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

Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, Quickbooks Online, QBO, QBO Vancouver, Christmas, Christmas 2016, Holidays Vancouver, Vancouver Christmas Market, West Coast Photo Booth

“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

Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, Black Friday shopping, Black Friday, #BlackFriday, QuickBooks Online, QBO

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! 

 

Want to get freaked this Halloween season?

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


Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, Bravo Dog, Dog Training, Puppy classes, Dog Coaching, Entrepreneur, Quickbooks, QuickBooks Online, Intuit

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.

Top 10 influencers to follow right now

Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, Inc.com, Business in Vancouver, Forbes, Jennifer Moore, QBO, QuickBooks, LedgerDocs, Mashable, Success Magazine

Get all your ducks in a row with boundless inspiration!

Make work time a happy time, grow your business with industry tips, transform a bad day into an AWESOME day! Homeroom cooked up a little pick-me-up action to help make your day, no matter how sucky or amazing it already is!

Sometimes a self-affirming post-it stuck on your computer screen just doesn’t cut it. And other days you could use some help navigating the small business world.

Here are our favourite go-to blogs (in no particular order) for daily boosts of inspiration. They make us feel all summery inside…

Success Magazine

From goal-setting to positive thinking to reinvention to failure, Success Magazine is our go-to BFL (Blog For Life). A true to it’s word “road to success”!

Mashable Business

Mashable shares all kinds of cool stuff. Small Business tips, Startups, Advertising, Media. And when you’re tired of reading business posts, check out their Entertainment section for hearty LOL moments.

Jennifer Moore

We love to stalk our girl Jennie at QBOadventures.com to get tips on the number one bookkeeping software we use QuickBooks and learn about new apps in the bookkeeping industry.

Business in Vancouver (BIV)

There’s always something to see at BIV! Catchup on daily news briefs and weekly articles. Local company profiles, investments news, and more! Lady in Charge Teya gets hers mailed to her address weekly, and definitely notices when they do not come (it’s a long story, but when she moved addresses they stopped coming for a brief time, and Teya was sad.)

Entrepreneur

We give Entrepreneur a golden star! Highly recommend this for ALL Entrepreneurs  who are interested in growing their business/ launching a business. They even offer daily health tips to get you in the right mindset, so there is nothing holding you back from success, not even YOU!

LedgerDocs

You must have heard us talking about LedgerDocs SO SO SO many times before. But we love it. We use Ledgerdocs daily for inputting receipts into QuickBooks Online (QBO). Our clients use it. They adore it. But we also don’t forget to check out LedgerDocs blog to keep up with the program updates, and see what else is new!

Financial Post

It’s all kinds of awesome. We usually peep the Entrepreneur section. It never, ever fails to impress.

Forbes

Forbes opens up with a quote of the day. Nice, right? A shot of business inspiration in your face from the start! How can you not want to read on? We sure put in some good time reading Forbes.

Fast Company

They’ve got titles that hook, they grab you hard, and don’t let go! “6 thing you’re doing that you’ll seriously regret in 10 years.” Like, how can you not want to click on THAT?

INC.com

While similar to some of the blogs we mentioned above, INC.com is its own gem with lots of GREAT reads, and a definite inspiration booster. Three big YES, YES, YES for all things business, technology and more!

Like us on Facebook to keep up with industry topics and team updates!

What are you reading to get inspired in business and life?

 

Employee or Contractor: CRA checklist


Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, CRA, Canada Revenue Agency, employment, employee, contractor, long weekend

Something to chew on over the long weekend……

Looking to hire additional help for your expanding business? Last week, we outlined key questions to ask yourself before expanding your sales force.

We noted that deciding between hiring a contractor or an employee is not as simple as figuring out your personal preference.  The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has a very comprehensive checklist that they use to determine if you should be paying your new hire as an employee or if it is OK to consider them a contractor.

This week, we are going over the checklist presented by the CRA  in more detail so that you can make sure you are paying people under the correct category to avoid nasty fines.

Tip: If you own a store or run an office and you don’t want to hire a contractor through a temporary  employment agency then you need to hire an employee and pay the applicable payroll taxes.

Determine who has control

Do you want to have control over the worker? Will you determine when, how and where the work will be completed? Do you expect them to complete the work personally?

