Is the Homeroom E-Return the ideal tax-filing option for YOU?

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The scrap piece of paper floating above the Number Cruncher Allysia’s head comes from a family of reused receipts, serving as the ideal platform for chicken scratch.

When filing a tax return using a new method can sometimes be mysterious and daunting.

Ask yourself these simple questions when trying to determine if the Homeroom E-Return is the best method for you to use when filing your income taxes.

Q. Do you like to roll to the beat of your own drum and do things on your schedule?

YES!!

The Homeroom E-Return allows you to file from wherever, whenever. All you need is a steady Wi-Fi connection and a laptop or phone. Simply, request the E-Return here and we will email you the instructions on how to securely submit your tax documentation through our online portal.

NO! 

LIAR!! Nobody seriously enjoys planning their day around other people!! We get it though, change is tough and taking your schedule into your own hands can feel weird and selfish. But it’s not!! Be a rebel! Learn to do you for a change!

OH POO!

We know that by submitting online you won’t have a reason to pop into our fabulous office space on West Broadway to get the scoop on the Lady in Charge Teya’s recent wedding or to join in on the fun and casual daily stretches. But it’s going to be ok, we will find new ways to entertain and update you that you can enjoy on your own schedule 😉

 

Q. Do you like to have a clear expectation of what your tax return will cost?

YES!!

Homeroom lists all of their prices upfront and will confirm in advance which option applies to you so that you can make an informed decision prior to submitting all of your documents (see the  Homeroom rate here). All of our rates are based on our E-Return structure.

Many well know tax agencies have their basic price listed then sting you for every additional piece of paper you hand over.

NO!!

I hate to say this twice in one post but seriously, LIAR!! If you really want to feel like the cost of your return is a mystery then, by all means, let us know and we can block out the amount in all our correspondence up until the invoice. We don’t want you to feel like you are missing out on some tax time payment roulette.

Life will be clear and easy and you won’t get to tell your friends about how terrible tax time is and make excuses for not filing your return!

Q. Do you care about the environment and love sloths?

YES!!

Save paper and leave more trees for the sloths by using our super cool online Homeroom E-Return option. All forms are electronically signable. No printer or scanner required. Do it all from your phone! No need to print countless pages of your tax return. We will securely email you your final copy, with an option to print if you reeeeally wish. Additionally, by not leaving your house you will also be saving gas making the world a cleaner, healthier, forever home for us all.

NO!!

Ok seriously! What kind of monster doesn’t like sloths?????????????????? We have nothing left to say!

OH, POO!

Yes, your friends might call you a hippy for caring about the environment but you are strong, you’ll survive this mocking by knowing that the entire Homeroom team thinks you are an environmental hero.

Request the Homeroom E-Return here, or stay tuned for next week’s blog post that will feature the in-person tax appointment.

When you owe the CRA money, but your cash flow is low

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Once upon a time, this cup much like a bank account was filled to the brim, and a juicy olive accompanied the penniless toothpick that now quietly rests on the desk….

There is nothing quite like receiving the little brown envelope from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) reminding you that you have tax debt. It makes you realize this empty cup is a depressingly on-point indication of your current financial situation.

Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for yourself here is what you should do:

  • Make a payment arrangement: Call the CRA and set up an agreement to make smaller payments over time until your debt and applicable interest is paid. Ignoring the CRA will only amp up any financial and/ or legal consequences. IMPORTANT: The CRA may also charge interest compounded daily at the prescribed rate on any amount owing until your balance is paid in full.
    • Here are three ways you can work with CRA to set up a payment agreement today. Remember, no one likes to be ignored so pick up the phone NOW.
  • Considering bankruptcy? This is not a decision you should make lightly as it follows you for life. If this is an option you are considering, go to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy for more information and to discuss options before committing to this solution.
  • Are You Business owner? You might qualify for taxpayer relief from penalties and interest charges and reduce the total amount you or your business owes. See  Taxpayer relief provisions if your business qualifies.
  • Financial hardship provisions: Does your debt repayment make it hard for you to pay for food, utilities, housing, and other life essentials? You may qualify for help under the financial hardship provisions.
    • It is your responsibility to contact the CRA if repaying your debt is causing you financial hardship. The CRA will take your situation into account when reviewing your request. For more information and to see if you qualify, call 1-866-864-5823.

