Financial Spring Cleaning: How to Get Control Over Your Money

Comment

Financial Spring Cleaning: How to Get Control Over Your Money

For many Canadians, financial planning remains a stressful and elusive task. It’s not just about creating a budget and sticking to it; it’s also a matter of seeing into the future, in a way, to ensure you and your family are on the right track. That can be difficult to do when there’s never enough money to add to a savings account or when unexpected expenses drain what you have.

Fortunately, there are several simple things you can do to give your finances an overhaul. It’s important to keep up with spending for the entire family, not just for the sake of your checkbook, but for your own mental health. Money is a top cause of stress for Canadians and it doesn’t seem to matter how good or bad the economy is, because there are always bills to pay. That stress can leave you feeling depressed, anxious, or unable to function at the level you need to, and it can even lead to substance abuse in some cases. For more info about the link between mental health and addiction, read on here.

Keep reading for some tips on how to get control over your finances this year.

Look at your spending
The first step in taking control over your finances is to look at your spending carefully. Sit down with your spouse or partner and go over your bank statements for the past two months. Look at where your money goes, and don’t forget to factor in cash transactions. Outside of utility bills, rent or mortgage, and necessities like gasoline and groceries, what did you spend the most on? Remember that sometimes seasonal factors are at play too, such as having to buy school clothes for the kids.

Cut back
If you see a chance to cut back on your monthly spending, talk it over with your family members. Many families choose to get rid of cable in favor of a less expensive streaming service, or to get rid of a landline phone since they already have cell phones. You don’t have to be brutal with your cuts; if it’s something you enjoy, think twice before getting rid of it or simply cut back. For instance, if you subscribe to a streaming video service and receive DVDs in the mail as well, consider using only one of those.

Set a budget
Creating a budget can be tricky, but it’s important to sit down with your family and talk about spending and how to save. Your household budget should begin with a look at your necessary spending. Once those numbers are added up, look at what’s left and lay out the best ways to use it. You might decide to allot a certain amount for clothing or to start saving for a vacation or a new car. Whatever you decide, make sure you communicate it to the entire family so that everyone is on the same page. Doing this will help give you peace of mind as far as knowing what to expect each week and will help relieve some stress at the same time.

Look at your credit card use
Many of us rely on credit cards to get through the month, but if you can’t afford to pay more than the minimum balance, you’re only digging yourself deeper into debt every time you use it. Come up with a solid plan on paying off your cards and resolve to resist the temptation to open up new accounts when they are offered at retail stores.

Getting your finances in order is rarely an easy thing to do, but it’s absolutely necessary if you feel your family is overspending. Come up with a plan before making any big decisions, and talk to your loved ones about the best ways to stay on the right track.

-Article by Larry

Comment

5 Tax deductions for the small business owner 

Comment

5 Tax deductions for the small business owner 

As a Canadian small business, the focus is so heavily on sales that many business owners don't take advantage of the many write offs that are available to small business owners. Writing off applicable business expenses under your business income can reduce the taxable income which reduces your taxes payable. 

Pro tip - always keep your receipts #Hubdoc and your logbook #mileIQ these are necessities. These solutions are more proactive than reactive in case of a audit. 

1. Vehicle expenses:
Many small business owners always inquire on leasing a car or financing a vehicle for business. Each decision carries it’s own decisioning and will require a consultation. 

  • Calculate your total km’s from the total km log and multiple the first 5000km by $0.55 = $2750 + each additional km add in $0.48. So if you drove a total of 10000KM for the business your total deduction would be $5150 + HST = $5819.50 (Which becomes tax free car allowance). 
  • Lease the vehicle which is capped at $800 a month but the total km’s you drive for personal will result in a standby charge which is included as a taxable benefit on your personal income. 

2. Meals & Entertainment: 
Taking your clients out for working meetings is a acceptable expense. Please remember that all entertainment related expenses are 50% tax deductible which includes expenses related to sporting events, restaurants, gratuities, entrance fees, rentals etc. 

There are a total of 6 meals and entertainment expenses reserved for when all staff events/parties which is 100% deductible. So that Christmas party you are planning it’s on the house! 

3. Furniture & Equipment: 
If your a small business owner who just opened a business and you brought your own laptop and or other necessary equipment. You can sell your equipment/furniture to your corporation at fair market value and take back a due to shareholder note. This movement of assets into your corporation creates the ownership to be held in your corporation however you always hold possession to the furniture & equipment. 

Additionally you get to take depreciation write off for year’s to come against future income.

4. Operating expenses: 
Expenses attributed to create a smooth sail for your business can be written off. This includes your office rent, office supplies, accounting fees, legal fees, computer software etc. You can deduct the cost of these used directly for the business which helped to earn income.

5. Business Insurance premiums: 
Often in business school they teach that the cost of doing nothing is often higher than doing something. That being said you can write off your entire business insurance expense as a eligible expense for your business. Some of the insurances that you should consider are 

  • General Business liability insurance - basically to protect you from potential lawsuits 
  • Business property insurance - in case of destruction or theft of your equipment. 
  • Business Interruption insurance - to cover business losses in relation to natural disasters and fire.

As always we offer free 30 mins consultations for other in depth questions you might have. Feel free to book us in for a quick call and setup. 

Comment

How to Protect Yourself & Your Wallet As You Venture Out On Your Own

Comment

How to Protect Yourself & Your Wallet As You Venture Out On Your Own

Whether you’re just submitting applications to college or finally stepping out into the world, gaining personal and financial responsibility is vital if you want success in life. Unfortunately, many young people are instead finding themselves burdened by finances due to irresponsible use of earnings. However, there are several ways you can secure your future by saving, implementing smart money management techniques and protecting yourself from life’s uncertainties. 

Acquire Self-Control
When it comes to your money, a little self-control goes a long way. Instant gratification seems fun but cumulatively can cause trouble for you in the future. Not taking care of your bills and other necessities can also cause great arrears which can lower your credit and put you at high risk for increased debt. 

According to Creditcards.com, consumers are more willing to spend a considerable amount of money when using a credit card over handing over cash. By doing so, you aren’t actually saving any money at all. In fact, you can get into serious debt if you aren’t paying back those costs on time. When that debt accrues and isn’t paid back, this can put you at risk for garnished wages, bill collectors going after you, and even being sued. 