According the CRA ‘It is the right of the payer to exercise control that is relevant, NOT whether the payer actually exercises this right’ so basically, if you have the option in any way, shape or form to control the employee’s time and how they complete the work then they are not considered a contractor.

Tools & Equipment

Who provides the tools and the equipment to complete the job?

If you provide your new hire with the tools and equipment they need to complete the job and are responsible for all repairs to that equipment then you need to hire an employee.

Subcontracting Work or Hiring an Assistant

Can the person who is working for you independently hire an assistant or subcontract out the work you have asked them to do?

 If the answer is no, then as you may be assuming by now, you have yourself an employee.

Financial Risk

 Will the worker be financially liable if they do not fulfill the contract? Does the worker actively market themselves? Does the worker perform a substantial amount of the work from their own workspace? Are they responsible for paying their own employees?

If you answered YES to these questions then you may be able to categorize your worker as a sub-contractor, if you answered NO then you guess it, you need to pay them as an employee.

Responsibility for Investment and Management

Does the worker have any capital invested in their business and an established business presence?

If they do then you are pretty safe hiring them as a contractor so long as the also meet majority of the above criteria.

Opportunity for Profit

Can the worker realize a profit or incur a loss? Is the worker paid a flat fee and incurs any expenses as a loss?

If the answer is NO then you need to hire the worker as an employee.

In the end if you are uncertain about your relationship with your new hire or you can’t distinctively answer majority of these questions with a YES or NO response (because the status of your relationship is unclear) then it is best to contact the CRA and get a ruling before you proceed.

This will save you a lot of grey stress hairs, and costs in the long term.

#ThursdayThoughts: Employee or Contractor?

CRA, Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, subcontractor, contractor, employee

Tear. It’s been a year. Your small business is growing before your eyes. You stare at your Profit and Loss statement for the hundredth time like a kid who’s been fervently measuring their height against the wall fixedly checks in on their progress, and your eyes fill with water. You really made it.

Your email  inbox is flooded with fan mail. It’s wonderful and scary. You want to respond to all of them, even the creepy ones, you want to be Superman/Wonder Woman/the Hulk combined, deliver on your promise of top-notch service but you need help.

You can finally afford it, but who do you hire: an employee or a contractor?

We recommend that before you hire anyone as an employee you start them out as a contractor for a trial period. This way you can test them out and make sure they work well with you, are reliable and will not steal business from you before committing to a long-term agreement.

Once the initial trial period is over, ask yourself the following questions to give some clarity when trying to determine the best way to proceed with your expansion:

What is the nature of the project?

Will you need to control the time of those who help you and the sequence in which they complete tasks?

  • Yes- Then you need an employee
  • No- Then you can consider a contractor

Are you supplying all of the equipment?

  • Yes- Then you need an employee
  • No- Then you can consider a contractor

Do you need a very specific task completed?

  • Specialized tasks are often completed by contractors however if it is an ongoing specialized task then you may want to consider hiring an employee.

How long will I be this busy?

Do you have a higher workload because you have taken on a short term, labour intensive contract?

  • Yes- Then you can hire a contractor
  • No- Then you should consider hiring an employee

Financial responsibility

Will the payment of the person you hire depend on you receiving payment for the overall contract?

  • Yes- Then you can hire a contractor
  • No- Then you should hire an employee

Training

Do you plan on providing training?

  • Yes- Then you should hire an employee
  • No- Then you can hire a contractor as they should already be trained.

What are the Financial differences

If you hire an employee

  • You must match your employee’s CPP which is 5% of their gross earnings.
  • You must pay 1.4 times the EI amount that the employee pays.
  • You must remit taxes on behalf of the employee.
  • You must supply your employee with the equipment necessary to complete the job.

If you hire a contractor

  • They are responsible for paying their own CPP and taxes.
  • They supply their own equipment.
  • You cannot fire them without paying out the contract, they also cannot quit without finishing the contract.

As attractive as it may appear to hire a contractor over an employee you must make sure that your contractor is considered a contractor under the rules set out by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or you risk experiencing heavy fines.

Stayed tuned for next week’s post where we will discuss the CRA employee or contractor checklist in more detail.