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Unsure if you should hire an accountant early on in your business?

Hiring an accountant early on could be advantageous for a number of reasons.

In this article, I discuss why this is the case, as well as eight tips that could help you start your business off on the right foot.

  1. When you decide to start your own business, an accountant could provide you with sound financial and strategic advice. An accountant can suggest how you can apply for a loan, as well as how you can get tax refunds and credits, business grants and financing. For more information about credits, benefits, and incentives, check this useful resource page from Canada.ca, as well as this page by the Ministry of Finance.
  2. When starting a business you have to decide which type of business structure is most suitable for your business needs. The four different business structures are: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and co-operative. The structure that is most appropriate for your business is dependent upon a number of factors which include: the type and size of the business, the risks involved, the number of people employed, the geography covered, as well at the tax situation of the business owner. An accountant could help explain which business structure is most appropriate for your needs. For information about the advantages and disadvantages of each business structure, read this article by Canada Business Network.
  3. Also, prior to starting your business, you need to register your business with several different levels of government. One question you might ask is, do you register your business on a provincial or federal level? This is a good question to ask a chartered accountant. This useful page by Canada Business Network provides an overview of the key registration requirements that may apply to your business.
  4. There are specific rules and regulations that every business must follow and there are different regulations and standards for every industry. For instance, daycares have different regulations, permits and licensing requirements than importing companies and these regulations can change over time. Therefore, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest regulations.  A professional accountant could direct you to the most relevant and current resources that will help you determine which regulations and standards apply to your industry. For more information about regulations, licensing and permits, read this article by Canada Business Network.
  5. When starting a business, are you required to register with a GST/HST account? When do you file for your GST and when do you pay? A chartered accountant will also advise you on these matters, as well as the advantages of registering with a GST/HST account. For more information about how to register for a GST/HST account, check Canada.ca.
  6. When starting a business, it is highly recommended that you open a business bank account that is separate from your personal account. A good accountant will explain the requirements of opening a business bank account and why it is critical to keep the business account separate from your personal one. For instance, having a business account not intertwined with your personal account could help you keep track of how profitable your business is and help you make financially sound decisions based on your business income and expenses. Muddling up your personal and business expenses could also make it more difficult to file your taxes.
  7. Bookkeeping and accounting are a significant part of any running business. At the start up phase of the business, you need to know which documents you should collect and how to establish a good filing system for all your receipts and invoices.  Whether or not you decide to conduct the bookkeeping yourself or prefer to hire a bookkeeper, it may be advantageous to ask a professional accountant about how to bookkeep. This article by Canada Business Network outlines the benefits of keeping organized records and the types of records to keep.
  8. Lastly, there are numerous accounting software systems such as QuickBooks, Peachtree and Xero, which could assist new business owners to keep track and monitor the key metrics of their business such as sales and expenses. An experienced accountant could suggest which accounting software is most recommended and user-friendly. This article by Business News Daily discusses the best accounting software for 2017.

In summary, there are many different factors and steps involved in starting up a business. Hiring a good accountant or at least seeking advice from an accountant is critical even in the beginning phases of a business. 

We are a full-service accounting firm handling taxation, bookkeeping, payroll, and accounting. We happily serve clients in North York, Toronto, Vaughan, Mississauga, Richmond Hill and other cities situated in the GTA. If you require consultation or a have any accounting inquiries, 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

 

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.

Can I get a tax deduction for eating gluten-free food?

If you suffer from celiac disease, you may be eligible to get a tax deduction for eating gluten-free food. Here is advice from a Toronto Chartered Accountant.

According to the Canadian Celiac Association, it is estimated that 1 in 133 persons in Canada are affected by celiac disease (gluten intolerance). Currently, there is no known cure for this disease, yet it can usually be effectively treated and controlled with “strict adherence to a gluten-free diet for life”. This requires knowledgeable dietetic counseling and frequent ‘updates’ as commercial food contents change.

Gluten-free products could be quite expensive and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is aware of this. If you suffer from celiac disease, you may be eligible to claim the incremental costs related to purchasing gluten-free food as a medical expense.

What is the incremental cost? And how is it calculated?
The incremental cost is defined as the difference in the cost between gluten-free products compared to the cost of similar products containing gluten. It is simply calculated by subtracting the cost of a product with gluten from the cost of a gluten-free product.

For instance, if a gluten-free loaf of bread costs $5.50 and a loaf of whole wheat bread costs $3, you could write off $2.50 as a medical expense on your income tax return.

What if several people are sharing gluten-free products with me, yet I am the only one who has celiac disease?
According to the CRA, “if several people eat the product, only the costs related to the part of the product that is eaten by the person with celiac disease may be claimed as a medical expense.” For example, if you split your loaf of gluten-free bread with a friend or your spouse, you may only claim half of the expense or $1.

What documents do I require to support the claim?
The CRA states, “Do not send any supporting documents. Keep them in case we ask to see them later.”

You will need to keep all of the following:

  1. A letter from a medical practitioner that certifies that you have celiac disease and cannot eat gluten.
  2. Receipts for each gluten-free food product to backup all your claims.
  3. A summary of each food product that was bought during the 12-month period for which the expenses are being claimed.