 Instead, stick to a budget, like the 50-20-30 rule which allows you to see exactly how and where your budget should be allocated. This rule builds a customized financial plan on a unique level since we all have various wants and needs with differentiating incomes.

Shake Off Leeches
Just because you need to save doesn’t mean you can’t go out and have fun. However, it’s important to become aware of money leeches, entities or people that drain your financial resources. A money leech ties itself to you and tries to stick around, but it’s up to you to no longer feed it. 

As a young adult, you will come face-to-face with various forms of temptations; some not so harmful, while others may be dangerous. However, not giving bad habits the time of day will help you to gain control of your own life. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance and alcohol abuse has risen for college-age students, due to peer pressure. An addiction or unhealthy habit can send you into a downward spiral with financial hardships, so become aware of how such practices can also send you into debt. 

Gaining the confidence to just say no to money leeches will give you the confidence to say no to other activities or things that don’t serve you. Save yourself headache (and money) in the long run by learning what constitutes a necessity versus an option.  

Financial Planning
With the right tools, anyone is capable of setting themselves up for a great future, financially. However, not everyone learns the proper way to manage money. Unfortunately, schools don’t teach financial management and money-saving skills are rarely taught at home, which is why so many young people today are accruing more debt than they can handle. However, it’s never too late to learn how to become a financially independent adult, which can keep you from living paycheck-to-paycheck and also puts you in the position to help others.

 One way of acquiring knowledge about money management is to utilize devices, apps and websites which not only teaches you to budget wisely, but helps you to see where your money is going and has long-lasting effects on how you view money and ways it’s distributed. You may even find speaking with a financial counselor to be useful. Financial counselors are there to help you avoid investment and tax mistakes as well as provide you with a deeper knowledge of how finances work. However, finding one that has your best interest in mind is of the utmost importance. 

While money is a valuable asset, your life is even more precious. Secure it by making the right decisions and creating a viable financial plan that will help you go far beyond your wildest dreams.

Article written by - Larry 

 

Comment

Firm of the Future 2017 - CapexCPA 

Comment

Firm of the Future 2017 - CapexCPA 

Firm of the Future 2017 - CapexCPA

Quickbooks just released the newest firm of the future accounting firm winners who have been recognized for leveraging the key trends in the Accounting industry. The four major elements being the cloud, service, technology and power reporting. When these four elements are put together, they allow us to create a strategic partnership with our clients and become a Firm of the future.

CapexCPA applied for this contest, where a total of 15 firms worldwide were selected with 4 from each country being Canada, USA, UK and Australia. In Canada, Quickbooks ranked our firm as one of the top 3 cloud accounting firms. We feel honoured to be recognized as one of the firms of the future. At CapexCPA we strongly believe in our signature DNA elements to help our clientele. Below is our take on how we became a Firm of the future. 

The first DNA element is Cloud. 
We feel that using the same cloud accounting platform like Quickbooks allow our clients to understand the numbers better. The cloud eliminates confusion and helps with timely decision making. Keeping transparency is critical in establishing a trusting relationship with our clients.  

The second DNA element is Service.
We make every effort to respond to all emails, phone calls, texts and social media to help communicate with our clients. Providing speedy responses to questions is essential to play the Virtual CFO role. 

The third DNA element is Technology. 
Using technology in every facet from client on-boarding to the tax year-end and repeat. We only use the best in class software providers. Our app closet essentials include Quickbooks, Hubdoc, Wagepoint, and Plooto. We wouldn’t be able to run our Cloud practice without these software platforms. 

The fourth DNA element is Power-Reporting.
Providing our clients with strong analytical reports that extend the Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet is what helps to differentiate us from traditional accounting firms in the industry. Our clients love getting weekly/monthly cloud reports which help resolve real operational issues before they become problems. 

We look forward to working towards introducing a completely paperless and cloud based accounting experience for our future clients. It’s been an amazing ride thus far, and we look forward to growing and helping to pioneer the future of Cloud Accounting. 

Choose Change. Choose Capex.

https://www.firmofthefuture.com/content/intuit-announces-2017-top-four-global-firms-of-the-future/

Comment

Starting your Business after a Career setback where to begin?

Comment

Starting your Business after a Career setback where to begin?

Starting your own business may seem like an overwhelming decision, but if you’ve recently suffered a career setback, it may be the best path for you. Not only will you be able to dictate what your responsibilities are, you may be able to set your own hours, find a business that you enjoy being in every day, and hire your own set of employees who will work hard to make your dream come true.

There are lots of details to consider, but with a good plan and some preparation, you’ll be ready to tackle anything that comes your way. The first step is to think about what type of business you want to start. Consider your hobbies and things you’re skilled at; if you have a college degree, you can apply it here. Your new business should be something you really enjoy, because it takes a lot of hard work to get up and running and you want to ensure that you’ll still be invested years down the road.

Here are some of the best tips on how to get started with your own business.

Think about the consequences first
Starting a business takes a lot of planning, and things don’t always go as planned. Think a few steps ahead and picture running your business on your own. Will you have the fortitude to handle it? Most small business owners work very long hours and don’t see much return on their investment in the first year or even two years; do you have enough money saved to get you through the lean times? Will your schedule allow for it? Write down all the pros and cons before taking any steps to ensure you won’t have any nasty surprises down the road.

Think hard about the type of business you want
All successful businesses start with a good idea. Don’t allow yourself to be drawn into a business concept that may only be a passing fad; instead, develop a solid plan and work from there. Ideally, it’s something you’re passionate about and/or have experience with so that from the beginning, you’re ready to jump in with both feet.

If you don’t have enough experience in any one field, think about becoming self-employed. This will give you the freedom to set your own hours and choose the type of business you want to break into, such as real estate. Becoming an agent will give you valuable experience and will allow you to work with people who might be able to refer you to new clients, meaning your money-making possibilities will only expand.

For more info on becoming a real estate agent, read on here.

Do some research
Test out the current market for the product or service you want to provide in your community and work your way out to see what the demand will be, and also to find out what competition you may be dealing with. If there is a similar business in your neighborhood, do some research to find out how they do things, what their customer base is, and what their price points are. This will help you decide how to proceed with your own concept.

