if you want to grow a strong, profitable business and make smart, strategic decisions.  

Without knowing your numbers you can’t accurately and successfully plan an expansion. You need to understand your cash flow projections so that you can create a financial plan designed to help you survive your worst case scenario and a marketing plan to achieve your best case scenario.

Understand Your Target Audience

Don’t rush into an expansion simply because you experience a burst of requests and it feels like demand is there. Research your target audience thoroughly and ensure that the demand is real and ongoing. You may discover that demand is seasonal, much smaller than you anticipated or can be addressed with some extended hours or a few special order requests.  

Making the decision to expand isn’t going to be easy but completing a thorough analysis of the costs, benefits, and demand will ensure that when you make the decision it’s strategic and optimized for success.

If you need help understanding your numbers and determining if an expansion makes sense for you contact Homeroom today!

Tax Tips For BC Yoga Studios

It’s safe to assume that Vancouverites LOVE their Yoga. There is no shortage of studios in this city and a most of the time they are filled to the brim with people gaining strength and learning to control their breath. Even though we have a large community of Yoga lovers in the city you can’t ignore the fact that competition is fierce and if you want to remain in the game you have to stay innovative and manage your business well.

Here are our top tips for staying zen and remaining profitable

Outsource Your Payroll  

I know that it seems like we are trying to trick you because we are a bookkeeping company but we can confidently say even if we were in the jump rope industry this would be our advice.

Many studios make the mistake of getting the reception team to take care of duties such as payroll and bookkeeping. Your reception teams number one focus should be providing exceptional customer service so that your customers have a great experience.

Constant distractions and inexperience can lead to costly mistakes by creating the ideal environment for data entry errors. By outsourcing your payroll to a reputable provider you can ensure that you are deducting the correct amounts from your employees AND remitting the correct amounts to the government.

Reputable providers take responsibility for any errors and therefore are much more thorough with their entries. They also know the tax laws inside and out, protecting you from unnecessary penalties.

 

Ensure Your Sales Are Recorded Correctly

This may seem like an obvious simple step but you would be surprised how often businesses set up their sales software and tax amounts incorrectly. Ensure that all your sales (from all sources) are recorded in Mindbody (or whatever software you are using) correctly. Have a professional double check your set up to ensure that you are charging the correct taxes and that the money that goes into your bank is properly recorded as income.

The last thing you want to do is discover after several months of taking payments that you aren’t charging your clients correctly or recording your payments effectively. This can lead to significant losses, especially if you end up having to pay additional taxes from your own pocket.

Pay Your Taxes On Time

One of the easiest ways to avoid unnecessary expenses is to pay your bills on time, taxes included. Ensure that all your PST/GST returns and payroll taxes are filed and paid on time to avoid late filing penalties. If you find deadlines difficult to manage in-house then hire a professional bookkeeper to manage this element of your business. The CRA won’t tell you if you’re early or have overpaid but they will be quick to seriously penalize you for being late.

Save Your Pennies

Businesses tend to ebb and flow. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your fixed costs and create and maintain a monthly cash flow budget so that you can avoid stress during slower periods.

In addition to offering your services create passive income when possible, rent out your space to other professionals and community groups during your down times to maintain your income.

During our time offering bookkeeping services to Yoga studios around Vancouver, we have seen all the common mistakes that Yoga studios make and the great ideas that work. If you have a yoga business and need help with your bookkeeping don’t hesitate to contact us today.

What Can Vancouver Retailer Do About Rising Land Taxes?

If you are a Vancouver based business with a retail location then you are no stranger to the unpredictable and seemingly unfair taxation system that is forcing many businesses, some iconic staples in our community, to close down. With land taxes in some areas doubling annually to reflect soaring residential property valuations the mom and pop shops that are loved across the city risk being phased out and replaced by chains.

