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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.

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.

5 common bookkeeping mistakes

Bookkeeping mistakes

Photograph courtesy of Sam Beckwith

1. Ignoring CRA correspondence

Ignoring the brown envelopes from the CRA won’t make them disappear, and chances are that it might not be as bad as you think.

Having someone who is used to reading these letters can ease your mind by deciphering what needs to be done. From experience, being pro-active and keeping in contact will keep you out of trouble, even if you don’t have the money to pay right away.

2. Procrastinating with your bookkeeping

How good would you feel if your books were up to date and you knew how your business was doing on a regular basis?

Having your receipts pile up creates clutter in your office and your mind. The longer you wait, the less likely you are to remember specifics about your income and expenses. Get it done and save yourself headaches.

3. Not paying employer portion of payroll liabilities

Most new business owners don’t know that as an employer, you need to match CPP and EI that is withheld on the employee’s paycheques.

These amounts can add up quickly, and when your T4’s are filed, you will get a bill for the employer portion which could cripple your business. The payroll division of CRA tends to be the most severe and quickest to hand out penalties. Hand over your payroll to a professional.

4. Annual HST filers being surprised at how much they owe

Did you know that one year’s worth of HST could be $10,000 or more depending on your business?

Setting up an HST savings account is a great way to help you budget for the annual payment. If you work with a bookkeeper, they can tell you how much you would owe each month so that you will be prepared. Alternatively, switching to filing quarterly is another option. 5. Self employed person’s obligation to pay CPP Did you know that all self employed individuals are obligated to pay 9.9% CPP (Canada Pension Plan) on all net earnings over $3500? Many self employed people do not earn enough to pay income tax, however they still owe CPP at tax time, and are unable to pay on time. Avoid unpleasant surprises and plan ahead.

5. Self employed person’s obligation to pay CPP

Did you know that all self employed individuals are obligated to pay 9.9% CPP (Canada Pension Plan) on all net earnings over $3500?

Many self employed people do not earn enough to pay income tax, however they still owe CPP at tax time, and are unable to pay on time. Avoid unpleasant surprises and plan ahead.