Oh, snap! Submit your receipts electronically

Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, LedgerDocs, receipts, bookkeeping, Quickbooks Online, QBO, Quickbooks

Got a receipt? Capture it. Send it. Leave the rest to us, your #1 bookkeeper!

It’s that time of the year again! Remember the olden days when you had the cumbersome task of lugging bags of receipts the Homeroom office for your bookkeeping? Well, the FUTURE IS HERE!!!

The days of collecting paper are over.

We now have an option to submit your receipts electronically to us using the LedgerDocs app, while still getting regular accurate and timely reports.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Download the LedgerDocs App and use it to snap pictures of receipts and income invoices with your phone OR scan your docs and email them to your unique email address.
  2. Save yourself a trip to our office and relax knowing the rest is being taken care of by your bookkeeper!

LedgerDocs integrates with QuickBooks Online (QBO) allowing us to publish all of your expenses and income to your QBO file instantly.

You can even throw away your receipts once they are in LedgerDocs. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) officially accepts PDFs as supporting documentation.

We will also provide you with a back up of ALL your receipts if you decide to move on down the road.

Three ways to get your documents to LedgerDocs:

  1. Upload within LedgerDocs. Log in at www.ledgerdocs.com with your user ID and click on the green “upload to inbox” button to submit your photos or scans.
  2. Download the FREE app and use your cell phone (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc) to take pictures of and upload your receipts.
  3. Forward attachments directly from your email (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc) using your unique LedgerDocs email address, which we will provide.

Contact us here if you would like us to set this up for you.

Happy snapping!

 

Incorporation Series: I’m incorporated. Now what?

Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, Quickbooks, Incorporation, Incorporating Small Business Vancouver

Big yellow sign, you feel me, bro….

You did it. You put months of heavy contemplation into concrete action and incorporated your small business. *Confetti drop*

Now what?

We hope that this post will help guide you to successfully move forward with your new corporation.

First things first

You need to pick a date when you will start operating under the corporation. Usually the 1st of your chosen month is recommended. Once you have picked a starting date you need to allow around 2-4 weeks to get the following accomplished;

  • You need a completely new set of books/accounting records.

    • Your old books cannot be rolled over to your new company, no if’s but’s or maybe’s. The time of the year when you were a sole proprietor will be included in your personal tax return, while any business expenses that were incurred after you became incorporated will be included in your corporate tax return.

  • Figure out how you are going to organize all the new paperwork

    • Now that you are  incorporated the amount of paperwork that you will need to deal with is going to increase tenfold so you need to have a good filing system in place to manage everything.

What you need to change

There are three very important areas of your business that you will need to change.

  1. Since a corporation is a separate entity, you now need to apply for all new tax registration numbers including GST, PST & payroll numbers.

  2. You will need to apply for a new WorkSafe BC account. Make sure to include your current WCB number so that you get your rate information transferred over.

  3. You will need to open new bank accounts and apply for a new company credit card.

TIP: While doing this we recommend that you utilize this time to develop a relationship with your banker as it will come in handy later.

Other Important Reminders

  • Remember to put your new GST and PST numbers on your invoice template

  • Track your accounts receivable and accounts payable separately before and after your designated start date for using your corporation.

  • Inform your insurance company to update the policy with your corporate business name.

  • You may need to put some of your personal cash into the corporate bank account. Make sure that you track this.

If you are considering becoming incorporated and would like to discuss your options face-to-face with Teya our business consultant and tax expert you can make an appointment by calling us directly on  604-739-9536  or by requesting an appointment through our contact us page.

Incorporation Series: Should I Incorporate?

Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, Small Business, Grumpy Cat, Quickbbooks, Incorporation, Small Business Incorporation

To incorporate or not to incorporate?

The answer is not so clear-cut. And the looming questions can buzz around your head like fruit flies at a gravesite of a discarded lollipop. It’s enough to turn even the jolliest person into Grumpy Cat.

There are several factors to consider, so before you turn into a furry creature cursed to look like the angry emoticon (>_<) for all eternity , let us provide you with the tools you need to weigh up the pro’s and con’s of incorporating. Let us answer that lurking question experienced by most successful business owners ‘should I incorporate?’ and help easify your life!

Positives of incorporating

Limiting Liability

When you are a trading as a sole-proprietor your personal assets can be seized to pay your business debts which is a scary thought that can place unwanted stress on you and your family.

If you incorporate your business it becomes it’s own separate entity in terms of liability and financial responsibility.

This means two very important things. Firstly, it means that although your business is still liable for any debts it incurs, as a shareholder you are not personally liable unless you have given a personal guarantee.

Secondly, it means that the business essentially has an unlimited lifespan. Unlike a sole proprietorship which begins and ends with the owner, corporations can continue to exist regardless of ownership changes.

Tax savings

Additionally businesses that trade as a corporation are taxed at a lower rate of only 13.5% which is a great incentive for sole proprietors that are earning between $60,000-$100,000 on their personal tax returns.

