It’s Tax Time!

Well, I am pretty jazzed – the first of the 2012 tax returns are arriving.  It is wonderful to see our clients again and difficult to learn some have passed over the last year.  Filing your tax return can be stressful and I hope that when our clients walk through the door and drop off their papers there is that sense of “ahhhh” = relief.  Someone else is taking the burden of getting this Done!

I listen to the commercials on TV for the national tax preparation firms and wonder how do we measure up?  I hope our clients think we exceed their expectations.  Our goal always is to ensure our clients are treated with respect and care.  Care that we take the time to sit and chat about how their year has been.  Care that we complete their return quickly.  Care that if our senior clients can’t make it to us – we will come to them.  Care that if there is a letter from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) we will respond.

To our clients that we come to you, this year you will have your records picked up by Christopher and when complete, I will be on your doorstep to walk you through the results.  For our clients dropping off to us, please enjoy a Hershey Hug and Kiss – cause everyone could use a little chocolate in times of stress!

I am Colleen from Security House Accounting Services.  Give us your books – take back your life!

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1st Annual Family Day in BC

We have been waiting an entire year for this day!  It arrived!  That statutory holiday sent from the legislature to tide us over until Easter.

Well here in Victoria, the day was overcast with a bit of drizzle but there were many events happening throughout the Capital Regional District:

For BC employers this additional holiday comes at a cost.

All BC employers with employees who have been employed for 30 days and worked 15 of the 30 days prior to the statutory holiday are required to give those employees their workday off, give them a day in lieu or pay them in accordance with the BC Employment Standards Act if they work on the day.

Additionally, employers that close on statutory holidays must also factor in loss of profits.

In our office, we enjoyed the day off.  Resting, rejuvenating and getting ready for the busy tax season.  We hope you enjoyed the first annual Family Day!

I am Colleen from Security House Accounting Services.  Give us your books – Take back your life!

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An Evening Remembered…

Friday February 1 2013 was the opening event for the first annual yoga conference held at the Victoria Conference Centre.  The opening evening presentation included both Danielle LaPorte and Gabrielle Bernstein.  About 350 women enjoyed a very interactive evening with these very down to earth women.

Gabrielle introduced us to her book, May Cause Miracles, a surprise gift when we arrived at the venue.  After having a rather unsettling day, her approach to life gave me an “ah ha” moment.  Just let the bad feelings go and let love in.  Sometimes easier said than done, but, I am going to really work hard at it.

Danielle launched her latest project, The Desire Map, in early December.  This is a new and improved approach to goal setting or rather feeling setting.  I have been a fan of Danielle’s from hearing her credo for making it happen.  In the early days of being in business I almost chanted “you will figure it out, you will figure it out!”.  If you have not seen this video clip, please visit her website (www.daniellelaporte.com).

The majority of the evening was spent with the audience asking these ladies questions and getting real responses.  We even enjoyed a period of meditation.  During this meditation a very clear picture of Salt Spring Island came to me.  May be it is time for a visit!

I would like to thank Carolyn Taylor of 24 Carrot Learning for bringing these ladies to our beautiful city!

I am Colleen from Security House Accounting Services.  Give us your books – Take back you life!

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Important Dates for Tax Season

This week we received a few calls from folks about preparing their 2012 personal income tax returns.   Canada Revenue Agency has made it mandatory for all tax preparation professionals to EFILE returns for 2012.  The EFILE “desk” does not start accepting returns until 8am February 11th 2013 EST.

Here are a few important dates for the upcoming tax season:

  • February 11th - Tax returns for 2012 can now be EFILE’d
  • February 28th  - T4/T5 must be mailed to recipients
  • March 1st  – Last day for RRSP contributions for 2012
  • March 15th - 1st quarterly instalment is due
  • March 31st -  T3 must be mailed to recipients
  • April 30th – Last day to file your income tax return & Self-employed persons and their spouses must pay any balance owing to avoid interest.
  • June 15th - Last day for self-employed persons to file their 2012 tax return & 2nd quarterly instalment is due

Once you have received all your slips, please give the office a call to set a time to drop off your information or for us to pick it up.