Unlike residential properties, commercial properties in Vancouver are taxed at a rate that is 5 times higher, are assessed based on the potential use of the property and not the actual use/business revenue of the property and the taxes are not paid by the property owner and instead, are passed onto the tenant. This puts a huge burden on small business owners and can limit growth opportunities and cost people jobs.

So the golden question is – what can be done?

While there isn’t a huge amount that can be done from a tax and bookkeeping perspective, here are some avenues that small business owners can take to voice their concerns about this growing issue.

 

Contact Your Local Councillor

Small businesses account for roughly 95 percent of Vancouver’s enterprises. With such a significant amount of revenue, jobs, and services at stake city council members are starting to take the issue of land tax seriously.

Here is the list of Vancouver’s city councilors and their contact details. George Affleck has been calling for a review of the cities current policies in an attempt to protect small businesses.

Appeal Your Bill

According to Chris Jobe, manager of the property tax division at the real-estate consulting firm Turner Drake & Partners Ltd. in Halifax, small business owners can appeal their tax bill if they can prove that the property has been overvalued during the assessment.

While the City of Vancouver website states that successful appeals are rare if you want to try your luck you can find more information here!

Band Together

As we mentioned earlier small business owners make up roughly 95 percent of enterprises in Vancouver and there is strength in numbers. Trying to change the current situation is not going to be easy but by coming together and drawing attention to the issues small business owners are facing is one option that will give our retailers a fighting chance. Join your local business association and work to make this issue a focus. Educate your community and talk to the press.

If the city doesn’t do something about this growing crisis more and more small business are going to close, sell or move. This will dramatically impact the level of choice available to residents and the overall appeal of our city.

Let’s hope that the increased attention on this issue can help create some change.

Homeroom E-Return: “I am digitally illiterate. How does the e-signature work?”

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Forget that pen. Unplug that printer. Signing documents just got hella easier and funner. Let’s jump right in!

Now that you know how to securely submit your online tax documentation, how do you sign all the paper we email your way without turning on your printer?

Each year, we get more advanced and efficient with everything we do. Next year, we will be using the user-friendly DocuSign app to send tax returns securely.

E-Signature Is The Way

The electronic signature allows you to sign your tax return draft from anywhere! The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) accepts personalized electronic signatures. Save the paper err day, all day!

How does the e-signature work?

  1. Go to your inbox and open the email from Homeroom Team.
  2. Click on the yellow button “Review Document.”
  3. Read the document carefully to ensure everything OK eg your address, full name, etc.
  4. Tap “Start” (top right) to begin signing.
  5. Click on the area on your screen that is highlighted with a tiny red arrow pointing down to begin to sign.
    1. Mobile Phone: Use tip of your finger to sign your name.
    2. Computer: Use your mouse to sign * Make sure you are using personalized signature NOT the typed-out version.
  6. Click FINISH (top right corner) when you are done.
  7. You will receive a copy via email. You can securely save your document online FREE with DocuSign.

If you experience any issues or get stuck along the way, give us a call at 604-739-9536.

Next week’s blog post will highlight the turnaround of filing your tax return!

 

Bittered Sling: Spice up your life with award-winning culinary and cocktail delights!

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It’s all about the taste! Throw in a mix of select natural herbs, fruits and spices and enjoy an original culinary or cocktail creation bursting with flavour that ranges from savoury to sweet AKA bitters! We’re down with THAT!

 

Bittered Sling, the award-winning retail line of high-quality cocktail bitters and culinary extracts, is the brainchild of mixologist Lauren Mote and world-class chef Jonathan Chovancek.

Ever since their launch in 2012,  the company has been buzzing with success, making local and international headlines.

BitterSWEET name, yo!

The name Bittered Sling derives from the May 13, 1806 edition of The Balance, and Columbian Repository (Hudson, NY) that defines a cocktail as “A stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters. It is vulgarly called a bittered sling and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion inasmuch as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head.” — Bittered Sling website

Add a dash of MAGIC to your culinary menu!