Establish a budget
One of the most important steps in starting a business is to establish a budget and figure out if you’re going to need investors. Sit down with a financial advisor so that nothing is overlooked and think about what your startup costs will be, as well as how much you’ll need to get through the first several months to a year. Include funds for a storefront, if you’ll be buying one, as well as taxes, licenses, and funds for employees.

Starting your own business is a big job, so reach out for help from professionals or from people who have experience in the field. Garner support from friends and family, as well, so that the process isn’t so scary.

Article written by - Larry Mager

 

Comment

Top 10 Federal Budget 2017 changes

Comment

Top 10 Federal Budget 2017 changes

On Wednesday March 22nd 2017, our Canadian finance minister Bill Morneau introduced the 2017 budget. Out of the many changes a few were spared including the personal tax rates, corporate tax rates and capital gains rates.

  1. Innovation Credits the Canadian government would like to provide new financing support in the realm of $1.4 Billion for clean technology firms to grow and expand. Over the next coming months the application process for these programs will be finalized and companies can apply.
     
  2. Tax Planning using corporations is under review by the Canadian government. Corporations were effectively used to avoid or minimize the tax that corporations and shareholders would pay. The main areas of tax planning within a private corporation being targeted is a) Incoming splitting, b) Passive investments and c) conversion of regular income into capital gains.
     
  3. CCPC Status stands for Canadian controlled private corporation which carries many benefits. Budget 2017 has proposed changes where the status of the CCPC which is entitled to the small business deduction of $500,000 will have to pass additional tests. Although a tax payer may not having voting control (Common shares) of a corporation but they can still have influence over the directors where such a case can be established the small business deduction will have to be shared amongst the corporations.
     
  4. Stop loss transactions: Before Budget 2017 a taxpayer could enter into two transactions where the first transaction would trigger a loss prior to the tax year and as such reducing the taxes for the current year. The second transaction would trigger a gain preceding the year-end in which the gain would not be taxed for a whole year. If parliament agrees to eliminating this tax technique than all future transactions will be disallowed and taxed under the new measures.
     
  5. Accrual basis Accounting: As many of you would know there are two methods of accounting being cash and accrual. The primary difference between the two relates to revenue timing. The Accrual method will calculate the tax owing position based on revenue generated and the cash basis accounting method would calculate the tax based on cash collected. The professions being impacted with the new budget will eliminate the choice of choosing between the methods and force Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers and Accountants to use the accrual basis. A letter is expected clarifying this but it will allow for a 2 year transitional period.
     
  6. Caregiver credit system: Budget 2017 proposes to simply and streamline the caregiver credits. The infirm dependent credit, caregiver credit and family caregiver tax credit will be phased out and replaced with the new Canada caregiver credit. Where the credits will apply to the families that live or don’t live in the same household.
     
  7. Medical tax credit: Individuals who incur medical intervention to conceive a child will be eligible for the medical tax credits. Prior to the Budget 2017 these expenses were limited to those who would generally be eligible for medical infertility.
     
  8. Public Tax credit: This tax credit used by many will be phased out as it hasn't encouraged people to use public transit and reduce green house emissions. It's unfortunate as this was one of the few credits that students and commuters would claim.
     
  9. Ride sharing: Your Uber will be taxed with the GST/HST taxation and have the same rules applied to taxies to be applied to the ride sharing companies. Basically your Uber will cost you more now but be just as safe as taxis due to the added regulations.
     
  10. Increased funding for CRA: The budget announced that half a billion dollars will be used to fund the CRA over 5 years in an effort to prevent tax evasion and improve tax compliance. It means we will be having many more auditors being hired and policing tax evaders. Ensure you always report everything to the CRA and always keep your receipts as they can go back by 6 years to audit/review your books.

Comment

We are your Accountant 2.0

Comment

We are your Accountant 2.0

Change is the only constant in the new age of technology. Technology changes companies and even entire industries might get wiped out. The days of looking at a set of financial statements to see how the business is performing are long gone. Small businesses require more relevant information on their business to help make the decisions of tomorrow.

In the past Accountants have played the role of what we call historians. Accountants would typically speak to the historical financial performance and assume that to be a viable representation of the future growth of a business is inherently flawed. Let's think of a practical example, If Rogers Communication loses 20 million in revenue it wouldn't be such a big deal had they lost 20 million cellphone subscribers. Take that in for a minute basically the market now reacts to new information such as the subscriber base which isn't represented in the traditional financial statements. The understanding here is that focusing on the bigger pictures leads to the bigger results i.e. higher subscriber base will bring in the higher revenue.

As such each business has what are called key productivity indicators. It's important to study these metrics as you can not make something better and bigger if you don’t measure it. Measuring can be a lot of administrative work and can be counter productive unless you use the cloud. The cloud can shape your business and empower you the business owner with just in time information. Imagine having the ability to check how your business is doing above and beyond the business bank account.

Imagine being able to run the Profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow statements all by yourself or just running simple dashboards to see how you did from this month versus the last month? Being able to do projections and set sales targets with a few clicks of the mouse and done. Setting up targets is critical for growth and understanding why you didn't hit those milestones is what financial information should be used for. Reading past the numbers is what business owners require and need and delivering this in a robust and efficient way is what the new breed of accountants will need to adopt.

The 21st century business owner wants a new breed of accountant who plays as a linebacker while they play the quarterback. The days of seeing your accountant once a year are coming to an end and for accountants being a benched player are slowly drifting away. It's game time and it's a exciting opportunity to help each business grow and flourish.

Embrace the silver lining of the cloud and feel the difference!

Choose Change. Choose Capex.

Comment

'Free' Personal Tax Filing

Comment

'Free' Personal Tax Filing

It's that time of the year again and here we are another year staring at our T4 slips and asking that question….Where did all the money go? It's important to have your taxes filed on time and every year because there are some tax breaks that you can qualify for and receive rebates. These rebates won't make it to your mailbox if you don’t do your annual tax filing.

The perfect website to use to file your personal simple income tax returns is www.SimpleTax.ca. It's a friendly, fast and efficient way of having your personal taxes filed this year. Paying someone to do a simple tax return can be money used to invest in your RRSP or TFSA account. #SaveTheChange

In case you owe money to the CRA outstanding tax owing amounts can rack up penalties and interest. In case your curious the penalty is 5% of your 2016 owing amount plus 1% for every month that it's late for a maximum of 12 months. So a pro tax tip is to file your tax return even if you can't pay the total amount so you can avoid the late filing penalty.

