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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!

 

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.

 

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?”

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.

 

 

How to pay yourself as a corporation

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“Siri, how do I pay myself if I’m incorporated?” | Photo by Viktor Hanacek via Pic Jumbo

 

And now the fun part: reaping the well-deserved rewards from your incorporated business via yummy cash.

When it comes to paying yourself as a corporation, it comes down to this: Salary and dividends.

 

Salary* more expensive option

  1. Add yourself to the company payroll and receive a T4
  2. Company will have to pay payroll taxes on your behalf
  3. Accumulate more room in your RRSPs to save on personal taxes

Dividends

  1. Get a bookkeeper to figure out how much money you took from the business
  2. Your accountant will declare the money you have taken from the company as a dividend
  3. Get your accountant to issue a T5 from the corporation

WARNING:

  1. You cannot be a contractor to your own corporation because the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is missing out on taxes.

Register for our “Should I Incorporate” webinar on August 24 at 1pm today here to learn everything you need to know before you decide to Inc. up!

Hack: I’ve incorporated. What’s next?

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Handshake to that! | Photo by Viktor Hanacek via Pic Jumbo

 

You did it! Took the plunge and incorporated your small business.

Now what?

This week, we provide you with the bookkeeping floaties to make sure you do not sink in the sometime cold and unnerving incorporation waters.

FIRSTLY, make sure you do not forget to do the following:

  • Pat yourself on the back. You just got yourself a brand new business for gosh sake!
  • Pick the official operating date
  • Get a new set of books and accounting records

THEN…

  • Apply for new tax registration numbers
  • Open new bank account and credit card, merchant service provider *if applicable
  • Change bills to be in the name of the corporation

HACK:

  • We recommend you see a lawyer before incorporating
  • Remember to put your GST/ PST numbers on your invoice template
  • Track any personal cash you put into the corporate bank account

Next week, we look at how to pay yourself when you are incorporated.

Register for our “Should I Incorporate” webinar on August 24 at 1pm today here to learn everything you need to know before you decide to Inc. up!

Beginner’s Guide: Why incorporate?

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It’s incorporation o’clock!

Incorporation can be the best thing that ever happened to you and your small business, or a wrecking ball moment that sinks you into poverty.

Here are the pros and cons of incorporating:

PROS

You are NOT your business

Separate Entity

  • Reduces Personal Liability
    • When you are a operating as a sole proprietor, your personal assets can be seized to pay your business debts. If you incorporate your business, it becomes it’s own separate entity in terms of liability and financial responsibility.

Though your business is still liable for any debts it incurs, as a shareholder your personal assets are protected.

Unlimited Lifespan

  • Unlike a sole proprietorship which begins and ends with the owner, corporations can exist regardless of ownership changes.

Tax savings

  • Corporate tax rate is 13 per cent on the first $500,000 of net income
  • Personal tax rates increase as your income increases

CONS

They say, “Nothing in life worth having comes easy…” and such is often true with business incorporation…

 

Cost to incorporate

  • $700-$1,000 with a lawyer (one-time charge)
    • Benefit: They will look at the long-term picture to ensure you have the correct corporate structure to maximize tax savings.

More government reporting

  • Annual report for the BC Corporate Registry

More tax returns

  • Once you incorporate you will have to file a corporate tax return AND a personal tax return

    • $1,500/ year if you choose a Homeroom-recommended accountant

Increased accounting costs

  • If you thought that your quarterly bookkeeping package was on the high end, you will be rattled by the cost increase once you incorporate
  • At Homeroom, minimum $2,400/ year for a straightforward home-based business

 

On the agenda for next week?

  • Hack: I’ve incorporated. What’s next?

Stay tuned!

Webinar: Register for our “Should I Incorporate” webinar on August 24 at 1pm today here.

Questions you should ask before you incorporate your small business

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Sometimes no matter how hard and long you meditate on a question, it takes a guiding hand of a professional to light the darkened path | Photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash

Say, “Holla” to Homeroom’s new small business incorporation series!

Deciding to incorporate your small business can save you money and legal hassle down the road. Do it at the wrong time, though, and you’re looking at a barrage of fees coming at you faster than you can say, “Open for business!”

So how do you know whether or not you should incorporate and what do you do once you take the plunge?

Over the next few weeks, we will look at the top questions you should ask before you incorporate your small business:

Register for our “Should I Incorporate” webinar on August 24 at 1pm today here to learn everything you need to know before you decide to Inc. up!

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!