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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.

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.

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.

#ThursdayThoughts: Employee or Contractor?

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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.

You can do it: File your taxes on time!

baby crying tax

Wah, scream, scratch. Tax season can make the best of us rip out our hair in a deadline frenzy, then hurl our bodies into a dark corner, where no one (*cough* CRA *cough*) can ever find us, ever, ever again.

Do this instead.

File and pay your taxes on time otherwise you risk serious consequences, especially if you owe the CRA money. And while the task can seem daunting at best, the CRA can be pretty reasonable, but, just like a hungry baby, they do NOT like to be ignored.

Income Tax CRA Deadlines

  • The personal income tax deadline is April 30 IF you have taxes owing. If you don’t have taxes owing, you are not required to file a return. However, we recommend that you do so anyway to get your refund and stay eligible for government benefits such as GST cheques, child tax benefits, premium assistance for MSP and Fair Pharmacare.

  • The income tax deadline for self-employed individuals is very deceiving. If you don’t owe taxes you have until June 15th to file HOWEVER if you owe taxes you need to pay them prior to April 30. without doing your tax return you have no idea what is owing, so we recommend that you file your taxes for the April 30 to avoid interest.

GST

  • Annual GST payment and filing for  incorporated companies is due March 31st, 2017

  • Annual GST payment and filing for sole proprietors is due  April 30th, 2017 despite the fact that your remittance form will say June 15 as the due date. Please see above regarding deceiving deadlines for self-employed individuals.

Employer Deadlines

  • T4’s must be filed with the CRA and given out to your employees before Feb 28, 2017, if you want to avoid late penalties, which are $25/day.

What are installments??

So you have filed your taxes and discovered that you owe the CRA a lot more money than you expected. You feel your heart sink, you cry for a while and you curse the government for ruining your life.

Just as you finally begin to accept your fate and begrudgingly drain your bank account to pay off your mammoth bill, you receive an installment notification from the CRA. This notification informs you that due to the fact that you owed the government more than $3000 on your previous tax return you are now required to make quarterly tax installment payments (pay your taxes in advance) for the current year. If this isn’t bad enough the fine print will notify you that the first payment is due right away and that failure to pay the amounts requested by their due dates will result in interest being charged.

Although not every person with a bill over $3000 will receive this notification, you should plan to receive it so that you are mentally AND financially prepared.

Important Information about Installments

  • If you DO NOT get an installment reminder, you DO NOT need to pay installments, unless you would like to voluntarily.

  • Installment payments are typically due in March, June, September, and December.

  • You will get a statement of installments paid from the CRA that you will need when you file your taxes.

  • Installment interest will be charged if you receive an installment reminder and you fail to pay the amount owing in full by the due date.

Exceptions to the Rule

If you anticipate your income for the year is going to be much lower than your previous years’ income eg. you are going on maternity leave and won’t be working for 5 months of the year.

Contact the CRA and discuss this with them. If your tax owing at the end of the year is below $3000 then you won’t be penalized for not paying the installments.

If you need help filing your income tax please don’t hesitate to contact Homeroom SBS today.

Happy tax season!

The truth and lies about GST/ HST

GST pinata

Launching a small business can feel like swinging blindly at a big, colourful, juicy piñata: a hit or a miss, but if it’s a strike, you get all the yummies and toys inside, along with some lame confetti and papier-mâché filler.

The lackluster, more boring, of the bunch become the key steps and financial decisions to starting a new business. But, without careful planning, you might as well be that person with their eyes shut, hopelessly flailing their stick into open air.

One of the things you need to consider is whether or not you need to charge Goods & Services Tax (GST).

We hope our handy tips and our clarification of some common myths helps you move forward in your small business planning.

 What is GST?

  • GST is an input tax: Meaning that the amount that you PAY to others reduces the amount that you OWE.

Why would you register for GST before making sales of $30,000?

  • If you are starting your small business and incurring high start-up expenses. You can get a refund on the GST that you pay on those expenses.

  • Some potential clients might not want to do business with you if you don’t have a GST number.

Why would you hold off from registering?

  • Keep your paperwork simple for as long as possible. If you register you will need to hire a bookkeeper to make sure your returns are correct, filed properly and on time.

  • When you bill your clients your total will appear cheaper than a competitor who charges GST.

 It’s July and I’ve just made sales of $30,000. What do I do now?

  • By law you have 3 months AFTER you have made sales of $30,000 to register and start charging GST.

  • You must include your GST number on all your invoices.

  • You must keep all records of GST charged and paid for 7 years

Here are four common myths about Goods and Services Tax:

Myth: Every small business must register for GST.