Bitters are used as a flavouring agent. Add a dash to your plate, or squeeze a few drops into your spirits or even sparkling water to create a powerful potion of exciting flavours! Yum yum yum.

Be the star of ANY party with fun and tasty recipes, like Coffee Swizzle, with Bittered Sling bitters here.

As part of our New Client Feature series, we caught up with Chovancek, who together with Mote, has over 30 years of professional experience, on healthy eating, motivation and startup advice!

When it comes to healthy and happy eating, Chovancek suggests fermented foods and drinks. Plant and seafood-focused and plenty of exercise. “Find activities you find fun—don’t get stuck in workout ruts!”

What do you enjoy most about being a business owner?

“The independence.”

What’s your favourite part about the food and beverage industry?

“The people we interact with everyday.”

Your fave food/ cocktail pairing?

“Anything with a Bittered Sling cocktail.”

What motivated you to start your own business?

“Fate.”

What’s your #1 motivator?

“My business and life partner!”

What’s your vision for the business?

“Grow, grow, grow. Unite people around the world through flavours.”

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

“Find a niche that is under represented in the market. Allow your passions to guide you.”

How do you achieve a work/ life balance?

“Work is life!”

Who could benefit from your services?

“Anyone who enjoys delicious food and beverages. We are all about taste!”

 

 

Homeroom E-Return: “My tax return is too complex. How will I properly explain my situation?”

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Is your tricky tax situation keeping you in the dark?  | Photo by Alexas_Fotos via Pixabay

 

By now, you’re probably feeling a bit more keen to dip your toes into the world of online tax filing, and save yourself time and money!

But what about that extra self-employment income you earned mid year after that messy divorce when you quit your full-time job at the school your kid goes to, right before you moved out and started working part-time as an actor?

Sure. Not every tax situation is clear-cut and on a snap-and-send basis, like the Homeroom E-Return requires. You might feel the need to explain your situation to us in-person.

Thing is, MOST of the time, clients presume their tax situation is more complicated than WE know it is. We’ve seen it all, and it is seldom THAT extra.

Do it up, and leave the rest to us, the pros! We know where to find you (and we mean that in the nicest, non-stalkerish, most helpful way possible!)

  1. Complete the intake form.
    1. This form is designed to ask ALL the important questions that will allow us to file your tax return.
      1. Eg: How many tax forms do you have, which year are you filing for, what is your marital status, are you self-employed, etc.
  2. We will review your form and send you instructions on how to submit your tax documentation.
  3. We will schedule a phone call or email you any questions we may have.
  4. We will send you a tax return draft to review.
  5. We will e-file your tax return when we receive your signed tax draft.
To encourage easy and safe tax filing, you will receive the best Homeroom rate when you request the Homeroom E-Return!
Next blog post will delve deep into the electronic signature that will make even the computer-illiterate want to e-sign!

Homeroom E-Return: “Is it secure to submit my tax docs online?”

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Look up at the bright sky dotted with tiny humans dangling off stringed balloons, and you might wonder why anyone would want to take such a beautifully vicious plunge to their death. Statistically, however, paragliding is as safe as driving.

And just like driving or if you are inclined, paragliding, submitting your personal tax documentation online has never been more secure or fast! Send us photos or scanned copies of your paperwork in a snap and know that a professional has got your back!

We will email you instructions on how to securely submit all your paperwork to our unique LedgerDocs email address (see waaay below).

Here’s a blurb from the LedgerDocs website on the security of the growing app:

LedgerDocs’ first priority is to ensure that your information remains safe. We have invested in innovative architectural engineering to provide maximum data durability and availability, while using cutting edge security features to take special care of your data.

  • LedgerDocs uses a 256-bit SSL encryption to protect any information that travels between your browser and LedgerDocs. This is the same encryption that banks use for online transactions.
  • All of your data is backed up regularly to multiple locations, ensuring that there is no data loss in the event of a natural disaster.
  • Users are able to easily grant and revoke access privileges to documents and files with one click

On the real real

  • Avoid losing paperwork
  • Send files from anywhere with Wi-Fi *no appointment or parking required
  • Feel like a professional is holding your hand the entire time *in a non-creepy way, of course!