To ensure you don’t end up in the same situation next year we recommend talking to a tax consultant right away so that you can plan accordingly.

 

What if you don’t have all your tax slips?

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Have you received all your income slips and do you have all your income tax information neatly clipped in a smooth-surfaced Manila folder ready to go for tax season? (Bonus points for dressing up your tax folder in self-affirming stickers that scream “AWESOME!!” or, “YOU ARE A STAR”).

If you are frustratingly shaking your head or wondering what we are talking about then read on:

Tax slips are provided by your employer, payer or administrator and are referred to when filing your tax return.

You should receive most of your slips and receipts by the end of February. However, T3 (Statement of Trust Income Allocations and Designations), and T5013 (Statement of Partnership Income) slips do not have to be sent before the end of March.

Still, by the time March rolls in, you might find yourself seething at the sight of your mail carrier, who’s brought you EVERYTHING—even Bob’s mail, and you don’t even KNOW a Bob—but your precious tax slips.

Take a moment to:

  1. Breathe
  2. Repeat this mantra: I will not go to jail, I will not go to jail, I will not go to jail
  3. Read this blog post about how to fetch your slips
  4. File your taxes before the deadline EVEN if you don’t obtain all of your slips in time!

Here are three ways to get a copy of your tax slips for the current year:

  1. Contact your employer, or the issuer of the slip, verify that they have the correct contact and mailing information for you and then request a new copy. Many times they will be able to email this to you.
  2. Complete a T1013 form. This allows a third-party (your accountant..us!) to view your tax information online. We issue this form to all our clients to make tax season as painless as possible.
  3. Register for the CRA My Account for Individual this will allow you to view your tax information online and retrieve missing information.

 

Obtaining a slip for prior years

If you need a T-slip for a prior year, you can get a copy by:

Ta-Da!! The CRA opens its online filing services February 20. Homeroom starts filing March 1!

You got this!!

Request the Homeroom E-return today here. We’ll take care of the rest!

 

 

 

What is the Homeroom E-return?

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Here’s what you need to do:

  • Request an e-return online
  • We’ll email you instructions on how to upload your documents
  • Snap pictures of your T4s, etc., and securely upload them
  • Homeroom processes your paperwork and contacts you with any questions
  • Homeroom sends you a tax return draft in PDF format
  • You approve by electronically signing
  • Homeroom e-files your taxes
  • Homeroom sends you your filed tax return PDF

Benefits:

Save time and money (and paper!) by getting the best Homeroom rate. No paying for parking, no sitting in traffic, no waiting for your appointment.

 

Ho, Ho, Homeroom Christmas Hours

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“Grab a prop”.  And so we did. The result were three hilarious photos jam-packed with Christmassy goodness. Homeroom Christmas party brought us to the magical Vancouver Christmas Market where we enjoyed mulled wine, pretzels and carousel rides. The team continued the fun at  Chambar with laughs and toasts! Photo courtesy of West Coast Photo Booth

 

With Christmas on the brain, a lot of our clients are asking about our hours of operation over the holidays.

While we will remain in full hustle mode (working from 8AM to 5PM, Monday to Friday) for most of the days like cool little bookkeeping elves, we will take some time off to guzzle down jugs of eggnog and insert funny family photos into lively Jib Jab videos.

So if you’re yearning to drop off your bookkeeping before the celebrations commence, please keep in mind the following changes in our hours:

  • Friday, December 23: We close the doors early at 3PM
  • Monday, December 26: CLOSED
  • Tuesday, December 27: CLOSED
  • Monday, January 2: CLOSED

We hope your holidays are merry and bright, and you welcome 2017 awesome-style, wherever you are!

Contact us here or call us at 604-739-9536 if you have any questions about your bookkeeping and ridding yourself of the last bit of 2016!christmasemojis

Think tax time before you go gaga over Black Friday shopping deals, no matter how fluffy

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If you’re like us at Homeroom, you’re feverishly pulling names for Secret Santa with your workmates, and thinking about snatching all the tantalizing Black Friday shopping deals.

We aren’t saying that those things are not important.  