Fact: Every small business that has made GROSS SALES of $30,000 in a calendar year must register.

Myth: I am registered for GST but my sales are less than $30,000 so I do not need to charge my customers the tax.

Fact: If you are registered, then you are obligated by law to charge all of your customers GST.

Myth: GST and HST are two different taxes.

Fact: In fact they are the same tax being paid to the same agency (Canada Revenue Agency). The only difference is that in BC we now charge GST of 5%; before we charged HST of 12%.

Myth: My Business number is different from my GST number.

Fact: Your GST number is your Business number (9 digits) with the ending RT0001.

Tax time doesn’t have to be a pain in the back!

Superhero business tax team Vancouver

Supercharge your health this tax season, and beyond! Homeroom Bookkeeping‘s got it going on: stand-up desks,  fruit and nuts, and now….delicious, daily stretches. Because tax season doesn’t have to be a pain in the back! By Anja Konjicanin aka Office Gal

It’s 11 am. The phone alarm gently shakes the front desk with a soft vibrate accompanied with lively beats of Sencha sound. The Homeroom team makes subtle eye contact. It’s time. The daily grind comes to a halt, receipts drop, bookkeeping calls are left unattended. This is the time to get up and stretch. Yes, a full-on body stretch with the fellow work mates!

“I really needed this,” says The Lone Wolf, Kevin as he stands up in slow-mo, visibly enjoying every step of the getting-up process.

He turns to The Number Cruncher, Allysia who is already on her feet, rolling her neck, eyes closed, in what can best be described as pure bliss.

While financial fitness is important, (remember to get those books in tiptop shape to meet tax deadlines!), it’s even more important to stay physically healthy so you can enjoy a long, happy, pain-free life. You might even dream about tackling those pesky tasks with a fresh boost of energy and vigor… and smiles.

The team shakes out of zombie mode and proceeds to the centre of the room where we face each other for a regular game of “Who’s Going to Laugh First?” Then, it begins. We start with juicy neck rolls.

Chin up, we turn our necks side to side. Pause and hold each side. With our chin pointed down toward our chest, Office Gal notices a forgotten paper clip begging to be saved from the carpet’s furry grip. We continue to roll our chins from shoulder to shoulder in a gentle half-circle.

It’s another day at Homeroom. Following the successful completion of our consistency challenge (and stellar cash prizes!), we vowed to commit to daily stretches. Every day, every two hours. Office Gal programmed her giant iPhone to ring at 11, 1 and 3 so we never forget. Ever. Get up every two hours to stretch, reflect, re-energize.

“Sitting is worse than smoking” said a certain health advocate when he exposed the secret to zero back pain during a brief visit to us: a list of seven short steps to breaking the spell of chronic sitting, which a gazillion studies have found directly impacts cardiovascular and metabolic function. Healthy people disintegrate behind the desk.

Dude, stretching is easy and feels so good. A reason to stop working, if only for four- and-a-half minutes. Two minutes if you power through it like Office Gal usually does.

The Lady in Charge, Teya quickly finishes up the email she’s working on. She guiltily runs to join the circle. Teya’s late but she knows the routine: neck mobilization, shoulder and upper back opener, wrist and hand stretch, Good Morning Twists, YTUW Back, glutes and hamstring hinge action, split stance tilt, ankle circles…

As we lean back, in a split stance tilt, forming a natural stride while keeping our heels pushed to the ground and hips forward, we check in on how the day is going.

“How you doin’?”

“Doing good. You?”

Two people at the office across from us casually walk by, do a double take along with a curious “What the–?” expression before slowly walking away as if they saw nothing. One of our clients walks in on us and joins the fun.

“This is great!” she says, flopping into position.

The Office Gal giddily laughs at the thought of another stretch and prepares for her favourite move: the ankle and wrist rolls AKA The Bollywood.

“We should add a bounce”, she suggests, looking for a sign of affirmation from the team. She lets out a hearty chuckle at her own idea. The Number Cruncher smiles with her.

“I have your back.”

Communications Guru, Yvonne quickly moves to another part of the room. The eye contact with the coworkers along with the inevitable laugh factor proves to be too much.

It’s time for Good Morning Twists. As we do the prayer mode stretch with arms crossed against our chest followed by a bow to get the blood flowing and hips moving, sticking our bums out with a slight bend, we breathe in and out.We gracefully extend our legs and neck looking at the ceiling. The radio provides a suitable backdrop of rhythm that seems to fit with every move.

Can staying healthy be almost as much fun as sifting through people’s gloriously overflowing shoe-boxes of scented receipts and random, unique objects that live among them? Yes, yes it can!

