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Teya Mali talks books with Globe and Mail

small business vancouver, slamm business, bookkeeping, Quickbooks, income tax return, taxes, efile, business, sole proprietorship, corporation, books

If your box of receipts is shapeshifting into a pot of paper flowers, exuding a musty book smell, this article is for you. Use the most cost-effective and fast categorizing approach so that you can account for every receipt when it matters the most, and save some dough for real flowers.

Paul Attfield’s article points out the key to winning your bookkeeper’s heart

“It’s actually faster to sort that way as opposed to trying to find the date on each receipt,” said Homeroom’s Lady in Charge Teya Mali in the recent Globe and Mail article on the importance of record-keeping in business. Teya was not talking about the throw-and-forget approach illustrated in the above left photo.

Find the best way to categorize receipts, why you should keep a mileage logbook, and more handy tips, to run a healthy business in the full article, “In record-keeping, consistency is king,” by Paul Attfield.

 

How To Help Overcome Those Winter Blues

winter blues, motivation, Blue Monday, exercise, health, wellbeingThe third week of January has often been labeled as the most depressing week of the year. The initial verve and optimism that comes with a new year have faded, holiday bills are coming in, and the rainy days seem here to stay.

This week is often known as starting with Blue Monday.

But how factual is Blue Monday? It turns out that Blue Monday is a theory backed by little research. As most of us know the feeling of sadness is often much more complex and can’t be reduced down to a specific day. That said, there are often times when the winter blues kick in and we don’t know what to do!

To help ease your winter blues we recommend treating each Monday like a new beginning and doing these 3 things at the beginning of each week:

 

1. Reassess your goals and set short-term tangible ones.

Find something small you can check off your list, or something big you can chip away at every week that helps you feel like you are ‘on top of 2018’.

Eg. With tax time fast-approaching, getting your bookkeeping organized and taxes filed should be on the top of your list! Although procrastination may be in your genes, by tackling your bookkeeping bit by bit, you can make things easier on yourself and your tax preparer.

2. Set An Exercise Schedule For The Week

Nothing beats the blues like building up some endorphins! There are many studies that show the positive effects exercise has on your mental health. Jennifer Carter, PhD and counseling and sport psychologist at the Center for Balanced Living in Ohio says that she will often recommend exercise for her psychotherapy clients, particularly for those who are anxious or depressed.

Our team has always found yoga an amazing stress reliever and a great way to improve your overall health. With so many wonderful yoga studios in the city, we recommend finding a great one near your office or home so it’s easier to stay motivated.

 

3. Meal Plan and Eat Well

During the winter months, it’s so easy to let your healthy eating go out the window. Comfort food is always WAY more appealing than a healthy diet. But according to research posted by the Mental Health Foundation  maintaining a healthy diet is essential if you want to maintain good mental health. In Vancouver where the cloud coverage feels like it will never break be sure to also supliment you diet with Vitamin D.

If Meal Planning isn’t your thing and you are too busy with your business to go grocery shopping or cook then we recommend checking out local food providers such as FreshPrep , Spud, and BeFresh.

While our top three recommendations are rocket science and are commonly known techniques for fighting off the winter blues we hope that this reminder will help you come out of the season in your best. shape. ever.

If you find that your winter blues are lasting for extended periods of time then please reach out to your family doctor or contact the Mental Health Helpline.

Motivational reading list

Here’s to a prosperous 2016!

3c7Happy New Year from the Homeroom team! After the gluttony of the holiday season, January is usually the month to restart, refresh, and revise. It’s a time when resolutions are set and new routines are created.

Besides physical fitness, it’s also a great time to get financially fit, and get those books in order before the tax season. Want to make sure you stick to your financial goals this year? Check out these tips and get started!

  • Get your taxes in order NOW: It’ll be tax season before you know it, so it’s time to get on your taxes if you haven’t already. If you need help filing, or with bookkeeping, don’t hesitate to hit us up.
  • Make realistic and achievable goals: One of the main reasons people don’t stick to their resolutions is that they set unrealistic or too many goals. Rather than attempting to save the world, you’ll find more success making smaller, achievable goals. Then make sure you celebrate your successes.
  • Automate, Automate, Automate: Automate as much as possible, meaning setting up automatic payments and deposits. This will make it harder to put off a payment.
  • Rebalance your investment portfolio: Make sure your investments are still on target and adjust as necessary.
  • Don’t do it alone: Make sure you have a goal buddy. Have someone who will hold you accountable and make sure you stick to your goals.

Just for fun: Here are the most Googled resolutions.

Happy resolving and here’s to a prosperous 2016!

Act now and save big on your taxes!

show-me-the-money-meme-830x400’Tis the season for gingerbread lattes, Christmas markets, chocolates galore, and taxes! Wait a second…but yes! By spending a couple of hours this month on your taxes, there are a few things you can do to maximize your savings and make your life easier come February 2016.