How do I send my files?

  1. Scan your tax paperwork OR snap pictures of it
  2. Go to your personal email inbox and attach up to five files MAX
  3. If you’re feeling up to it, type us a message as you would ANY other email
  4. Send to our LedgerDocs email: homeroom@app.ledgerdocs.com
    1. Subject: [YOUR NAME] Tax return
    2. Email: Please find attached [NUMBER OF TAX SLIPS]
  5. Delete from your Sent Mail email folder (if you want to be extra safe)
  6. Your job is done! Now you have the rest of the day to do what makes YOU happy! Paragliding, perhaps?

So stop wasting time with in-person appointments and get your E-Return started today!

 

Liquid Amber Tattoo: Local talent leaves a lasting mark with beautiful, unique art

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“Hold on tightly to the things that inspire you” — Unknown

Liquid Amber Tattoo owners Luvia Petersen and Justina Kervel, through persistence and perseverance, and lots of heart, helped shape tattoo industry into a business that is not bound by gender. | Photos by Jessie Robertson

 

“OMG, what am I doing with my life?”

Even the hugely successful tattoo artist Luvia Petersen grappled with the occasional existential life moment. She injected that energy and angst into her business, Liquid Amber Tattoo & Art Collective.

“It made me feel like I was contributing to society and to my own life in a powerful way,” expressed Petersen.

It was 2000. While strolling the charming streets of  Paris, Petersen and her business partner Justina Kervel came across a female tattoo artist Phillipine of Kaplan Art Studio. Enamored of the female-run studio in the then male-dominant industry, they came to Canada and opened up their own, mostly-female run, tattoo shop in 2001. Their goal? To contribute to the rise of females in the tattoo industry.

And, girl, has the tattoo industry grown!

“When we first started it was rare to see a female tattoo artist. Now, they are commonplace. I love that this very old traditional profession has been able to usher in an equal gender identity and at equal pay,” admitted Petersen.

Today, the spacious, brick-walled shop in the heart of Gastown is home to top local artists, who, through passion and dedication, give life to drawings that pour out of them like ink.

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In turn, the shop supports and donates to an array of great causes and organizations, like BC Children’s Hospital and Girls Rock Camp Vancouver.

And the good they are doing is etched in the skin of their clients forever.

As part of our Client of the Month blog series, we caught up with Petersen, who’s “enjoyed the process of seeing [her]  business grow over the years,” on everything from her most memorable tattoo project to what makes her wake up in the morning to her ‘Aha!’ moment:

 

The fave project you were part of

“There are so many favourite moments, but one that sticks out is tattooing four generations of women. A great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and daughter. We were proud to be a part of that beautiful bonding moment in the four lives of these amazing women!”

Describe your ‘a-ha’ moment

“About 10 years into the business, I realized I really did not know what I was doing. At that point, I was able to let go and enjoy the ride a little more. I stopped trying to control everything and tried to trust in my ability to handle whatever may come in the moment.”

What’s your #1 motivator?

“Seeing my employees and my customers smile because they are enjoying being at the studio. It was always our goal to create a fun atmosphere to work in and when I see those smiles I know we are fulfilling that dream.”

What’s your vision for the business?

“To be a catalyst for artists to showcase their work, be it on skin or canvas. We want to continue to expand our art gallery and host art shows.”

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

“Make sure you LOVE what you do. It will make the long hours and hair-pulling moments a little more tolerable.”

How do you achieve a work/ life balance?

“Haha…what’s that? Joking…You hire the right people whom you can trust to take care of the business while you are living your life.”

Who could benefit from your services?

“Our tattoo studio is for anyone looking to bring some new art into their lives.”

 

Get in touch with Liquid Amber Tattoo today here for quality, custom tattoos that you will love  for life.