Give your body special treatment (it’s almost Valentine’s Day!) with these quick and easy exercises. Pitch the idea to your bosses and family and friends. Tell them Homeroom made you do it. Don’t be afraid to give them our number.

Stay tuned for next week’s post of all our moves, so you can get in on the action!

 

5 Items that are NOT business expenses

A lot of business owners are guilty of keeping receipts for items that cannot be claimed as a business expense. To save money on your bookkeeping, by limiting the amount of time your bookkeeper spends sorting through receipts, leave the following receipts out of your folder.

1. Clothes

You may also be required to wear a certain type of outfit to work on a regular basis such as a suit. However, unless you are buying specific safety gear or are required to wear a branded uniform any clothes you purchase are considered a PERSONAL NOT BUSINESS expense. This includes associated costs such as dry cleaning and laundry services.

I know this is a terrible reality for most of us in particular for all of the office workers out there. As much as we wish things were different (we too would like to get some money back for looking this good on a daily basis) the CRA just won’t budge on this one.

Until the day when we start a revolution by wearing burlap sacks in protest please refrain from sneaking your clothing purchase receipts into your bookkeeping folder.

2. Personal maintenance

When you are the face of your company or the company you work for it’s important to look the part. This can be expense we all know Botox, makeup and personal training isn’t cheap!!

That said the CRA wants you to be beautiful on your own dime. Clearly this faceless monster doesn’t understand the pressures of being a local celebrity.

Again until we find a way to make them understand how important looking and feeling good is when you are a business owner please keep these receipts out of your bookkeeping.

3. Groceries

Eating is expensive!!! It would be really nice to get some of that money back on your food consumption especially considering that majority of your eating takes place while working.

Twice a year you can throw a party and claim it as a business expense. Keep that in mind when gathering your receipts.

Anything more than that is just groceries for your family, you know it…we know it…and the CRA will know!!

 

4. Solo Meals

So you ordered Subway for one during your lunch time “business meeting”…hmmmm interesting. Unless you went Dutch, which we know you didn’t, you can’t claim single meals as a business expense without running the risk of having it rejected during an audit. In addition your three daily trips to Starbucks don’t count as business meetings.

The best way to protect yourself and prove that your “meeting” is legitimate, in the event of an audit, is to write the name of the person you were meeting on the meal receipt.

Rejection = Penalties and interest

5. Personal items, trips & gifts

Did you really purchase that tent for your business trip to Pemberton? We may accept this as true if you are a journalist who works for a local paper that rewards you with love not money, or more logically a tour guide. But when the average business owner adds this receipt to their folder the bookkeeper will automatically assume it is personal unless you make a note claiming why it is a business expense.

Tickets to Disneyland, ski passes, expensive artwork, adult toys and climbing the grouse grind to have lunch will also be filed by your bookkeeper under “I don’t think so” unless you write a convincing argument on your receipt in advance.

 

The main thing to know about bookkeepers is that we want to make sure your expenses are recorded correctly so that if you are audited you have nothing to worry about because all of your expenses are legitimate business expenses that would be approved by the CRA.

To find out more about how we can help you with your business or to determine if you have some expenses that are an exception to the rule contact us today.

Employee VS Contractor – CRA Penalties for incorrect worker classification

File:US Navy 080823-N-1328S-003 Steel Worker 3rd Class Michael Featherston and Constructionman Steven Cline, both assigned to Navy Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 embarked about the Military Sealift Command hospital ship US.jpg

Over the past month we have been exploring the topic of hiring new staff and how to determine if you should hire your new worker as an employee or as a contractor.

Last weeks post explored, in more detail, the CRA checklist that you need to refer to when determining how your new staff should be classified. Following on from last week, today’s post will outline the CRA penalties that you will incur if you do not abide by this checklist as well as provide you with insight into what might cause the CRA to investigate you.

What you need to know about the CRA

The first thing you need to consider when classifying your workers is that when you are paying them as contractors the CRA is not receiving payroll taxes from your business.

Avoiding payroll taxes may feel like a small WIN. However, you need to remember that the CRA, much like your business, does not like to experience a loss.

The unfortunate difference between the CRA and most small businesses is that when the CRA feels like they may be owed money, they have the power to come after you and make your life very uncomfortable.

Red Flags

The CRA may chose to review your business at anytime however there are some common factors  that usually  trigger an investigation.

  1. When your contractor files their tax return, the CRA may choose to audit them to ensure they have listed the correct income. This will lead to them investigating and interviewing all of the contractors clients which will include you.

  2. The top two expenses for most businesses are rent and payroll. If your return shows that one of your top expenses is contractors then the CRA will more than likely view that as a red flag and investigate you.