I am Colleen from Security House Accounting Services.  Give us your books – take back your life!

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What information should be on a receipt to make it an eligible business expense?

This week we were preparing records for a licenced home daycare.  During the process of setting up the daycare, the Owner purchased a number of items from yard sales.  This lead to a discussion in our office…..  If the yard sale seller provided a receipt for the payment what information would need to be present to make the expense deductible?

In a previous post we had provided a chart that clearly indicated the information required if you are charging GST / HST, but this was not relevant to this situation.  A call to CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) had the representative scratching his head for a moment.  After waiting on hold the representative came back with the publication, T4002 Business and Professional Income and under ‘Expense Records’ it stated the following:

Expense records

Always get receipts or other vouchers when you buy something for your business. When you buy merchandise or services, the receipts have to show:

  • the date of the purchase;
  • the name and address of the seller or supplier;
  • the name and address of the buyer;
  • a full description of the goods or services; and
  • the vendor’s business number if they are a GST/HST registrant.

As spring approaches and we venture out to find the weekend deals, remember if you are planning to use the item in the business ask the seller for a receipt and ensure it contains this information.

I am Colleen from Security House Accounting Services.  Give us your books – Take back your life!

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Celebrating our First Year

Security House Accounting Services has arrived at its first anniversary.  Just over a year ago I had the privilege to meet Reid and Virginia Wallberg.  With their support, I moved the business from Brentwood Bay to its new location on Shamrock Street in Victoria.  Many questions crowded my head…. Would the clients be OK with a change of venue?  Could we maintain the same level of service the clients enjoyed under Reid’s leadership?  Would they like me?  The past year has been a bit of a blur, but here we stand on the edge of another tax season. 

Over the past year we have gotten to know each of the clients and have enjoyed learning about their businesses.  We have enjoyed meeting and adding our new clients into the group.  According to two of our new clients “we rock”.  Thank you to Andrew and Nicole!  The truth is we love paperwork.  I approach each set of books as a puzzle.  There is nothing like the sense of accomplishment you feel when that puzzle is complete.

And now a few thank you’s:

  • To the clients for believing we have your back!
  • To Kim and her Team at Emmatt Digital for the logo and awesome website.
  • To Ryan and Matt at Tecnet for getting the network and computers up and running.
  • To Tom for understanding we needed to expand and giving up his office.
  • To Christopher, Glenn and Deanna – you guys Rock!
  • To my friends, family and Andy – thank you for believing.

I am Colleen from Security House Accounting Services.  Give us your books – take back your life!

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That old saying is true…. Everything old is new again – at least in BC.

Effective April 1st 2013 businesses go back to the way life was prior to July 1st 2010 and charge PST and GST.

Many of our clients are now receiving letters from the provincial Ministry of Finance prompting them to register.  Here are several links to help with the understanding if you are required to register and how to register:

Who needs to register:

http://www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/documents_library/bulletins/pst_001.pdf

The link to register:

https://www.etax.gov.bc.ca/btp/eservices/_/#2

Frequently asked questions:

http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=CE70BF6CB8424CA9A38F1F6C33EE7E1D

If you would like to discuss whether you need to collect PST come April 1st we would pleased to sit down and chat about what your next steps are.

I am Colleen from Security House Accounting Services.  Give Us Your Books – Take Back Your Life!

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Planning for 2013

This past weekend we have carved out sometime to look at where the business has come in the last 12 months and where we want it to go for next year.  When we started down the path of business ownership a little over a year ago, we had a business plan that was just to exist and then see where we were at the end of the year.  It was like bungee jumping, falling with the hopes the rubber band will catch you before you hit the pavement!

This past year has been amazing!  From finding an ad on Craigslist for a bookkeeping and tax preparation business for sale and meeting Virginia and Reid; to meeting all their wonderful clients; to getting out in the community and meeting new people and clients; finding a great location and landlord; to adding to our Team:  Christopher, Deanna and Glenn.