Negatives of incorporating

Although incorporating your business may seem very appealing thanks to the promise of lower tax rates and limited liability there are some downsides that need to be considered, which are::

More government reporting

Don’t think for a minute that you will get lower tax rates without having to pay the price with government paperwork.

Increased accounting costs and responsibilities

If you were concerned about the cost of managing your books and taxes as a sole proprietor chances are high that you will find the increase in cost quite shocking once you incorporate.

More tax returns.

Once you incorporate you will have to file a corporate tax return AS WELL AS a personal tax return

The cost of incorporating

If you have weighed up the positives and the negatives and decided that incorporating your business is the way forward then you will need to budget in the following costs.

Setting up the corporation

This will cost roughly $1000 through a lawyer, which is recommended if there are multiple shareholders or assets to transfer. Alternatively you can incorporate on your own through the BC Corporate Registry for $350 using their online facility.

Maintaining the books

Annual Accounting costs ranging from $2,000 for a simple corporation that experiences minimal activity to $5,000 for an average small incorporated business.

Although this may seem high you really shouldn’t underestimate the value of a good accounting team. This is one area of your business you need to make sure is solid.

We hope that this overview has given you a stronger understanding of why businesses incorporate. In the end we recommend seeking professional advice before taking the plunge and incorporating your business. It is in your best interest to make sure that you incorporate at the best time and set everything up correctly so that you avoid paying penalties or experiencing issues in the future.

Stay tuned

In our next post we will be discussing what happens after you incorporate your business and the steps you need to follow.

If you are considering becoming incorporated and would like to discuss your options face-to-face with Teya our business consultant and tax expert you can make an appointment by calling us directly on  604 739 9536  or by requesting an appointment through our contact us page.

Incorporation Series: If you like it, put an Inc. on it

Vancouver Small Business, Vancouver Bookkeepers, Vancouver Small Business Bookkeeper(s)

Recently, a lot of people contacted us about whether or not they should incorporate their small business. So, we are turning to our trusty Homeroom blog to provide you with handy tips and advice with weekly posts on just that: the ABCs of incorporating your business.

While there are many advantages to adding “Inc.” to your business name, there are also a myriad of risks when you take the Inc. plunge at the wrong time, including costly mistakes that can hurt you financially if you don’t fulfill  all of your responsibilities with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

In order to help you gain a better understanding of this topic we will discuss the following topics over the next few weeks:

Should I incorporate?

This post will discuss the costs involved, the criteria you should consider before taking the plunge and the common mistakes people make when deciding to incorporate.

I’m incorporated. Now what?

We will help you understand the process, what decisions you need to make and what reporting needs to take place.

How do I pay myself if I’m incorporated?

This topic is pretty self explanatory. Paying yourself is really important and once you incorporate you want to make sure you do it correctly.

We hope that our series on becoming incorporated will allow you to gain a better understanding of what being incorporated means for you as an individual business owner and for your business.

If you are considering becoming incorporated and would like to discuss your options face-to-face with Teya our business consultant and tax expert you can make an appointment in July by calling us directly on  604-739-9536  today or by requesting an appointment through our contact us page.

 

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.

 

You get a raise! BC’s minimum wage jumps to $11.25 by 2017

Raise Vancouver
While the petition to raise the minimum wage in British Columbia to $15 still seems to be an active fight for change, BC’s minimum wage is climbing out of the chart dumps. Dubbed, ‘Lowest in Canada,’ the 80 per cent increase will place our beautiful BC in the whopping seventh place, with an additional small-business tax rate reduction of 40 per cent in 2017-2018.

Nice, eh!

What does this mean for you?

The increase will come in two stages:

  1.  The current minimum wage in BC of $10.45 per hour will go up by 40 cents to $10.85 in September 15, 2016
  2. Then it will raise to $11.25 in September 15, 2017

Liquor servers (who get  $9.20 per hour ) will get the same wage increases on the same dates.

Though the wage hike is not being celebrated by everyone, it’s a definite step up!

office-raise-the-roof

Raise the roof to that!

 

 

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!

So you think you can claim that expense?

IMG_5749

That’s Michelle Chand, our cool new intern, and a messy bookkeeping project on her lap we call The Big Blue. But all you see is your face,  stuck amid a pile of receipts you are not even sure you can claim as a business expense and a mean clock ticking down to tax time? We can help!

So, you just got a styling hairdo at your favourite salon and a fancy Aritzia number to go with it.  But can you claim your new look come tax season?

Every year around this time, clients come in, confused about what they can and can’t claim.

So, we decided to bust common tax myths:

Home office Tax Myths:

  • Your Dog is not a security expense – You laugh but this is a legit thing people try to claim! We repeat if you have a home office you cannot claim any expenses related to your dog as a security expense. That means vet bills, dog food and hours spent loving your dog are not under any circumstances tax deductible.

  • Home office deductions are based on the percentage of your home that you use to conduct business NOT  the size of your home. You need to calculate: square footage of business area and divide that by the square footage of your home. Storage space for business supplies and/or tools also can be included in your calculations as an area used for business.