If you choose to skip out on your taxes for multiple years you get yourself into deep waters where the penalties get really expensive. The penalty will be lesser of the 10% of the amount you did not file and or 50% of the difference between the understated tax and or related to the amount you failed to report.

False statements on your tax returns is serious and if it carries it's own set of tax troubles. However, the Canada revenue agency understands that mistakes happen and if you catch this mistake before the CRA than you can get away with just a simple slap on the hand! The program is called the voluntary disclosures program.

Key things to remember when filing your personal tax return this year.

  1. Did you report all your T4, T4E, T5 and other tax slips received in the mail?
  2. Remember that Presto and TTC passes are tax deductible not your regular trips. (i.e. the actual cards).
  3. Did you pay any rent for the year? That's tax deductible
  4. Did you take care of your parents and or child? That's also tax deductible.
  5. If you had any tuition or professional fees paid you should claim those expenses.
  6. One of the expenses rarely claimed is medical bills (i.e. prescriptions).
  7. Did you sell your primary residence in 2016? This is a new requirement and needs to be declared
  8. Do you own any foreign property? Please ensure to claim this on the form T1135.

Please use the following resources:
Interest & Penalties
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/ntrst/menu-eng.html

Deductions:
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/menu-eng.html

Tax Software to use:
https://simpletax.ca/

Comment

Top 5 things you need to know when buying a Business!

Comment

Top 5 things you need to know when buying a Business!

When buying or selling a business there are essentially two types of sales: an asset sale or share sale. The structure of the deal is important to avoid any unwelcome surprises. 
 
There are 5 main considerations you need to look for: 
 
1. Liability - With a share sale, all the assets and liabilities are translated to the new shareholders of the company. This means that the seller gets to walk away from any liabilities and the buyer would assume all responsibility for such. i.e. Pending tax returns or tax liabilities. As an Asset sale allows the buyer to essentially pick and choose the pieces of the business that are attractive the liabilities generally remain with the seller. 
 
2. Employees - In an asset sale, the non-union employees i.e. regular employees will not be taken by the buyer. More commonly, however, the seller will negotiate extended contracts for the employees so that wrongful dismissal claims from employees can be avoided. In a share sale, the targeted company's employees remain employed with the company as only the ownership of the shares are swapping hands. If the buyer chooses to retain or terminate the employees then the buyer will have to pay the severances accordingly. 
 
3. Complexity - Share sales are less complex than asset sales. An asset sale will require additional documentation of the assets being transferred over at fair market value and non-arm's length. In contrast, under a share sale the assets of the target company will remain within the company and only the shares and any shareholder loans would need to be accounted for. 

4. Taxation - Share sale - The proceeds of a share sale above the seller's adjusted cost base are taxed as Capital gains (50%) to be included as income. However, if certain conditions are met such as the business being a active business then the $824,176 lifetime capital gains exemption( 2016) can be used to avoid the capital gains taxation for qualified small business corporations. The capital gains taxation can be further reduced by using intercompany dividend transfer strategies. 
     
A buyer might prefer to do a share transaction to take advantage of the non-capital tax loss carry forwards (business losses) can be applied against future income. A share purchase also allows the buyer to avoid paying sales and property taxes on purchased assets. These taxes can be significant when combining the sales tax and the property taxes which can be avoided by implementing the right strategies. 

5. Taxation - Asset Sale - A seller will usually want the purchase price to be optimal to minimize the recapture of capital cost allowance previously deducted on depreciating assets. If the price paid for a real estate building was $500,000 the historical price recorded would have been that on the balance sheet. However, the fair market value of such a building in downtown Toronto today could fetch $1.5 million which would be hit with a 50% capital gain tax leading to a hefty tax bill. 
     
A buyer, however, will like to allocate as much of the purchase price as possible to the depreciating property so that they can take advantage of the higher tax depreciation expenses to offset income. The valuation of these transactions will be restricted by the fair market value of the depreciating property. The buyer will be hit with the property transfer tax on real property such as buildings and equipment and the sales tax on equipment or inventory. 
    
As you can imagine the complexities behind making such a business transaction requires a deep understanding of the tax act. It's always a good idea to get a second opinion and to structure the business deal so that it benefits both parties. Get a Capex CPA to help you keep more money in your pocket! 

Comment

What is a Capital Gain?

Comment

What is a Capital Gain?

When making financial transactions most investors forget about the "Capital Gains tax". Most financial transactions are subjected to Capital gains taxation when you sell or are considered to have sold capital property. So what are some examples or cases where you are considered to have sold Capital property?

  • You exchange one taxable property for another
  • You sell your property for non-cash i.e. a gift
  • Shares or other securities in your name
  • You settle a debt owed to you
  • You transfer certain property to a trust
  • Your property is expropriated (government takes it over)
  • Your property is stolen/destroyed
  • A Corporation redeems or cancels shares (T5 slip)
  • You leave Canada permanently
  • The owner dies.

If any of these above situations apply to you then you would have to declare them on your personal T1 Tax filing (line 174 for the curious people).

There is an exemption on your principal home being the house you live in. When you sell your principal home and move to another home the gain on such a transaction is free of capital gains to the maximum of $813,600 lifetime exemption (line 254). In fact, up until Oct 2016 you didn't even have to declare any of these transactions on the T1 Tax returns. The Minister of Finance declared that a major change to the principal home exemption will be that all such sales will need to be reported on all Tax returns effective November 2016. Why these rule changes you might be wondering? Perhaps the CRA are trying to limit the house flippers in the market or maybe it's because too many people are misusing or not paying the capital gains on these property dispositions. #TaxLoopHoles

To fully understand the capital gains taxation, we have to look at the adjusted cost base. The adjusted cost base (ACB) is essentially the total cost of buying the property plus any expenses on disposition. Once you have the ACB what you can do now is take the total sale price ($100) minus the cost ($80) gives a total profit of $20. This profit of $20 will be 50% exempt from capital gains tax but the other 50% will be taxable. The $10 profit realized will be taxed at 35% which would raise a capital gains tax of $3.50. #Simple

There are certain rules in the tax act which are "special" in nature and can truly work in your favour. One such special rule is identical property rules or better known as replacement property rules. Let's think of a golf course and owner John bought this property in 1988 and sells it now in 2016. Now evidently, the price paid for such a golf course in 1988 would have had a smaller ACB resulting in a higher capital gain. Identical replacement property rules allow for the capital gains tax to be deferred by replacing the property with another golf course. This golf course can be anywhere within Canada and in many such cases, it's cheaper to buy another replacement property than it is to pay the capital gains tax.