We now have our infrastructure in place.  We are working on processes and procedures.  Now I am off to make a pot of coffee, put pen to paper and list the goals for the upcoming year.  How about you??  Are you ready to review what has happened in your business?  Do you need help with the numbers and the paper?  If so, we are just a phone call or email away.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I am Colleen from Security House Accounting Services, Give us your books – Take back your life!

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Is the Cost of your Staff Christmas Party Deductible?

This past weekend the Security House Accounting Services Team enjoyed our Christmas gathering.  We enjoyed a great meal prepared by Janice Mansfield (www.janicemansfield.com) and played a rousing gift exchange game.  We all learned what a CLM (career limiting move) is when Deanna tried to steal my gift!

So when you have an event such as this, what is deductible for tax purposes to the business?  There is the 50% rule that applies to most meal purchases – however in this case 100% is deductible.  You can deduct 100% of the meal and entertainment expenses when you host a party or similar event to which you have invited all employees from a particular location, but you are limited to just six of these events each year.

Personal meals as they relate to business, for example taking a client to lunch to discuss an upcoming sales promotion, are deductible at 50%.  The 50% limit applies to the total of your bill or cost plus any tax, tip or gratuity as this is all considered to form part of the personal portion. You can also only claim 50% of the Input Tax Credit if you are registered for GST/HST.

An interesting fact concerning meals at a conference….. If the cost of the conference fee includes only snacks (coffee, tea, cookies) the total conference fee is deductible.  If the conference also includes meals (breakfast, lunch and / or dinner), then $50 per day must be allocated to meals and only 50% of the $50 is deductible for tax purposes.

Meals and Entertainment are an area that is frequently flagged for audit by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).  CRA recommends that records should be maintained of the names and business addresses of the customers or other persons being entertained, together with the relevant places, dates, times and amounts supported by such vouchers as are reasonably obtainable. If you do not have adequate supporting documents, your expenses will be disallowed and your taxable income increased as the burden is on you to support your claim.

If you have questions concerning the deductibility of meals, please give us a call.  We would be pleased to sit down and chat about what is deductible in your business.

I am Colleen from Security House Accounting Services.  Give us your books – Take back your life!

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Improving your tax position by helping others

This past week I received an email from one of the first people I met professionally when I arrived in Victoria.

Susan Low of Directis Consulting is an amazing person.  Not only is she a business owner, a competitive rower, Mom and Wife, she is the Green Party Candidate for Esquimalt – Royal Roads in next spring’s provincial election.

Susan’s email describes the campaign and is looking for a monetary contribution so her team can get the campaign plans underway.  In the note Susan reminded the readers of the value to them through the tax credit each will receive on their tax return.  A contribution of $100 equals a reduction of $75 in taxes.

A donation to a registered charity will realize a reduction in taxes on your personal tax return through a non-refundable tax credit.  Donations to a registered charity up to $200 receive a credit at a rate of 5.06% and amounts over this level the credit is at a rate of 14.7%, for residents of BC.  Taxpayers must list the individual receipts on Schedule 9 of their personal tax return and should ensure the receipts include the following information:

  • the charity’s name and registration number, date, serial number, amount donated, donor’s name, and be signed on behalf of the organization
  • the website address of the Canada Revenue Agency http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/charities/

Anyone can look up information on this website about charities in general, or any specific registered charity.

Always keep the receipts.  If you are paper filing your return, the receipts must be included when mailing it in.  If we are submitting your return electronically (EFILE), your receipts will be attached to the paper copy we provide to you.  After the end of April CRA holds a lottery of sorts….  If you are one of the lucky people selected, you will be asked to send in your receipts to prove the donations claimed on your return.

Taxpayers can make donations up to 75% of their income.  Donations over this level can be carried forward for five years.

This is just a quick overview of how helping others can improve your tax position.  If you have any questions on your specific situation and how a contribution or donation will impact your tax position, please give us a call.

Choosing a charity of choice or several makes a difference in the lives of the folks needing the support of those organizations.

I am Colleen from Security House Accounting Services, Give Us Your Books – Take Back Your Life!

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