However, there are a few more things that we recommend you think about before you body-surf your way to the cash counter or Jackie Chan your way through the mad crowds to that magical trinket that’s calling out to you,  to ensure that tax time doesn’t hurt your wallet (or your body) as badly as the holidays can.

Unless you’re  like the shoppers in the photo above, lugging human-sized plush toys through the packed fluorescent store aisles….. because teddy bears are forever-friends that can make everything better, even tax season!

Business Owners

If you are a sole proprietor and corporation owner it is time to start making sure you have everything in place to minimize your tax payable and to ensure a smooth transition into 2017, as December 31st is rapidly approaching.

Large Purchases

You should determine what business purchases you may want to make in the beginning of 2017. Once you have written your list take the time to consider if you can afford to make any of your listed purchases before December 31st.

If you can it will increase the amount you can write-off when completing your 2016 tax return.

Check Your Payroll

Take the time to look through your 2016 payroll liabilities.

Determine if there are any unpaid balances or discrepancies that you can remit/reconcile by Jan 15, 2017 (the date when final liabilities are due for 2016).

Failure to do this could result in your business being charged a penalty to rectify any errors that are found after your T4’s are submitted.

Note: Good bookkeepers will be doing this on your behalf.

Work Out Your Net Income

It is good practice to spend this time of year figuring out a rough estimate of what your net income was for the year.

This will allow you to determine if you have put aside enough savings over the year to pay your income taxes and if you haven’t it will at least buy you enough time to write a letter to Santa begging for money to be left in your Christmas stocking.

Personal taxes are on April 30th and corporate taxes are due March 31st so if Santa doesn’t pull through you still have a chance to save.

We recommend that you complete this task even if you are a salaried employee of your company as it will allow you to determine if you should hold off on paying yourself a bonus or if you should defer any salary payments.

Deferring some payments until January may help you stay in a lower tax bracket or at a minimum defer additional tax payments for another year.

If you need help getting your year end in order Teya our business consultant and tax expert is the lady to help. You can make an appointment by calling us directly on  604 739 9536  or by requesting an appointment through our contact us page.

Save money on your bookkeeping, Wonder Woman-style!

Wonder Woman Super Hero Vancouver

When you are juggling a small business or startup…. every penny counts.

Here are our top four tips for saving money on you  bookkeeping:

 

1. Organize your receipts

Keeping your receipts well organized can sometimes be difficult when you are busy running your business. As bookkeepers we are never surprised when a new client brings in bags or boxes of mangled receipts. However, if you are looking to make your bookkeeping as cost effective as possible then the easiest way to save money is to make sure your receipts are well organized so that the bookkeeper does not have to sort them for you.

In addition to sorting them, make sure they aren’t scrunched up into little balls. You may laugh but a lot of people do this and it takes a lot of time to un-scrunch them. Additionally scrunching them up can cause the ink to wear off which means that you are paying us to un-scrunch receipts that turn out to be blank pieces of paper.

Also if you want to claim the GST you paid on a meal as well as the tip (in addition to cutting down the amount of time we spend entering your data) make sure you staple together the original itemized restaurant bill to your credit/debit slip.

Sole Proprietors:

A common mistake a lot of first-timers make is arranging their receipts by month instead of by category.

The fastest way for your bookkeeper to enter your bills into Quickbooks is if they are sorted by category. If you want to go one step further and really limit the amount of time a bookkeeper spends on your file, organize your receipts by category AND company eg. Under transport put all your Translink receipts together.

Corporations:

If you are incorporated then you need to organize your receipts by payment method (eg. Visa account, cash, business savings account) rather than by category so that it makes it faster for your bookkeeper to enter your bills and reconcile your accounts.

2. Keep your receipts/documents in one place

Create a filing system for your receipts/ documents and utilize that system so that you can ensure all paperwork is easily accessible.

Keeping your receipts all over the place can result in two issues.

  1. You will lose some receipts. This means your reporting will be inaccurate and you may miss out on including significant write-offs in your tax return.
  2. You will need to keep contacting your bookkeeper to let them know about additional receipts you have found or to ask them to hunt down important documents for you. This means that you will utilize more of their time and your fees will increase.

3. Save your online receipts to a flash drive, or upload them to LedgerDocs

These days a lot of businesses send email receipts. Although you have the option to forward all of your email receipts to your bookkeeper we recommend that you download your invoices and save them onto a flash drive that you can submit with your paperwork. This saves your bookkeeper time as they do not have to sort through all of your emails, in turn saving you money.

