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Why small business owners should have a business bank account

Are you still using your personal checking account to manage your business finances? Regardless of whether you own a home-based business or are building a multi-million dollar enterprise, there are several benefits to differentiating between your personal and business finances. In this article, we will discuss the following: The numerous reasons you should have a business bank account and how to open up a business bank account.

The reasons you should have a business account

Having a business account will ensure that you keep your business funds separate from your personal funds.

Here are some of the worthwhile reasons:

1. Having a business bank account gives your new business credibility and professionalism. This is particularly important if you have customers that pay with cheques. It definitely looks more professional when you ask your clients to write a cheque to  “XYZ Enterprise” as opposed to  “Bob Smith.” It also looks more business-like and credible when you use separate business cheques and a separate business credit card to pay suppliers and other companies for their services.

2. Having a business bank account is advantageous for tax purposes. Maintaining a separate business bank account will help you keep track of all your business-related transactions and will make it easier to pay your taxes when tax season rolls around. It will also provide you with a clear trail of your business revenue and expenses in case the CRA decides to audit you.

3. Although having a separate business bank account is advisable for businesses that are sole proprietorships or partnerships, it is especially recommended for corporations (more about these business structures later in this article).  A corporation refers to a business that is a separate and distinct entity from its owners and as such the personal assets of the owners are sheltered from potential liability.  However,  sometimes courts will hold the corporation’s owners, members, and shareholders personally liable for business debts. When this occurs, it’s called “piercing the corporate veil.” For instance, if the corporation has been utilized as an instrument of fraud and improper conduct, or was incorporated for no valid business purposes, then the court may deem the shareholders personally liable. One of the criteria which may be used to decide whether the court should “pierce the corporate veil” is the degree of separation between the financial activities of the business and those of the owners of the business. As such, it is vital that an incorporated company have a separate business bank account.

4. The most obvious reason to have a business bank account is that you will be able to keep track of your cash flow and to see if your business is profiting.  A business checking account ensures that all your business transactions are separate from your personal financial transactions. This helps you monitor your business’s profitability.  If you were to combine your personal financial transactions with your business financial transactions into one account, you might have a difficulty determining your profit margin because to determine your profitability, you must remember which expenses were personal and omit them.

How to open up a business bank account

There are three main steps to opening a business bank account: 1. choose a business structure, 2. decide on who will be the primary business representatives and 3. provide the bank with several critical documents.

1. Choose a business structure

Prior to setting up a business account, it is imperative to decide which type of business structure you will be running. Is it a sole proprietorship? partnership? or corporation?

In a nutshell, here are the differences between the three business structures:

  1. A sole-proprietorship refers to a business in which you are the sole owner and fully responsible for all debts and responsibilities related to your business. One of the advantages of this business structure is that all profits go directly to you. However, one of the disadvantages is that you are subject to unlimited liability which means that a creditor can make claims against your personal assets to pay off your business debts.
  2. A partnership refers to a business in which you and another individual or multiple individuals have a legal relationship to operate a business as co-owners. In a partnership, you and your business partner(s) combine your financial resources into the business. You and your partner(s) share the management, profits, and assets of the business as outlined by the legal agreement you have formulated. One of the benefits of this business structure is that there is a tax advantage. For instance, if income from the partnership is low or loses money, you and your partner(s) include your shares of the partnership in your individual tax returns. One of the disadvantages is that there is no legal difference between you and your business so similar to owning a sole-proprietorship,  you have unlimited liability.
  3. A corporation refers to a business entity that is separate from its owners. The majority of corporations have shareholders, and the shares are held only by a few individuals, or they may be available for sale to the public (publicly held). One advantage of this business structure is that as a shareholder of a corporation, you will not be personally liable for the debts, obligations or acts of the corporation.  One of the disadvantages of owning a corporation is that it is more expensive and time-consuming to set up than other business forms. We advise that you seek legal advice if you plan on incorporating.

If you’d like to read some of the advantages and disadvantages of having a sole-praetorship, partnership, and corporation, check out this article from Canada Business Network.

2.  Decide who will be your primary business representatives

Next, after you decide on a business structure, determine who will be the primary representative for your business. In other words, who will have the authority to sign on contracts, cheques as well as perform certain functions such as withdrawals, transfers, and payments on behalf of the company?

3.   Provide the bank with several critical documents

Typically, banks require that all owners and signing officers provide two pieces of approved personal identification.

Also, depending on your business’ legal structure, you will be required to provide additional documents to the business bank specialist. For instance, for each of the following business structures, you will need to provide the following documents:

Sole Proprietorship

– Certificate of Registration of Business Name

Partnership

– Certificate of Registration of Partnership. Partnership Agreement (if available)

Corporation

– Articles of Incorporation. Certificate of Registration of Business Name (if available).

-Most current filing with your incorporating jurisdiction listing your directors

-Trade Name Registration (if applicable)

An important note:  Please contact the bank that will be managing your business bank account to determine if you require additional documentation and what their exact procedures are for opening a business account.


If you require additional consultation or want to learn more about our professional accounting services, please do not hesitate to contact S & P Accounting Services.