It might be beneficial for you to speak to your accountant to time your financial transaction to ensure you are not hit with a Capital Gain tax. A great CRA resource to check out is the following below link.

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/t4037/README.html

 

Comment

Charity Tax Benefits

Comment

Charity Tax Benefits

Generally, there are two main advantages that arise from giving to registered charities. Well, the first one is that you're helping out some people who actually need help and you’re getting a tax break. If you’re in the Christmas spirit and would like to make some charity donations then it might be a "Taxvantage" for you to donate to a registered charity. The tax savings you get from the first $200 of donations on your federal income is 15% ($30 tax benefit) and if you decided to donate $100 more bringing the total donation to $300 the federal income tax credit jumps to 29% ($29 tax benefit). The obvious incentive by the government is to have you donate more than $200 a year.

To receive credit for the donation you made you must receive an official receipt from the registered charity. An exception to this is when donations have been made by your employer on your request which shows up on your T4 tax slip. It's always a great tax strategy to bump up on your donations during the end of the year like December is a perfect month to be charitable. You can make your charitable donations using your credit card and as long as the donation is processed by the end of the year the receipt will be dated for the current year. This is important because for T1 tax returns are based on a calendar basis i.e. Jan 1st to Dec 31st.

Take advantage of the special tax rules by donating other types of assets than cash. When you "gift" an asset in most cases you're considered to have sold the asset for a price equal to the market value at the time. That is what tax geeks like us refer to as "deemed disposition" and it would trigger a capital gain on the asset which directly translates into a tax liability despite there was no cash that traded hands. However, there will likely be no tax to pay because you'll receive an official tax receipt to claim the charitable donation equal to the market value. This can be beneficial where you would like to help out the charity with musical equipment which generally holds their respective market values.

A common tax scam is charity scam. It's sad that some people misuse the tax system where charities are targeted as tax shelters. The reasoning for the rise of tax shelters is because you can legally donate 75% of your gross income to a charity. A number of organizations give out receipts for your donation that are not really "official" receipts. The amounts you give to these charities can't be claimed. The question to ask isn't if you will receive a receipt but if you will receive an official receipt being the charity's registration number is noted on the receipt. You can do your due diligence by checking the following link to see if the charity is registered on the CRA website --> http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/charities/

The CRA requires the following to be noted on an official receipt:

  • Your name and address.
  • The charity’s business number (BN), which is also known as its charitable registration number. This is a 9-digit number followed by “RR.”
  • The amount of the cash donated or the market value of a noncash donation.
  • The date of the donation. If the donation was in cash, then simply the year needs to be noted.
  • The statement “official receipt for income tax purposes.”
  • A notation of the CRA’s name and Web site (www.cra.gc.ca/charities).
  • A unique serial number.

P.s. Don't fall for those charity scams offering you $10,000 donation official receipts when you pay these scam artists $1,000. All it takes for the CRA is to find one person who fell for this and everyone who took part of the scam will be hit with penalties and interest at the bare minimum. It's not worth it! Keep your tax returns #clean.

Comment

Shareholder Loan - Don't get Burned!

Comment

Shareholder Loan - Don't get Burned!

In a ideal world, it would be great to keep "borrowing" the cash from your business without ever paying personal tax on it #iWish. However the CRA have rules/regulations to ensure this does not happen and they collect the personal tax element by having you declare it as a dividend, bonus or salary. With some planning, you can minimize the personal tax hit on this. Generally speaking you as the director/shareholder can borrow funds from your company and when you do not repay it back within one year, the CRA will assess the loan balance as "ordinary income" which is a similar tax rate as salary. Unlike salary, however you can not expense the shareholder loans leading to no real benefit being realized. Confused yet? Let's run through an example

For example, John borrows from the business ($50,000) throughout the year which was tracked by his accountant in an account called "Shareholder loan" at the end of the year the proceeds of the loan were not declared as a salary or dividend. The CRA can assess this to be income carrying with it a tax payment of $9,000 personal taxation and $7,500 in taxes to your Corporate tax, roughly $6,000 more than had you declared this income to be a dividend or salary.

To avoid the double taxation hit you have a few options. You can repay the total loan amount of $50,000 back to the corporation within the year and not trigger any taxes. Borrowing more money from the corporation to offset the original loan won't work the CRA are smarter than this and have rules placed for this too. The CRA will call this out to be a continuation of the original loan leading to a bigger tax problem. #TaxProblems

Let's assume that you declared this loan as a dividend. You can now write off the entire $50,000 against your corporation as a Dividend expense. You can additionally claim the small business deduction and pay 15.5% on the income that is left over in the corporation after paying the Dividend. The shareholder can effectively take the non-eligible dividend amount of $35,000 tax-free and then pay the taxes on the left over $15,000 which would roughly be $2000 taxes on this dividend.

Being able to draw funds from your company is a great benefit rather than taking a salary because your cash needs changes on a year to year basis. Paying tax on money that you do not need does not make sense. It's important to figure out what your total budget is and withdraw the funds required. Remember to declare your dividends before Feb of the next year if your year-end is Dec 31st.

Bookkeeping helps to keep track of this. Don't be caught in a homegrown tax problem. Let your Accountant handle it!

Comment

Life as a Realtor

Comment

Life as a Realtor

Realtors are amongst the top earners in Canada and with record high commissions for the year 2015, being a realtor was very profitable. The property prices are so expensive in the GTA that it reminds one of #SanFrancisco. With the rise of property prices followed higher commission income which pushed many realtors into higher personal tax brackets leading to higher tax liabilities. Since RECO does not allow Realtors to incorporate their real estate business they are forced to collect cheques under their own names from their respective brokerages being hit with the highest personal tax brackets (46%+) #Yikes

There are many strategies that exist to counter these higher tax hits. Consider the strategy of incorporating a management company which would pay for all the advertising, gas, promotions and other eligible realtor expenses. This management company can turn around and upcharge the realtor from 5% to 15%. Since the management company will be eligible for the small business deduction the corporate tax rate will be 15.5% on all active income. The Realtor pays the management company for all the expenses incurred, this can effectively help reduce the Realtor's tax liabilities with an expense lift and shift #Strategy. There are certain details that must be followed in order to make such a strategy work and we can help you with that.

