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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!

 

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.

 

Save big money when you opt for online tax filing!

Currently, we are ONLY accepting Homeroom E-Returns. But come tax time, you will have the option to schedule an in-person appointment or drop-off your documentation.
To encourage easy and safe tax filing, you will receive the best Homeroom rate when you request the Homeroom E-Return!
See price chart below.

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 beautifully vicious plunge to their  death. Statistically, however, paragliding is as safe as driving.

And just like 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?

Still not convinced Homeroom E-Return is for you?

Next week, we will answer the question: “My return is too complicated. How will I properly explain my situation?”

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!

Employee or Contractor: CRA checklist


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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.

Oh, snap! Submit your receipts electronically

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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!