You can start by organizing eligible tax credits—charitable donations, kids’ spots and arts payments, transit passes, education and healthcare expanses. By putting any year-end bonuses into your RRSP before the February 29 deadline, you can avoid the tax.

Other year-end tax-saving tips:

  • Make charitable donations
  • Contribute to an RESP
  • Tax-loss selling
  • Installment payments
  • Kids’ expenses

So as you spread the holiday cheer this season, make sure you’re giving yourself a tax break as well!

On behalf of the Homeroom team, we wish you all a safe and happy holiday season!!

7 ways the Liberals’ majority affects you

CRumD2EUsAAgUCjOut with the old, in with the new. Monday night’s unpredictable election results overwhelmingly proved that Canadians wanted change.

And change we will get. With the Liberals in power, there’ll be changes to the country’s economy and your personal finances.

Besides having a Prime Minister the rest of the world seems smitten by, here are some ways the new government will affect you:

  1. TFSA limit: The Liberals will likely change the annual contribution limit back to $5,500.
  2. Tax cuts and increases: Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau has pledged to give greater tax cuts to the middle class (those earning $44,700 to $89,401) and increase income taxes on higher earners (those earning over $200,000).
  3. Family affairs: The Liberals will get rid of the Family Tax Cut and replace it with the Universal Child Care Benefit that provides about an extra $2,500 per year for a typical family of four.
  4. Students: Grads won’t have to start paying back their student loans until they’re earning at least $25,000 per year.
  5. Seniors: The age of eligibility for Old Age Security will not be raised. The Liberals have also talked about increasing Canada Pension Plan benefits.
  6. Small business: The Liberals promised to reduce the small business tax rate from 11 per cent to nine per cent and to improve access to skilled labour. However, president of the Canadian Federation for Independent Business, Dan Kelly, has expressed concerns that payroll taxes will be raised in order to find increases to CPP.
  7. The economy: If the Liberals legalize recreational marijuana, the industry could turn into a $5-billion market. The infrastructure building sector will also see growth, as Trudeau pledged to spend $60 billion to update Canada’s roads, bridges, and railways.

Get your ship in order before tax season!

Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks, Jennie Moore,

Photo of Jennie Moore courtesy of TD Accounting Services

(Guest post by Ontario-based bookkeeper Jennie Moore)

Yes, for those of you who are candid like me, the title is a play on words!

And I’m sure you get the message: Organize your stuff before giving it to your income tax preparer. Let me guess, you vowed last April that you would get your books in order and be a good little taxpayer.

But you didn’t, right? I’m not going to shame you. You’re likely already feeling guilty. But now it’s time to report to Sergeant Jennie Moore. You are now entering Bookkeeping Boot Camp!

Are you up for the challenge? Grow up and take control. Follow these steps and your income tax preparer will become your new BFF.

  1. Day One: Collect all of your source documents (i.e., sales, expenses, and home office expenses, if applicable)
  2. Day Two: Start with your sales. Organize them by date. Total them and sign off on the tabulation page or spreadsheet to attest they are accurate.
  3. Day Three: Find every expense receipt. Every one! No more excuses. You are not allowed to give your tax preparer more receipts once your tax return is in progress or finalized. Take it seriously.
  4. Day Four: Organize by date and tabulate all of your home office expenses by expense category, like Utilities, Telephone, Office Supplies, Advertising, etc. If you aren’t sure if an expense is deductible, categorize it as “Unsure”. Be sure to include details.
  5. Day Five: Write a list of any changes in your personal life since your last tax return. Your tax preparer isn’t physic! He or she won’t know you had a new baby that keeps you up at night unless you say so. The list is endless. So be detailed: you never know, you might be entitled to a tax credit or deduction.
  6. Day Six: Realize that that was a lot of work! Think of ways to make it easier next year.
  7. Day Seven: Make an appointment to speak to your tax preparer or schedule a drop-off, but understand this is a busy time for him or her. Your tax preparer cares deeply about your personal bookkeeping story — as well as everyone else’s. Avoid drop-ins or multiple emails and calls. Organize your thoughts, document them, and forward a nice package with a lovely bow on it. You may find the turnaround time is much quicker.

Congratulations! You have survived Jennie’s boot camp.

Your challenge: Evaluate every bookkeeping transaction you do and find an easier way of doing it…automatically! Talk to the people in the know. We have the answers. The solutions may surprise you. Stop being afraid!

Now do 20 push ups.

Just kidding.

This post originally appeared on QBO Adventures. Jennie Moore is an Ontario-based bookkeeper. Find out more about her and check out some of her other posts on her blog.

Are lower taxes for small businesses a good idea or bad idea?

Why small businesses and economists differ in opinion

small business, entrepreneurs, taxes, tax breaks, budget 2015, federal budget, Tories, CanadaAlthough the federal budget was largely praised by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and by small businesses themselves, not everyone is on board with what the Tories are proposing. Lowering the small business tax rate is great for owners and entrepreneurs, but remains a sticky point amongst economists.