If you have a spouse or family member who manages your management company which is paying the bills and managing your overall business affairs you can pay them a management salary which would shift some income from your personal tax bracket to them. If the spouse has no other income for the year they can take out $35,000 of non-eligible dividends tax-free from the management company.

Vehicle mileage needs to be recorded on a daily basis. This is an audit area that is consistently checked by all CRA auditors to ensure that the mileage being deducted is being recorded correctly. Realtors tend to drive more during the year so the percentage of business kilometers driven in a year is quite high comparatively to other professionals. The management company can help adhere to these regulations by helping support the realtor with a correct recording of mileage. As a reminder, it is important to keep the date, time, the purpose of the trip, starting and ending mileage on a daily basis.

Realtors are also responsible for HST collection and remittance on a quarterly/annual basis. It is important to check if your accountant is not using the simple method of HST calculation which does not usually work well with realtor incomes. It is important to check if you accountant is taking the right ITC (Income tax credits) against your HST collection so that the correct amount of HST remittance can be calculated. 

The Canadian taxation system is designed to give every Canadian the right to strategically do tax planning. Why not use the systems in place to help save you some coin? #TaxStrategies 

Comment

Employee v.s. Contractor

Employee v.s. Contractor

There are benefits to both being an Employee and Contractor. If you aren't sure what your new endeavor treats you as an employee or a contractor than the below should help you clear out some of the confusion.

Determining whether a worker is an employee or a contractor is based on a few CRA tests that need to be passed. Typically an employee would have their taxes withheld at the source being the Provincial & Federal taxes plus the remittances for EI and CPP. The Contractor has the responsibility to remit the income taxes and CPP (contractors are EI exempt) to the government. If the Contractor elects to pay themselves as an employee they will have to pay both the employee and employer piece of the CPP. The CRA uses the following approach to determine if you are an employee/contractor.

First test: Showing your Intention What's the intent? The intention of both the worker and payer must be clearly defined. If the contract defines the duties required to perform then the CRA will view this typically as an employer/employee relationship. However if the intent was to enter a service agreement then the CRA will view this as a business relationship. We strongly suggest seeking legal consultation to draft your service agreements.  

Second Test: Testing the facts Once the CRA confirms that the intention is to be in a "business relationship" based on the contract the CRA move over to testing the 5 pillars.

  • Control - Who has the control over the activities is it the worker or the payer
  • Financial Risk - Does the worker carry a Financial risk and more importantly is there an opportunity for a profit?
  • Tools - The tools and equipment are they being supplied by the worker?
  • Subcontracting - If the worker can subcontract or hire help
  •  # of clients - You must have more than just one client and the time spent needs to be reasonable.

Putting it together:
If you answer yes to any of these then you are more likely considered an Employee.

  • Do you have a set number of hours you have to work? i.e. 9AM to 5PM
  •  Have accounted for the hours worked? i.e. Timesheets
  • Under supervision and told what job next to do? i.e. Task 1, 2 3
  • Part of the company insurance plan? i.e. Medical/Pension
  • Using the company tools? i.e. Computers/Supplies

If you answer yes to all of these then you are more likely considered a Contractor

  • Agree to have the work completed based on your scheduling? 
  • Work on your own with no supervision but reporting back on progress?
  • Issue invoices and receive cheques?
  • Not part of the insurance plan? (Medical/supplies)
  • Use your own equipment?
  • Provide services to more? then just one company

There are many "Taxvantages" to you being a Contractor. You can claim any reasonable business expenses incurred to generate the revenue (Meals, Car Expenses, Telephone, Promotion etc). You also get to dodge the EI premiums but get stuck with paying the CPP employer and employee portions. People love hiring contractors because it is less expensive to hire a contractor. Employees traditionally carry other hidden nonsalary costs such as pensions, insurances and added admin paperwork.

Caution: Misusing the system carries hefty penalties and interest charges. Incorporating your business can carry a negative tax consequence where the CRA might deem your corporation as a PSB (Personal Services Business) which is a double taxation hit at about 46%. If the CRA determines that you did not satisfy the rules stated above you will be required to pay the Income Taxes, EI premiums, CPP deductions and penalties/interest.

It is strongly recommended to seek consultation from an Accountant who can discuss your particular situation to ensure you don't get hit with a potential tax liability for the future. 

Top 5 Benefits of Cloud Accounting

Comment

Top 5 Benefits of Cloud Accounting

If you have an email account from Microsoft or Google, then Cloud based technology is not a new concept to you. The technology has finally hit the Accounting industry and is making a huge difference and changing the role of Accountants for years to come. The cloud provides great benefits that save time and money which is re-invested into your business.

Moving your accounting from "On-Premise" to "The-Cloud" can bring significant benefits. Not only is it cheaper, more secure but also accessible comparatively to the desktop counterpart. Below are the Top 5 reasons I think Cloud technology is the best thing after bread.

1.       Accessible anywhere providing the required flexibility - Cloud accounting software allows the user to access their information securely 24/7 from anywhere all that is needed is an internet connection. You no longer have to buy multiple licenses or carry your laptop everywhere. As small business owners are out and about and now have access to the engine room anywhere. That quick report to see how your business is doing. Done.

2.       Cloud Accounting is a time saver. This is taking the traditional method of Accounting and reversing it on it's head. Connecting your online banking to your cloud software package means the bank feeds from your credit card and bank card statements come directly through to the software system. The reconciliation process of accounting used to be a huge headache but with bank feeds your constantly synced to the bank so your reconciliation is never off. No data entry. More strategy.

3.       Build your customized cloud software. In the past building your own customized solution would have been extremely expensive with hiring IT consultants and other experts. Products like Xero and Quickbooks online have an ecosystem of apps to choose from which are called "add-ons". Some add-ons are free while others carry a fee of a few extra bucks monthly. Thinking of automating your Accounts Receivable collection process...Yup there's a app for that!

