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A Tax Accountant shares the nitty gritty of being tax audited

As a Tax Accountant, I believe that it is my responsibility to reduce the chances of my clients being audited.

In fact, being audited can be overwhelming and it is definitely something you’d want to avoid. In this article, I explain, Why CRA audits? and What a tax audit is?

Why does CRA audit?

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is responsible for administering tax and benefit programs for all Canadians.  In order to ensure that the tax system is fair for everyone and that all Canadians receive the benefits and amounts that they are eligible for, the CRA audits businesses that may not have calculated their taxes correctly. In fact, the Canadian tax system relies on self-assessment. This means individuals register their business as applicable and at the end of the year or at the end of the reporting period, individuals calculate their own taxes and submit a tax return to the CRA along with any payments required. So the auditing is one way to ensure that businesses fulfill their obligations and receive any amounts and benefits that they are eligible for.

What is a tax audit?

When CRA receives a tax return it typically goes through an initial processing that checks basic information and calculates the information. From this initial processing, you receive a notice of assessment

A tax audit, on the other hand is a more detailed examination of your books and records. Records are financial documents that sum up your transactions and include documents to support these transactions. A tax audit is conducted after you’ve received your notice of assessment to find out if you’ve calculated your taxes correctly.

While undergoing a tax audit, the CRA first reviews the income and expenses you’ve reported. GST registrants might be more familiar with the terms supplies and input tax credits.

Next, the CRA may compare the income and expenses you’ve reported with other sources they have on file in order to affirm that you’ve followed the tax laws and that your calculations are accurate.

During this time, CRA also checks to see that you’ve reported revenues from all sources and that the expenses you claimed are deductible and supported by receipts. For GST/HST audits, CRA ensures that GST/HST is collected and reported on all taxable supplies, that you are entitled to the input tax credits you’ve claimed and that you have receipts to support your claims.

Finally, at the end of the audit, CRA will send you a letter and affirm one of three things.

1) that the previous Notice of Assessment was correct and nothing more needs to be done, or 2) that an adjustment needs to be made in more tax (reassessment) and you will have to pay the balance owing or 3) that an adjustment needs to be made, resulting in less tax (reassessment) and you will qualify for a refund. In most cases, audits result in a reassessment with mores taxes being owed to the Government of Canada.

If the adjustment results in more taxes being owed, the auditor can provide you with an approximation of the balance owing before the CRA issues a notice of assessment or notice of reassessment. This will give you the chance to prevent more interest charges from accruing by paying all or part of what you owe immediately. For more information, go to Make a payment to the Canada Revenue Agency.

I believe that a good Tax Accountant reminds clients of their responsibilities and requirements as tax-paying citizens. Businesses are obligated to to meet registration, reporting, filing and payment responsibilities which are written under the CRA laws.

Specifically, this means that you must keep your books and records up to date and generally for six years from the day that you file your tax return. You must also keep your books and records in an accessible and readable format either on paper or electronically.  Lastly, you must also provide your books and records and supporting documents to the auditor upon request.  All these steps will help reduce the chances that you will be audited and help ensure that you report your taxes correctly.  

If you require additional consultation or a tax planning strategy, 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

Source:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/lf-vnts/dt/menu-eng.html

The role of a good small business CPA

A good small business CPA will provide its clients with advice beyond the areas of tax preparation and auditing

Many of our clients are small business owners. Even those who own big companies started a few years ago as small business owners. Small business is the backbone of our Canadian economy and should be treated as such. Therefore, A good small business CPA will provide its clients with advice beyond the areas of tax preparation and auditing, and will also help its clients capture the many business opportunities that are available to them in order for the maximize their profitability and reduce their liabilities.

Good small business CPA provide clients with advice in areas that are beyond tax preparation and auditing

In our role as a small business CPA, we meet many clients who can benefit from advice in areas that are beyond tax preparation and auditing. Many business owners can increase their profitability through a better understanding of how cash flows in their business, the true value of different business opportunities and the true value of assets and liabilities. For instance, the type of business structure you choose to have, whether it is a proprietorship, partnership, or corporation  will impact how you report your business income, the type of returns you have to complete, and many other aspects of your business. A good CPA will advise you on which business structure is most suitable for your business and the benefits that you are eligible for and how to increase your profitability.

Good small business CPA help clients capture business opportunities

A small business CPA should also help business owners capture opportunities for increasing profits that are not always so obvious to the untrained eye. An accountant has the advantage of having the full perspective of the financial situation of the business as well as the experience of dealing and improving different business situations for its clients. For instance, the following is one example of how a small business CPA could help clients improve their business situation. The Federal Budget 2017 has made changes to the way business professionals will report work in progress (WIP) on their income. This policy could mean that professionals such as lawyers, doctors, accountants, veterinarians, and chiropractors will have to pay more taxes upfront and stain their cash flow.  In order minimize this strain on business professionals income,  a good CPA will advise such professionals on the different options that are available to them.  Such recommendations  could include how they could change the way their WIP is calculated, the benefits of incorporating their practice, the advantage of creating a holding company for excess cash, as well as the value of splitting income with family members.  A good small business CPA will be well versed in the federal policies in place and will know which options are best for its clients in order to maximize opportunities and minimize any strain on their income so that the could carry on business as usual.