  3. Your worker may try to apply for EI and discover they are not eligible due to the fact that you were paying them as a contractor. This could lead to them asking the CRA for a ruling.

  4. Your worker at any point can request a ruling if they feel that you are paying them incorrectly.

  5. Come tax time when you worker discovers they owe money to the CRA for unpaid taxes they may become disgruntled and  request a ruling.

If you are investigated the CRA will interview you and your contractors face-to-face and make a ruling that is based on your answers to the checklist questions that we discussed last week.

Consequences

If the CRA investigates your business and determines that you have incorrectly categorized and paid a worker as a contractor when they should have been paid as an employee, you will experience the following penalties:

  1. You will need to back pay (to the start date of your agreement with the worker) all outstanding payroll taxes INCLUDING  the employee’s portion.

  2. You will also need to pay penalties and interest on the amount that was overdue.

All expenses will be incurred by your business and cannot be passed on to the worker in any circumstances.

The cost associated with the CRA ruling that your contractor should have been an employee can be crippling to your small business. That is why we recommend that you thoroughly read through the checklist and if at any point you are uncertain you contact the CRA and get a ruling.

In addition to affecting your business, the investigation can affect your contractors. If they have claimed a different amount on their return to what your records show, they too will experience penalties.

Lessons

Make sure you encourage your contractors to declare their income correctly. Inform them that you will be declaring the full amount they are going to charge and that you don’t want to see them incur any penalties.

Study the CRA checklist and make sure you are confident that you have categorized your worker correctly. If you are unsure contact the CRA and ask for a ruling, the short term pain will result in long term gain.

Use your common sense, if it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck, chances are it is a duck!!!. So if you hire someone who resembles a standard employee within your industry chances are the CRA will rule that you should be paying them as one.

If you don’t need a full time worker yet the job requires you to hire an employee, hire an on call employee or use a temp agency. Temp agencies include payroll in their fees so you are covered.

We cannot reiterate enough how important it is that you make sure you categorize your workers correctly and that when in doubt you contact the CRA.

 

How to start your own business in BC

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Most people assume when taking the plunge into self-employment by starting their own small business that there are going to be a million forms to sign and government entities that need to be registered with before you are cleared by the CRA to begin working.

But that is not the case at all.

The following breakdown will hopefully clarify just how simple it is (from a tax perspective, because honestly becoming successfully self-employed is no easy feat!!!) to get your new business tax ready in BC.

Trading under your personal name

The quickest way to get your business up and running is to trade under your own name (eg. Teya Mali trading as Teya Mali).

From the CRA’s perspective when you trade under your own name you can begin trading immediately and no business registration is necessary.

All the CRA cares about in this instance is that you are honest at tax time and declare all of your income and expenses correctly.

Trading Under A Business Name

Trading under a name other than your own isn’t quite as simple and does require some paperwork. However, it is still not as overwhelming as you may think.

You can have your business up and running in four easy steps.

  1. Firstly you need to register your business name. This can be done for a cost of $30 through the BC Registry One Stop BC service.
  2. Determine your business structure. Do you want to be a sole proprietor, partnership, or incorporation? (If you are a solo entrepreneur working from home, I would highly recommend that you start off as a sole proprietor to keep things simple. You can always incorporate later. There are MANY rules (that are governed by penalties) that you need to comply with once you become incorporated. So again, I recommend that you hold off until your business has expanded).You can register your sole proprietorship for $40 through the BC Registry One Stop BC service
  3. Determine if you need to charge sales tax. If you are selling retail products, you will need to register for PST. Homeroom can do this on your behalf or you can register yourself on the BC Government site.  If you earn over $30,000 within a 12 month period (So not just the calendar year) you must register for GST. Until you have incurred SALES of $30000  you ARE NOT REQUIRED TO REGISTER FOR GST but can register by choice.
  4. Apply for a business licence. The application fee is $50 with an annual fee that varies depending on your location.

Although getting your business set up correctly with the CRA is a relatively simple process you must remember that your paperwork doesn’t necessarily end there and that you still need to consider your insurance needs, budgets, inventory tracking, invoicing and of course bookkeeping.

We recommend checking out Small Business BC Website which is a great online resource with a lot of helpful information on how to start a small business.

Additionally, we recommend that you begin keeping all of your business related receipts from the moment you decide to venture out on your own. Even if you haven’t started making sales, you can still write-off business expenses as you develop your idea. That said, you should note that you can only write of an expense in the year that it occurred, so make sure you talk to your bookkeeper in advance and plan the best time to make larger purchases.