4.       Sharing and collaboration has been overhauled. In the old days the accountant would spend most of time "converting" a Simply Accounting file to a useable Quickbooks format. Once this conversion was completed the accountant would then move on to the actual year-end process. With the ability of sharing and collaboration the Accountant is now put in a position of having a conversation with clients during the year not just during the year-end. No more copying data to USB drives sharing is effortless.

5.       Improved security. A lot of people object to the security element of financial information in the cloud. Actually cloud-hosted software is more secure than software hosted locally on your desktop or your own server. The data is stored in high security storage facilities and your data is encrypted meaning it is unreadable to hackers. Additionally, your data is backed up multiple times in a day in many different locations to help protect your data. If your laptop is stolen well that's okay just buy a new one because your data is safe. If you are comfortable using online banking, you should be equally comfortable using Cloud technology.

Essentially with Cloud technology you have the ability to compete with bigger companies on a technological level but get to keep that small business owner mindset. I think this marriage of the two principals will help grow businesses. Most businesses see Accounting as a necessary tax compliance, it is but Accounting is the business language and if you know the language well you can really start to realize the benefits the information can provide.

 

Comment

Lawyering in the Cloud

Comment

Lawyering in the Cloud

Let's face it the legal profession has faced aggressive competition. In a industry which similar to accounting is built on trust and relationships it becomes important to manage those relationships both efficiently and effectively. The legal landscape is changing with the introduction of new technologies that lawyers are embracing. Clients are demanding more from their lawyers and expect speedy responses and status updates. With a market full of traditional law enforcers clients are truly looking for legal partners #Suits.

Catering to the changing demands of clients who want answers right away and having a edge over competition has become critical to long term growth for law firms. Competing against lawyers who haven't adopted Cloud practice software like Clio are falling behind the tech curve. Traditionally a lawyer fresh out of the law firm would most probably use PC Law to manage their respective practice which like Clio includes time-tracking and Client-billing. One of the major drawbacks is that PC law is restricted to the computer it is installed on. The client data is actually safer on Clio servers than it is on your personal laptop.

More importantly desktop based practice softwares don't allow for case details to be available anywhere. Forgot your laptop? Lost your laptop? Stolen laptop? #Toobad. Having the ability to work from any device is non existent which leads to inefficiencies. These inefficiencies lead to higher costs which are ultimately passed on to clients. Let's introduce the idea of Clio Cloud practice software which is a completely web based solution. You can effectively run your law practice from a iPad or a iPhone. The practice software allows for seamless integration with trust accounting ledgers. 

Law firms are required to have monthly trust account reconciliations and bookkeeping completed in addition to the form 9As signed. Money movement from the lawyer trust to general Account is a heavily regulated accounting area which is handled beautifully with Clio. The cloud based practice software attaches a Clio matter number which makes it way magically into your Quickbooks or Xero accounting system. Reconciliations are painless and compliance is easier to adhere to #ThankYouClio. We strongly recommend the lawyers starting their practice to try out Clio for a free Trial. Capex is a certified consultant for Clio and we can help you with any questions you might have!

Click on this link below to take it for a test drive! No credit card required and test drive the software in seconds. If you have any questions feel free to give us a call!  

https://app.goclio.com/signup/?referral_code=CCC-CAPEX

 

Comment

Uber v.s Tax[i]

Comment

Uber v.s Tax[i]

The simplest innovations are sometimes the most creative. In Uber's case scenario they targeted a dinosaur aged Taxi industry which hadn't seen any technology changes in over 100's of years. Uber is to the Taxi industry as iTunes was to the music industry #GameChanging. The Taxi industry was devastated with the new entrant Uber. In fact I even saw a video of a Taxi Driver hanging on to a UberX car #StruggleIsReal.

Uber is gaining more and more acceptance from the local municipalities but these Uber drivers need to be aware of the Tax implications that are carried. Firstly, Uber passes the contractor vs employee test where Uber is not considered a employer hence Uber drivers are contractors. Uber does not take source deductions from the driver's pay. However, the drivers might not be aware that they still have to declare the income generated through Uber and remit the respective taxes.

 Canada's tax assessment system is a "self-assessment" system where the Canada Revenue Agency routinely audits tax filers. Let's take the scenario where a Uber driver forgot or purposely did not declare the revenue generated by driving Uber on the T2125 (Statement of Business or professional activities) tax return. If the CRA audit the Uber driver, they will not only ding the driver penalties and interest charges but can also charge the Uber driver with a criminal charge. #DontDoIt

Let's think of it this way if you rent out your basement/property and you earn rental income this must be declared during tax season, the same holds true with Uber drivers. Uber drivers must register a HST account number if they anticipate to make over $30,000 annually. Regular businesses usually have to collect the HST portion but in the case of Taxi's and Uber this is already included in the Driver's pay. The 13% HST less business expenses must be remitted from the total sale or using the simple method 8.8% of the HST collected based on sales.

Here's some estimated $ impact numbers. Please don't rely on these numbers solely meant for explanation #disclaimer.

Let's do some #math. If an Uber Driver makes $1000 a week and $4000 a month that's $48,000 yearly. Using the simple method of HST at 8.8% the year-end HST remittance would be $4224, and Fed+Prov Tax cumulative amount of $10,253.

Total Collected Sale          = $48,000   (Total Collected from Uber)
Less HST Liability               = $   4,224  (Simple method of calculating HST)
Less Business Expenses   = $    5,450  (Fuel, Repairs, Accounting, Supplies etc)
Less Fed + Prov Tax          = $    8,579  (Using the T2125 form in Profile (Intuit)
Total Net Take home       = $     29,747  (Total net take home income)

It might be worth your time to see an Accountant to ensure you mitigate and understand your potential Uber Tax Liability. Prevention is better than the CRA Tax Sting. 

Comment

CRA’s Voluntary Disclosure Program

Comment

CRA’s Voluntary Disclosure Program

When you think of CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) they probably don't come off as people who want to help you #Grizzlybear. CRA routinely gets bad publicity and distaste from people yet a less known fact is that the CRA have set up programs to help the average Canadian if they choose preventive programs.