What is an example of ‘a summary of each food product’?

Food product: Bread
Number of products bought (for the 12-month period): 52
Average cost of product with gluten: $3.49
Average cost of gluten-free product: $6.99
Incremental cost: $6.99 – $3.49 = 3. 50
Amount to claim: $3.50 x 52 = $182.00

This table is based on a sample provided by the CRA website.

Here is a celiac disease medical expense worksheet. It is intended to help you document your gluten-free purchases. It is beneficial to print several of these sheets off and keep a file with this worksheet and your receipts together. This worksheet was taken from the Canadian Celiac Association.
In summary:

  1. The incremental cost of gluten-free products is an eligible medical expense.
  2. Eligible products are generally marketed specifically to the gluten free diet.
  3. Other products can also be eligible if they are used by the person with celiac. disease to make gluten-free products for their own use. These include, but is not limited to, rice flour and gluten-free spices.
  4. The gluten free tax deduction is only eligible with a medical note with a diagnosis of celiac disease.
  5. A summary of each purchase of gluten free products must be kept on file.
  6. A receipt for each purchase must be kept on file as well.

Related: Eligible medical expenses you can claim on your tax return


About S & P Accounting Services

S & P Accounting Services is a professional accounting firm situated in North York, Ontario. We are chartered accountants with extensive experience with audit, review, tax and bookkeeping. We strive to operate in accordance with our principles of quality, professionalism, and integrity and are dedicated to excellent service.  We aim to ensure that our clients receive the highest quality of financial, tax and accounting services and advice. We happily serve clients in Toronto, North York, Mississauga, Vaughan, Richmond Hill and in other cities in the GTA.

If you have any questions or inquiries about our accounting services, please contact S & P Accounting Services.

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.

 

Here are some FAQs about income tax returns

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about income tax returns

1. What income do I need to report on my income tax return?

All income is taxable. You’ll need to report all income on your tax return (also known as Income Tax and Benefit Return) and calculate how much tax you owe.

Income that you must report to the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) includes:

  • Part-time and self-generated income
  • Employment income earned both inside and outside of Canada
  • Income from rental property or renting out a section of your house
  • Investments (e.g. interest, dividends, capital gains)
  • Being self-employed (e.g. a home business)
  • Your pension
  • Income from more than one job

2. Do I qualify for tax credits and benefits?

You may qualify for the following:

  • Ontario Children’s Activity Tax Credit
  • Ontario Political Contribution Tax Credit
  • Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit
  • Ontario Trillium Benefit
  • Ontario Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grant
  • medical expenses, caregiver amounts, disability amounts, etc.

All you need to do is file a tax return and fill in three forms ON 479, ON-BEN and ON 428.

If you are submitting a paper tax return form, complete and mail the forms below when you mail your tax return.

Yet, if you are submitting your tax return online, the majority of accounting and tax return software will automatically ask you questions related to tax credits and benefits.

3. What if I have no income from last year, do I still file a tax return?

It’s important to file your taxes even if you have no earnings.

Even if you don’t have an income from the previous year, it’s beneficial to file your taxes because you may be eligible for various government benefits such as, the Ontario Trillium Benefit, the Ontario Child Benefit and Healthy Smiles Ontario.

However, please note two cases which it is mandatory to file an income tax return even though you have no earnings from the previous year: 1. if you owe taxes to the government and 2. if the CRA sent you a request in the mail to file your taxes.

4. Will I receive a refund?

The CRA will process your tax return and mail you a notice of assessment. If you qualify for a refund, you’ll get money back.

How much money you receive is contingent on a number of factors: your location, age, the size of your family, how much money you make and your expenses. Not everyone qualifies for a refund.

If you owe the CRA money, you will receive a letter in the mail stating that you need to pay by April 30. You can pay online, at your bank, or by mail with a cheque or money order.

5. From where do I get a tax return form?

To get a tax return form, you can either:

  • Download one from the CRA website
  • Visit your local post office or postal outlet
  • Visit a Service Canada office
  • Call 1-800-959-8281

The tax return forms are available at the above locations between February and early May.

6. Can I get help completing my tax return?

You may be eligible to get help from a free tax preparation clinic if you have a modest income and a simple tax situation. These tax clinics are offered through the Community Volunteer Income Tax.

Remember to bring your tax information slips and receipts such as old age security (OAS), employment insurance (EI) and Canada pension plan (CPP) tax slips. Volunteers will need them to prepare your income tax.

If you do not qualify for free tax services, you can get help from an accountant or a tax preparation company.

Our professional chartered accountants are committed to assisting you with your tax return and are highly qualified at finding the best tax credits and deductions that will maximize your refund from the government. Here is some more information about our professional accounting services. If you have any questions about tax returns or any accounting related inquiries, please contact S & P Accounting Services.

Here is an infographic which provides answers to some commonly asked questions about income tax returns. 

Income tax return FAQs

Income tax return infographic

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.