It also means that if your email crashes you have all of your important documents saved elsewhere.

If you’re using LedgerDocs, snap pictures of your receipts and forward them to your unique email address in real time. We’ll take care of the rest! Contact us here if you are interested in signing up!

4. Don’t keep receipts you can’t claim

Know what you can and cannot claim and know your categories. For example: in most cases YOU CANNOT CLAIM CLOTHES as an expense unless they are branded with the company logo or required safety wear.

Additionally, you cannot claim haircuts, facials or any other kind of personal maintenance even if you are a TV personality or the face of your company.

Placing receipts into your file that you can’t claim just means that your bookkeeper spends extra time sorting through receipts, remember time is money.

 

Regardless of what state your bookkeeping is in we are happy to help you. That said, we always recommend that you consider these points because it not only helps you save money it keeps your bookkeeper happy and guarantees that you will be added to their secret list of favorite clients.

If you need help getting organized contact us today.

Think before you cheat the Tax Lady!

Granny's mad

The Scary Tax Lady is watching……and she means business! 

 

Google “tax audit”:

tax audit

Frightening indeed.

And it’s happening.

Extra tax auditors, tighter oversight, criminal investigations….

This year, The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is upping their game when it comes to catching the wicked tax dodgers, after recent reports revealed possible tax cheats and loopholes in the system, which certain offshore investors were also, apparently, tapping into.

Goosebumps-inducing, isn’t it?  Not if you report honestly come tax time.

The government is banking on catching the perps, which seem to have been slipping through the cracks. With a budget hike to bankroll tax hack crackdown , the CRA is already criminally investigating 20 cases of tax evasion and conducting 750 tax audits, according to Financial Post.

“The budget aims to recover $2.6 billion over five years through a pledge of $444.4 million to support the hiring of auditors and undertake investigations and verification of filings,” reported Business Vancouver.

The CRA crackdown:

The Canada Revenue Agency’s crackdown on tax fraud in the overheated real estate markets of Ontario and British Columbia is bearing fruit, with auditors recovering $240-million in unpaid taxes and $12.5-million in additional penalties over the past 18 months, new figures show.

The money is being recovered as auditors focus on several issues identified in a series of stories in The Globe and Mail, including property flipping, efforts to hide capital gains and avoid paying sales taxes, and false ownership statements. — The Globe and Mail

 

Need a trusty tax service to take care of your taxes? Get in touch with us here.

Stay on CRA’s good side, when it comes to proper tax filing because no one wants to be the receiver of THAT call……

 

 

 

 

 

Bravo Dog: Fun and smart coaching proves a treat for dogs and humans alike


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Renée Erdman, Owner of Bravo Dog, implements fun and effective coaching techniques for dogs and humans to create a healthy and happy living environment for all. Whether you are in puppy-training mode or tackling deeper aggression-issues with your canine, Renée is your go-to-gal! Photo courtesy of Bravo Dog | Words by Anja Konjicanin

 

Bravo Dog keeps tails wagging, and people jumping (out of joy!)

 

After 15 years of meticulous and grueling graphic design work, Renée Erdman, Owner of Bravo Dog and Certified Behaviour Consultant and Trainer, woke up with a realization: I don’t HAVE to do this for the rest of my life.

“I have always wanted to have my own business. Something to create and to call my own. I grew very tired of working for other people to help them reach their goals,” said Erdman. ” I wanted to do something in my life that gives back and makes a difference, even if it’s a small one.”

Bravo Dog joined Homeroom’s growing bookkeeping client roster this summer, and we couldn’t be more ecstatic about this amazing super woman entrepreneur and her business. Instantly, we had a light bulb moment: we will revive our Client of the Month series, starting with Bravo Dog!

We caught up with the awesome dog trainer last week. She dished on everything, from how she maintains a healthy work/life balance to tips for new entrepreneurs.

There’s even a training tip buried somewhere in there……

When did you open your business?

Bravo Dog is now two years old!

What do you enjoy most about being a business owner?

I can control whether my business is successful or not, whether I take on certain projects and, most of all, being proud of what the work can achieve for dogs and their people.