CRA has a preventive program set up known as the voluntary disclosure program for individuals who have fallen behind in their tax filings. The CRA knows that it’s near impossible to Audit every Canadian and hence why our Tax system is based on a “Self-Assessment”. This Self-Assessment is a double edged sword because if you declare something falsified on your tax return you will be sentenced to penalties and interest hits that ‘would’ have potentially bought you a new Car. #ItStings

Life happens and as such Tax filing take a back seat. To be eligible for this program there are a few conditions that must be met before the tax payer can take advantage of this. The following Four conditions must exist for Voluntary Disclosure

  1. The Disclosure must be “voluntary” #CaptainObvious. If you have already received a letter from the CRA stating you are being investigated or audited. It’s already too late and you are no longer eligible. You must initiate the disclosure and contact the CRA before they contact you.
     
  2. The Disclosure must be complete and accurate to the best of your knowledge. You can’t conveniently leave out details. Trust me you don’t want to go down this path.
     
  3. The Disclosure needs to involve a penalty. A penalty only exists if you owed taxes according to your tax assessment. If no penalty exists then declare and file your tax return as usual even if it’s late. If the CRA owes you a refund there is no penalty.
     
  4. The Disclosure of the information being provided must be a minimum of one year old. If the Disclosure is less than one year and you are not employed in an attempt to use this program to file late and avoid penalty. Nope not going to work!

All these conditions are meant to be clear from the CRA’s perspective however sometimes a consultation is required to ensure you are truly eligible for the assistance. It’s critical to consult your Accountant/Tax Lawyer to see if you can be eligible for this program or the Tax Payer Relief program. Not filing your taxes is a downward spiral to financial trouble. Remember the CRA is merciless and will #ding you with compounding penalties and interest.

Prevention is better than Medicine and this is the CRA’s way to help individuals get out of tax troubles and get back on the right track. The first step and most important step is to get your taxes filed. Wait for the notice of assessment and then move forward with the clean-up. You can try doing this yourself as well or if you’re not comfortable you can engage an Accountant to help you get this quickly and accurately filed.

Comment

Why is Cloud Accounting for me?

Comment

Why is Cloud Accounting for me?

Cloud Accounting is a game changer for the Accounting profession an evolution for the accounting industry. Traditionally when you think of the profession of Accounting you perhaps think of Taxes, Bean Counting and Geeky excel wizards #Stereotypes. Things are changing with Cloud Accounting where Accountants are redeeming themselves as more than just #BeanCounters. Accountants are stepping into the role of Strategic Business Advisor, so much better than just being a Governmental filing agent. So what’s the Cloud hype all about? Well for that we have to go back in time to where it all started. #TimeMachine

In the old days the traditional Accountant and client would both have only half the information during the fiscal period. Consolidating these pieces of information together was complicated, difficult and costly because of the multiple software packages used by the Accountant and Clients. Moreover it was super painful to synchronize these accounting softwares into one accounting system so the business can finally be analyzed and Taxes filed. Since the old way of billing a client was strictly based on “billable hours” the Accounting costs for clients kept increasing. #FixedPricesPlease

With the Cloud things changed. The Client and Accountant are using the same software and General Ledger. No more synchronizing issues and installation of software issues. The Client and Accountant can actively collaborate together strengthening the relationship. The Accountant can now take the position of a Strategic Business Advisor rather than just a Tax Advisor. Imagine making the move from seeing an Accountant once a year for compliance work compared to having the Accountant actively involved by providing you the reports and numbers on a weekly/bi-weekly basis so you constantly have financial information available to make more strategic decisions. #NumbersDontLie

The cloud shines in one particular area which is where Cloud Accounting softwares (Like Quickbooks) directly connect to the client’s Business Bank and Credit card. This speeds up the process because the actual data entry work involved is significantly decreased leading to increased time saving which are re-invested into the Client’s business. The security of Cloud accounting is the same level of security of Banks. If you do any Online Banking your comfort level should be the same using this Accounting software package.

With Cloud accounting you no longer have to pass over that dreaded end of year shoebox. When deciding on an Accountant it’s important to not only concentrate on governmental compliance filings (which everyone can do), but are you also getting the skill-set of a Strategic Business Advisor. I’m sure your business would compete better with a Business Advisor on your side speaking of which, when’s the last time your Accountant talked to you about your Business’ Competitive Advantage?

Comment

Leave the Cash in the Business

Comment

Leave the Cash in the Business

Building a business is tough, it takes time and patience and a lot of strategy. With the future Income Tax hikes planned by the Liberal Government your Tax strategy might need to be refined. How do you take the money out of your business without being taxed heavily?

Incorporating a business offers benefits and really does help soften the blow considering the small business deduction for the first $500,000 of your active income is taxed at 15.5%. The rest of the money sitting in your bank account will only be taxed when you withdraw it as a dividend that’s when you get hit with the personal tax #Yikes. However thankfully the small business deduction was spared during the Liberal Federal budget. Close call though since Justin Trudeau has ‘promised’ to increase taxes on the wealthiest of Canadians. #TaxManGrins

Keeping the money inside the corporation is a tax deferral strategy where you defer the personal tax hit to be paid at a later date. You can always use an income splitting strategy which is paying dividends to family members who are in a lower personal tax bracket. Your kids are quite useful #TrustMe so spread the love. New PlayStation Jimmy? No problem! The main reason why a business owner would use a tax deferral or an income splitting strategy is to well…lower the taxes #CaptainObvious and because the Marginal tax rate in Ontario for income over $220,000 is 53.5% (2016 rates).

Now keeping money inside your corporation indefinitely is not feasible #iWish because business people also have cash needs, mortgages to pay, clothes to buy, food, vacations etc. You need to determine what your “cash need” will be and plan accordingly. Considering the low rate of interest given today it might make more sense to carry debt and avoid accelerating the paydown of debt through corporate withdrawals. You can withdrawal these funds sitting in your bank account at a later date maybe during retirement when your tax bracket is ‘likely’ to be lower. That new Tesla you been eyeing well, better to buy a nice car and drive it than to be taxed right? ($800 a month write-off limit by the way).

The key take away message is if you’re earning income that you don’t need to live on then its best to keep it in the business. You can re-invest it in the business and if your business doesn’t need that high capital then re-invest into other securities or alternatively into a life insurance policy. This life insurance policy is super useful when the business owner passes away the money paid out through the Capital Dividend Account (CDA) is usually tax free to the beneficiaries. So plan for the future? It’s critical you do and avoid the “Death Tax”. 

Hope you gained some Taxvantage from this blog! It’s in your best interest to hire the right accountant who will create you the right strategy which will save you just the right amount of tax right? #KaChing

Comment