Polina Presman, CPA, CA

T- 416-371-6017
F- 416-667-0404

Shani Marzin, CPA, CA

T- 416-731-9031
F- 416-667-0404

S&P Accounting Services LLP
2727 Steeles Ave. W. Suite 300
North York, ON, M3J 3G9
www.spaccountingservices.ca

Disclaimer: We strive to ensure all information on our site is accurate and up to date. However, the contents of the site are naturally subject to change from time to time. That means, we can’t always guarantee the accuracy of all information on the site. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHECKING THE ACCURACY OF RELEVANT FACTS AND OPINIONS GIVEN ON THE SITE BEFORE ENTERING INTO ANY COMMITMENT BASED UPON THEM.

This post was written by Biz Source, a content creation company and is for illustration purposes only. For professional advice, please contact S & P Accounting Services.

A Chartered Accountant shares important news about tax evasion scams

Important news from a Chartered Accountant: “Canadians be wary of tax evasion scams”

The O.P.P. and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) are warning Canadians of fraudulent tax evasion emails and phone calls. Some residents of Tiny Township, Tay Township, and Penetanguishene have been victims of these emails and phone scams purporting to be from the CRA.

A young 18-year-old Chilliwack woman, Sasha Tuttle,  has also fallen prey to the CRA scam and lost $2,000 of her savings. Another Chilliwack resident, 86 year old, Norman Schott received the same phone call as Tuttle. The person on the other end of the phone claimed to be the CRA and told the senior that he has a warrant out for his arrest for tax evasion. Schott knew “something fishy going on” and immediately reported the incident to the police.

Ways to protect yourself against tax evasion scams

As a Chartered Accountant, these are some important precautions I share with my clients:

  1. If someone calls you saying that they are from the CRA and asks you for personal or financial information, really question the caller and ask yourself is the requester asking for information I would not provide in my tax return? (such as my passport number, health card, or driver’s licence) Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me? (such as my social insurance number).
  2. When in doubt, hang up and call the CRA through the official phone number to verify if you owe back taxes or are eligible for a refund. You could also check your online CRA Account to make sure that there is no problem with your tax account. Here are some examples of fraudulent scam stories.
  3. The CRA will never ask you for credit card information or for prepayments by prepaid credit cards or your personal information by email or text message. So if you receive mail, an email or a text message requesting personal information, know that these are fraudulent and never respond to them.  
  4. The CRA will never email a link to you and ask you to divulge personal or financial information. However, the one exception is if you call the CRA to request a form or a link for specific information. In this case, a CRA agent will forward the information you are requesting to your email during the telephone call. This is the only circumstance in which the CRA will send an email containing links.
  5. If you are a responsible citizen that pays your taxes on time and correctly, then it would not make sense for the CRA to claim that you committed a tax evasion. If in fact there are tax evasion allegations against you, then CRA will do so formally in writing.  And even in this case call the CRA through the official phone number to verify if you owe back taxes. You should also check your online CRA Account to check the status of your tax account.
  6. CRA will never use coercive or nasty language to threaten you. Cases of fraudulent communication could include using intimidation or coercive language to frighten taxpayers into paying a fictitious debt to the CRA.  The scammers may threaten to arrest you if don’t pay your fine. Yet, in reality, the CRA will never threaten to arrest you.
  7. Fraudulent communication could play out more subtly as well. The scammers could insist that personal information is needed to process a refund or benefit payment. Yet, in reality, the CRA will never request money or demand credit card information over the phone.
  8. The CRA never shares your taxpayer information with another person, unless you have given the appropriate authorization.
  9. The CRA never leaves personal information on your answering machine or requests you to leave a message containing your personal information on an answering machine.
  10. If you feel that you’ve been a victim of fraud or have received deceptive telemarketing, you should call 1-888-495-8501 or visit CRA fraud website. Follow these steps if you’ve been defrauded.

If you are unsure if the phone call, email or text message is legitimate or a fraudulent message, ask your Chartered Accountant. Your Chartered Accountant should know how the CRA communicates with taxpayers and your chartered accountant should be able to distinguish between fraudulent communication and legitimate communication from the CRA.

If you require consultation or a have any accounting inquires, please do not hesitate to contact us. We serve clients in Toronto, North York, Vaughan, Thornhill, Richmond Hill, and all other GTA cities.

Polina Presman, CPA, CA

T- 416-371- 6017
F- 416-667-0404

Shani Marzin, CPA, CA

T- 416-731-9031
F- 416-667-0404

S&P Accounting Services LLP
2727 Steeles Ave. W. Suite 300
North York, ON, M3J 3G9
www.spaccountingservices.ca

Professional accounting services in North York and Toronto

What kind of professional accounting services do we provide?

We provide a full range of professional accounting services which include, accounting, tax returns, bookkeeping, and payroll.  We serve individuals and business clients in the Greater Toronto Area, which includes Toronto, Vaughan, North York, Richmond Hill, Mississauga, and Thornhill.

Why choose our professional accounting services?