We believe that as a small business owner you can expect your CPA to give you this level of consulting.

If you require additional consultation or a tax planning strategy, 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

The benefits of good business accounting services

Good Business Accounting Will Help You Focus on What’s Important…Your Business

Professional business accounting services can save you money and time, but that is not all. A good accountant can also help you make more money, grow your business and avoid bad business decisions. Here is how:

Good business accounting services help save on taxes

If you are in any way similar to the typical business owner, you may be paying more tax than you should. A good accountant will make sure that you are reporting all the right business expenses without missing any opportunity to lower your tax bill. A good accountant will also find ways to structure your return, in compliance with the regulations, in a way that will minimize your taxes. The time invested in finding a good accountant can save you thousands in taxes. Note that tax laws are changing all the time and what worked for you last year may not be effective or even allowed this year. A good accountant will be up to date with the latest changes.

You won’t pay unnecessary fees and penalties

Once you’ve found a reliable business accounting service, you can relax knowing that your accountant keeps a watchful eye and won’t let you fall behind on your payment to government agencies and regulatory bodies. This will not only save you from unnecessary payments, but also from the unpleasant and restrictive effects of penalties for late payment.

You’ll save time on bureaucratic stuff

As a business owner you are probably less familiar with the accounting world than you are with your own business. This can become a time consuming issue in situations when you need to fill out specific forms, apply government programs or just deal effectively with CRA. Your accountant can save you precious time by helping you with these issues.

Your business will grow faster and safer

An experienced accountant may have already seen businesses in situations that are somewhat similar to yours. Your accountant has intimate knowledge of the financial aspects of your business and can help you evaluate new opportunities probably better than other advisors can. A good accountant should have the ability to analyze those opportunities from a cold, financial perspective that you may not have as someone who is deeply involved. Your accountant can help you identify opportunities for growth as well as those that need to be avoided.

If you require additional consultation or a tax planning strategy, 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

What does bookkeeping mean?

My clients often ask me ‘what does bookkeeping mean?

They wonder if bookkeeping is something that they could perform while running their business.

If you are amid the start up phase of your business, you might wonder if bookkeeping is something that you could perform yourself while running your business.  Whether or not you choose to employ a bookkeeper or are comfortable to bookkeep yourself, keeping your books in order is crucial to running any business. In fact, good bookkeeping practices will give you an excellent measure of how well your business is doing.

In the following article, I will explain what bookkeeping means, what are the different ways to bookkeep, as well as why it’s important to bookkeep.

What does bookkeeping mean?

Bookkeeping is a recording of financial transactions, which include purchases, sales, receipts, and payments by an individual or cooperation. Bookkeepers are responsible for accurately recording all the financial transactions of the business, whether it is a cash transaction or credit transaction. You would need certain skills and talents to perform a bookkeepers crucial job.

Bookkeepers must be detail oriented, be meticulous about accurately recording numbers in the books and it is to their advantage if they enjoy working with numbers. Bookkeepers must vigilantly maintain a paper or electronic trail, as well as filling and storing all essential backup data about the financial transactions recorded in the books.

What are the different ways to bookkeep?

A useful bookkeeping system is one that is easy to understand, simple to use, reliable, accurate, consistent and can provide you with the information you need in a timely manner.

The two different bookkeeping styles are: single entry and double entry bookkeeping
Single entry bookkeeping means that every dollar transaction is recorded only once, either as income or expense, an asset or a liability. All entries are recorded on a one page synoptic journal, also called a revenue and expense journal.

On the other hand, double entry bookkeeping means that each transaction is recorded twice, one account is credited with the given dollar amount and a second account is debited by an equal dollar amount.

You may use a one-write system or a computerized system to record your bookkeeping.
One-Write Systems are copyrighted systems are set up using carbon-backed cheques. As you write the information on a cheque, it also transfers the data to a record system.

Computerized Systems are programs that are advantageous because they usually have the ability to produce daily updated financial statements quickly and in versatile ways. Many of these systems are scalable, so you can add on as your business expands.

Why is it important to bookkeep?

It might seem tedious to record every financial transaction in your books, yet financial records can save you a great deal of effort and time in long run.

Good records will keep you up to date with your business’ past and present standing. They will assist you in making good business decisions. Good records will also help you meet different government agency requirements, which include: Canada Revenue  Agency, Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, Department of Finance, Goods and Services Tax and Workers’ Compensation. Additionally, good records will help you make accurate and timely remittances. Finally, good records will increase the probability that your business will survive, stay in business and earn profit.

If you require additional consultation or a tax planning strategy, 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