Clothing Tax Myths:

  • GENERAL CLOTHING CANNOT BE WRITTEN OFF UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. The only benefit you are going to get from purchasing some new work threads is the satisfaction of looking really good. The only exception to the rule is safety clothing such as hard hats or steel toe boots and company branded clothing that is considered a uniform.

  • Dry Cleaning is only deductible if you are having a company uniform cleaned. That beautiful Armani Jacket you own unfortunately needs to be cleaned at your own expense.

Food Tax Myths:

  • A legitimate meal expense is one where you are going out with a colleague or potential client to discuss business. Going for a solo lunch while working doesn’t count for a meal. You should also record the name and number of the client you are meeting with on the meal receipt.

NOTE: In an audit of one of our clients, the auditor asked to see each meal receipts with the name and phone number of the person who was present at the meal AND a description of the type of business that was discussed.

Vehicle Tax Myths:

  • Just because your vehicle is branded doesn’t mean that you write off 100 percent of vehicle expenses. Auto expenses are calculated based on the percentage of the year’s total km’s that are driven for business purposes. That said the expense of having your car branded is 100 percent deductible as an advertising expense.

Client Gift Tax Myths

  • If you purchase liquor or any type of gift certificate from a restaurant, for example, a Starbucks or Whole Foods gift certificate, as a client gift, this is considered a MEALS expense (so only 50 percent is deductible) NOT an advertising expense (100% deductible). In order to deduct client gifts at 100 percent you need to buy gifts that aren’t food such as spa packages, flowers, Home Depot gift certificates etc.. Additionally you need to make sure you note which client received what gift in case you are audited.

Employee Tax Myths:

  • If you receive a T4 from your employer, you are not eligible to deduct ANYTHING unless your employer fills out a T2200 form authorizing you to do so. That said any dues or insurance you purchase from professional organizations can be deducted so long as you have been designated as a professional.

Student Tax Myths:

  • Unfortunately, as a student, you are not allowed to deduct any additional expenses beyond what your tuition slip from your educational institution (T2202) indicates. Therefore items such as your computer and stationery supplies are non-deductible.

When filing your taxes it is important to keep in mind that from the CRA’s perspective anything that could be deemed as personal, WILL be deemed as personal in the event of an audit.

Although you can take the risk and claim the above expenses you really should not, because in the event that you are audited and your claims are denied you will be forced to pay a fine in addition to paying back all of the tax you avoided along with interest.

We are taking appointments for tax consultations now so if you want to get ahead of the rest and book your ideal time contact us now.

Stretch your tax worries away

u-work-out-bruh-funny-cat-meme
Feel the burn? Power through tax season like a champ with these sassy moves.  Stretch your tax worries away. By Anja Konjicanin

At the Homeroom office, we have set ourselves the challenge to stretch every day.

So we get up every two hours for a break from the chair.

Great warm-up for tax season, right?!

These movements may not be much but the consistency with which they are repeated makes all the difference toward a long healthy life. Because a little bit goes a long way with these office-friendly stretches that keep on giving!

We are doing it for the forever healthy, happy, energetic body. What’s your WHY?

Sit Less, move more, do more, feel great:

1. Neck mobilization (6-8 reps): Keeping your chin up turn your neck side to side with a pause and hold on each side. With your chin pointed down toward your chest roll your chin from shoulder to shoulder in gentle half-circle.

2. Shoulder and upper back openers (6-8 reps): Arms are in front of your with forearms and palms together. Separate your arms keeping them at a 90 degree angle push back until you feel your upper back squeeze together. Keep your back squeezed raise your arms over your head. Return to the first position and repeat.

3. Wrist and hand stretch and mobility (6-8 reps): Arms are extended straight in front of your body. Flex or roll wrists and hands.

4. Good morning twists (6-8 reps): Arms are crossed against your chest. Keeping your head up and back straight hinge at the hips moving your chest toward the ground until you feel a stretch up the back of your leg (hamstrings). Hinge up to standing erect pressing your hips forward until you feel your bottom (glutes) flex tight. Then standing straight and tall twist to the right, return to the middle and twist left. Start at the first position and repeat as directed.

5. YTUW Back, Glutes, and Hamstrings Hinge (3 reps): Standing straight and tall push your glutes out (stick your bottom out). Raise your hands above head then move your arms down into a “Y” position, then “T”, “U”, “W”. Return to hands above head. Hinge forward keeping your head up and back straight until your hands come to rest on your desk or other flat surfaces. Slide your fingers forward on your desk feeling a stretch down the back of your body. Return to standing and repeat as directed.

6. Split Stance Tilt for calves and hip flexors (2 reps pers leg): Part 1 – Standing tall with feet shoulder width apart. Step forward into what would be a natural stride keeping your back heel pushed down to the ground. Push your hips forward toward the front foot keeping your chest high and your head up. Part 2 – In the same stance look up and fully arch your back and tilt your hips up and away from your back leg. Return to standing shoulder width and repeat with the other leg.

7. Ankle circles (2 reps per side): With your toe pressed into the ground make small circles rolling your ankle in one direction and then the other.

Small daily actions go a long way. They can keep you healthy, stress-free, and organized.

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.

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