How to budget wisely – top five tips from an accounting firm

S & P Accounting Services is an accounting firm situated in the Greater Toronto Area. A common question that our clients ask us is how could I budget wisely?

Overall, the top five tips that we recommend to our clients are:

1. Spend less than you earn. 

This is easier said than done, yet if you follow through with this, you could be well on your way to paying off debts, saving for your retirement, getting your hands on that next generation Macbook or buying that beautiful home you dreamed of.

2. Create a monthly budget and adhere to it.

In order to know how much money is coming in and out each month, it is essential to devise a budget. There are different smartphone apps that make it easy to track your expenditure such as, Mint.com, YNAB, or Freshbooks. Conversely, you could simply create a monthly budget on excel spreadsheet for free.

Creating a monthly budget could definitely be an eye opener for you.  It will allow you to see how much money you are spending on those sushi outings with friends or daily Starbucks fixes and may propel you to want to change your spending habits.

3. Pay with cash instead of credit cards.

A good way to reduce your spending is to pay your daily expenses with real cash instead of credit cards. Cash offers a real tangible experience. When you run out of cash in your wallet, you no longer have any more money to spend. “You see this and process it.” On the contrary, with credit cards, “it seems like it would be easier for someone to purchase more because a card, while tangible, does not represent actual money. It’s just a piece of plastic, and a shopper does not see the result of their expenditure for almost a month.”1


One well-documented study conducted by Dun & Bradstreet found that people spend 12-18% more when purchasing with credit cards instead of cash. McDonald’s reports that when customers purchase with credit cards, the average ticket is $7 as opposed to $4.50 with cash. Therefore, we advise that it is best to keep cash rather than credit cards in your wallet.2

4. Stick to your grocery list and brown bag your lunch.

Having a grocery list will save you money and time. Have you ever rushed to the grocery store two days in a row simply because you forgot that one important staple on your first trip to the grocery store?  Or have you ever gone to the grocery store wandering aimlessly through the aisles, with little knowledge of what you have in your pantry and fridge and ended up buying multiples of the same product?

Having a grocery list will remind you what you need to buy and will ensure that you are purchasing food you know you will eat. Unfortunately, people throw away too much money on food because they purchase it and never eat it, or it gets moldy or rotten. Purchasing food that you intend to consume because it’s on your grocery list will help minimize wasted food.

A good way to create a grocery list is to first create your meal plan for the week.  After completing your meal plan, write down the necessary ingredients on your grocery list. Make sure to take note of what you already have in your fridge and pantry in order to avoid buying duplicate items.

One meal planning app worth checking is Today’s Parent Mealtime. It could help you create a weekly meal plan from thousands of family-friendly recipes and then create a grocery list that you could email to family members so that you are all on board with what’s needed.

We also recommend that you brown bag your lunch. This will save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year and as an added bonus it is usually healthier to eat a homemade meal.

5. Don’t buy on impulse.

Consumer psychologist, Ian Zimmerman, Ph.D., points out that “impulse buying is related to anxiety and unhappiness…The impulse buyer may feel unhappy and may think that being seen with an expensive new purchase will bring respect and happiness. This perceived road to happiness motivates the impulse buyer to go shopping…likes [a] product, and experiences pleasure at the thought of being able to purchase it immediately and go home with it.”3

Therefore, when you are down in the ruts, don’t use shopping as a therapy to give you a quick pick me upper. Instead try to find different avenues to deal with frustrations, boredom, and fatigue such as meditation, exercising, writing, drawing which are all practically free. One technique that could help you avoid impulse shopping is doing deep breathing exercises. You are window shopping with no intention of buying anything and you see those new Nike shoes and want them like now…”Take a breath and try this instead: Tell yourself you can buy it, but not until next month. By then, you’ll either have enough saved up or you’ll decide you don’t like it that much after all. Even better, if you wait it may be on sale! Problem solved.”4

In the same vein, when you go grocery shopping, stick to the items on your grocery list and never shop hungry.

Related: What motivates impulse buying

In conclusion, in order to budget wisely and help achieve your financial goals, it is well worth it to follow these five tips: 1. spend less than you earn, 2. create a monthly budget and adhere to it, 3. pay with cash instead of credit cards, 4. stick to your grocery list and brown bag your lunch, and 5. don’t buy on impulse.

Sources:

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-cards/credit-cards-make-you-spend-more/

http://www.businessinsider.com/studies-help-explain-why-credit-cards-make-us-spend-more-2014-7

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sold/201207/what-motivates-impulse-buying

https://www.everydollar.com/blog/8-steps-to-help-you-stick-to-your-budget

 


About S & P Accounting Services

S & P Accounting Services is a professional accounting firm situated in North York, Ontario. We are chartered accountants with extensive experience with audit, review, tax and bookkeeping. We strive to operate in accordance with our principles of quality, professionalism, and integrity and are dedicated to excellent service.  We aim to ensure that our clients receive the highest quality of financial, tax and accounting services and advice. We happily serve clients in Toronto, North York, Mississauga, Vaughan, Richmond Hill and in other cities in the GTA.

If you have any questions or inquiries about our accounting services, please contact S & P Accounting Services.

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.