So, why the difference in opinion?

The reduction of the tax rate is something the CFIB and independent businesses have been lobbying for for several years. The reasoning behind the government’s decision is to help small business owners retain more earnings that can in turn be used to reinvest and create jobs. Over the four-year period, owners are expected to save about $2.7 billion in taxes. Almost 700,000 small businesses will benefit.

However, economists looking at the bigger picture and the greater Canadian economy have a problem with this reasoning. According to UBC economics professor Kevin Milligan, many people set up small businesses to avoid taxation on a personal level, meaning not many jobs will actually be created.

The new tax rate also increases the tax gap between large and small companies, providing an incentive for businesses to stay under the $500,000 profit threshold, which is bad for the overall economy, says Jock Finlayson, chief economist with the Business Council of British Columbia.

Regardless, small businesses still need support, but Milligan would rather see a simplification of their administrative burden, and imports and exports, or a reduction of tariffs.

The next post in the series looks at how the budget affects female entrepreneurs.

 

 

Personal finances and the federal budget

How the budget affects your personal finances and family

federal budget, Family Tax Cut, TFSA, budget 2015, ToriesWhen announced in April, the Tories’ latest budget was lauded for how it helped small business owners. As any entrepreneur knows, not only do you have to take care of the business side, you need to keep your personal finances organized as well.

Luckily, we’ve got your back. Let’s review the three major changes to personal finances: Tax-Free Savings Account contribution limit, the Family Tax Cut and other measures, and the Registered Retirement Income Fund.

Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs)

The new TFSA contribution limit is now $10,000, up from the original $5,000. So, who benefits from this?

  • Those who use the full limit will save $3,708 in taxes over 10 years. However, the limit will no longer increase with inflation, meaning any further changes have to be legislated.
  • The change could make TFSAs more desirable than RRSPs for lower income households and retirees.
  • Wealthier Canadians can now move non-registered savings into TFSAs.
  • The middle income bracket (earning $50,000) won’t be affected as much, but it allows their financial advisors more creativity when planning.

The new limit is estimated to cost the government $1.1 billion in taxes by 2020.

The Family Tax Cut (FTC) and other personal touches

The Family Tax Cut is for two-parent families with at least one child under the age of 18 living at home. It’s based on income-splitting, but does not actually include the travel of of income from one partner to the other. One spouse receives a credit (up to $2,000) based on the tax they would have saved if income had travelled from the higher earner to the lower. So, who benefits from this?

  • The greater disparity of income between the earners, the greater the savings. If one spouse earns $100,000, and the other isn’t earning anything, they benefit the most. The higher earner “transfers” up to $50,000 (the limit) to the other. Both individuals are taxed in the $50,000 income bracket, which equals a lower rate and higher savings.
  • Other scenarios still benefit such as that between a $100,000-earner and a $75,000-earner who would save roughly $484; or between a $50,000-earner and a $40,000-earner who would save about $277.
  • Those in the same income bracket would not benefit from this. It only works if you’re shifting income to a lower tax bracket.

The FTC has been met with its share of controversy, as critics say it benefits the wealthy and only 15 per cent of households. Others believe it will lead to a small drain on the workforce, giving incentive for lower-income workers to stop working, particularly women.

Other family measures include expanding the Universal Child Care Benefit and raising the Child Care Expense Deduction limit.

Seniors and RRIFs

The budget proposes to reduce the minimum withdrawal rates on RRIFs for seniors 71 to 94 years old. This takes into account the longer life expectancy of Canadians living today. Seniors and disabled people can also use the Home Accessibility Tax Credit (HATC) to pay for renovations that make their homes safer and more accessible.

If you’d like to learn more about the changes, PwC outlines all the changes of the 2015 federal budget.

#TBT to talking procrastination on the CBC

Homeroom was featured on the CBC’s The National last year to talk procrastination and taxes, following a 2014 study stating that procrastination might be genetic. Besides death and taxes being life’s certainties, putting off doing your taxes during tax season is a close third.

We’re throwing back to this interview as a gentle reminder to keep on top of your taxes and bookkeeping throughout the year. Now that the tax season rush is over, it’s a good idea to keep procrastination at bay so that you’re sitting pretty come tax time 2016.

Check out the interview below.

Teya talks filing taxes in recent Globe and Mail article

Marjo Johne’s article provides tax tips for small businesses

Homeroom’s Teya Mali was featured in the Globe and Mail this week, discussing tax tips for small businesses, small business owners, and entrepreneurs. When filing taxes, she urges all business owners to keep their personal and business income and expenses separate, and doles out advice on how to effectively do so.

Check out the full article, “Business or personal? How to stay on the taxman’s good side,” written by Marjo Johne on the Globe and Mail.