Our professional accounting services offer many benefits to our clients:

  • You will have the opportunity to work with chartered accountants who are experts in their field.
  • You will be able to leverage on our extensive experience with audit, review, tax and bookkeeping.
  • We will help you understand how to be more successful. For instance, we will help you understand how your finances work to your benefit and how to grow your wealth in the smartest way possible. Financial literacy is key to becoming a successful business owner.
  • We will simplify your accounting and business needs. For instance, one major advantage of our payroll services is our ability to create a variety of reports that simplify accounting procedures and help your company ensure they are in compliance with legal and tax filing requirements.
  • Our professional accounting services help ensure that your accounting is accurate, complete and filed on time – this way you could focus on what’s important, helping your business succeed.

How are we committed to proving excellent professional accounting services?

  • We will give you the most current information, so you can make informed decisions for your business
  • We will maintain your books up to date to ensure you have a real-time picture of how your business is doing.
  • We will ensure that you file your taxes on time in order to avoid any late penalty fees.
  • We will respond to any of your questions and/or requests within 24 hours.
  • We will always work to improve, enhance and make your core business more efficient by providing you with innovative, sustainable and creative business solutions that are tax efficient and catered to your specific needs.
  • Our unique approach enables us to find specific tax breaks and deductions for most of our clients.

If you require additional consultation or want to learn more about our professional accounting services, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Polina Presman, CPA, CA

T- 416-371-6017
F- 416-667-0404

Shani Marzin, CPA, CA

T- 416-731-9031
F- 416-667-0404

S&P Accounting Services LLP
2727 Steeles Ave. W. Suite 300
North York, ON, M3J 3G9
www.spaccountingservices.ca

Eight CRA fraud prevention tips from an accountant in Toronto

Advice from a Toronto accountant about how to protect yourself against CRA fraud

Over the past few months there has been a rise in Canadian residents falling victim of Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scams.  A man in Peterborough was defrauded out of $2,400. Residents in south-central Ontario and Chilliwack, British Columbia have also fallen prey to this scam.

Although, in a previous post, I’ve provided advice about how to protect yourself against tax evasion scams, I think its worth mentioning the importance of protecting yourself against such frauds, especially given the rise of these unfortunate defrauding cases.

In this article, I share with you eight CRA fraud prevention tips that will hopefully help you avoid falling victim of a CRA scam.

Typically, victims of the scams receive a phone call from someone pretending to be a representative of Canada Revenue Agency. The fake CRA representative tells the victims that they owe x amount of dollars or their assets will be seized. Alternatively, theses scams could be communicated by email, text message or on the answering machine.

Here are eight crucial fraud prevention tips from an accountant in the Toronto area

If you receive a call from someone saying that they are from the CRA use these guidelines to help verify if the call is legitimate:

  1. The scammers can be extremely assertive and aggressive. Remember the the CRA will never use coercive language or  be aggressive or try to intimidate you.
  2. The scammers may threaten to arrest you or send you to the police. Remember the CRA will never threaten you to arrest you or take you to the police.
  3. If someone calls you saying that they are from the CRA and asking for personal information and/or asks you to give them money. Do not take immediate action. Hang up and verify the information by calling the CRA through the official phone number.
  4. The CRA will never ask you for credit card information or for prepayments by prepaid credit cards or your personal information by email or text message. So if you receive mail, an email or a text message requesting personal information, know that these are fraudulent and never respond to them. Hang up.
  5. Before you take any action or share any personal or financial information, hang up and call a trusted family member, friend, your bank or your chartered accountant to get a second opinion on the call.
  6. Ask yourself:
    1. Is it really safe to transfer money to someone I do not know?
    2. Is there a legitimate reason that the CRA may be calling? Do I have a tax balance outstanding?
    3. Is the requester asking for information I would not include with my tax return? Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
    4. Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?
  7. Ask the caller for their ID and verify the callers ID by calling the CRA directly.
  8. Check that status of your account by either logging in to MyAccount or calling CRA directly.

Is the message that you receive from CRA legitimate? when in doubt, ask your Chartered Accountant

If you are unsure if the phone call, email or text message is legitimate or a fraudulent message, ask your Chartered Accountant. Your Chartered Accountant should know how the CRA communicates with taxpayers and your Chartered Accountant should be able to distinguish between fraudulent communication and legitimate communication from the CRA.

If you feel that you’ve been a victim of fraud or have received deceptive telemarketing, you should call 1-888-495-8501 or visit CRA fraud website. Follow these steps if you’ve been defrauded.

If you require consultation or a have any accounting inquires, please do not hesitate to contact us.  S&P Accounting Services has experienced Chartered Accountants and we serve clients in in Toronto and other cities in the GTA which include, North York, Thornhill, Richmond Hill and Vaughan.

Polina Presman, CPA, CA

T- 416-371-6017
F- 416-667-0404

Shani Marzin, CPA, CA

T- 416-731-9031
F- 416-667-0404

S&P Accounting Services LLP
2727 Steeles Ave. W. Suite 300
North York, ON, M3J 3G9
www.spaccountingservices.ca