What do you like about the dog training/ coaching industry?

I meet some of the most fantastic people on the planet. They want to help their dog and their family to ensure everyone is happy and healthy. They are open to changing what they were doing that wasn’t working and they make themselves vulnerable a lot of the time by confiding in me about what is going on in their lives that is possibly affecting their dogs’ behaviour.

What’s your #1 motivator?

To reach the dogs and the people out there that have used questionable training methods and done more harm than good, that come to me with no hope. When I can help them change behaviour using scientific, reinforcement-based protocols proven by years of research and their dogs are happier and THEY are happier. That drives me to do what I do.

What’s your vision for the business?

To continue to build strong relationships with my clients and those that work in pet-related businesses. I do a lot of volunteer work with Whistler Animals Galore (WAG) and the BC SPCA and I really enjoy coaching and working with volunteers and staff. I would like to do more work with veterinarians in the future.

What advice do you have for other people who would like to start their own business?

Even with all the preparation in the world and money you need to have passion and drive for what you do. My motivation for Bravo Dog has nothing to do with money. Although I have to make a living, it’s something I would do for free if I could. If you can say that about your vision for your business then I can’t see how you CAN’T be successful.

How do you achieve a work/ life balance?

Ha, ha! That’s my biggest challenge. My work bleeds into every aspect of my life, it’s wholistic. It can be emotionally draining at times and burnout in this field is high. I took a vacation this year so I am going to try and do that every year. I take one day off a week NO MATTER WHAT. That means no appointments, whether I use it to catch up on work-related things is up to me but just ensuring I don’t book clients is healthy for me.

FUN FACT: Bravo Dog is the first company in the Lower Mainland to officially offer Canine Concierge Wedding services. YES!!!

Who could benefit from your services?

If you are thinking about getting a dog or already have one and you’re facing some challenges, I can likely help you.  A big portion of my work surrounds behaviour issues such as fear-aggression, but I also do a lot of work with puppies and the average dog that needs some help with manners.

TRAINING TIP: A new puppy can bring so much joy to a new family. But the start can sometimes be ruff. Here’s Dog Etiquette Made Easy.

Learn about Bravo Dog’s  training programs, puppy kindergarten, or one-on-one private sessions online here, or visit the store at 1493 Crown Street, #2, North Vancouver, BC.

Fall back into bookkeeping mode with three tips from the Number Cruncher

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Summer weather is a slowly-fading memory. Your bookkeeping needs some TLC. Spidey senses tingling…..

Look at your pile of receipts grinning sheepishly at you from across the room. Do you spend hours staring at them and envision turning that pile into a neat, categorized pile of receipts that are arranged into a filing system that your bookkeeper will love?

Has it possibly been months and the pile is still there? It’s time to let go of the dream of doing it yourself and bring them to us, your cool and keen Bookkeeping Super Heroes!

Slay your bookkeeping this fall (before the holiday craze kicks in November), and be ahead of the ball for tax season.

Whether you’re a small business owner or an awesome human living your life, here are three tips on how to catch up and stay organized, from Homeroom’s very own superhero Allysia Lewis, the Number Cruncher:

Allysia-

  1. If you are NOT already utilizing the fabulous LedgerDocs to take care of all your receipts digitally and you feel like you’re living inside of a bill blowing booth, do this: Buy an awesome folder. That is, anything to hold all your documents neatly together. Preferably, with separators/ pockets. The Number cruncher recommends you hit up Dollar Store, Staples, London Drugs or Walmart.
  2. Collect ALL your documents (expenses, sales, bank, and credit card statements). Look HARD in all the nooks and crannies to ensure no scrunched up bills welcome in the New Year in between your car seat. Your tax preparer will not want late receipts once your tax return is in progress or has been finalized.
    1. IMPORTANT: Small business owners: Separate your business expenses from your personal expenses. 
  3. Organize all your receipts by category: Meals. Utilities, Auto (Gas, Repairs, Parking), Office Expenses, etc.

We file tax returns for self-employed and employed individuals! We might have the power to revive even the sloppiest bookkeeping, file 12 years worth of tax returns, but you will save money by following the steps above, and help yourself stay up to date with your bookkeeping! The true power lies in you!

Contact us today here to learn more about our bookkeeping services, or request an e-return here.