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A Chartered Accountant advises parents on how children could become more financially literate

As a Chartered Accountant, many of my clients ask me how they could help their children become more financially literate.

As a Chartered Accountant and parent, I could understand why they are concerned. Being financially literate is a life skill that children will carry with them even after high school. They need this knowledge in order to responsibly file their tax returns, help pay off debts and credit cards and save for their future. Lacking financial skills could definitely lead to financial troubles.

The good news is there are many different initiatives across Ontario that are helping children and youth gain money skills. For instance, the Ontario Ministry of Education is engaged in a pilot project that is helping revamp the Grade 10 careers courses and is laying the groundwork for financial literacy to become part of the curriculum for the fall of 2018.

Also, findings released this week by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) reveal that Canadian youth are among the top global performancers in financial literacy. Canada came second in financial literacy out of 15 countries that participated in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey. Eighty-seven per cent of about 3,400 Canadian students who participated in the survey, demonstrated at least a baseline level of financial literacy and Twenty-two per cent of Canadian students demonstrated advanced levels of financial literacy, well above the OECD average.

What could you as parents do to help your children gain money skills?

I recommend talking with your children about money early on and doing so as often as possible. In fact, the PISA survey revealed that Canadian students who discussed money issues with their parents tended to score higher with those discussing money issues at home once or twice a week scoring the highest.

As a Chartered Accountant, from my experience, it is also beneficial for parents to encourage their youth to start handling money early on that way the youth gain greater practical knowledge on how to budget, save and spend wisely. In fact, the PISA survey found that Canadian teenagers who held occasional jobs like gardening and babysitting had, on average  the highest financial scores. Children and youth learn about money by doing. Here is an example of about 100 summer jobs for teens, one of them might peak your children’s interest.

What unbiased resources are out there that could help us parents discuss money matters with our children?

Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPA) offers free unbiased financial literacy sessions to the general public. The program is run by Chartered Accountants that volunteer their time and expertise and is available to adults, seniors, workplace, new Canadians, schools, post-secondary students, small and medium businesses and entrepreneurs. For instance, some of the topics that parents could learn at the sessions are how to teach their kids to be money-smart and how to become good financial role models for their children. If you are interested, you may request  a session here.

Another informative website is Teaching Children About Money which offers many programs and activities for youth and children. Some topics discussed are:  “What to consider when deciding to give an allowance: how much to give, how often to give and if it should be earned” as well as “What to teach your preschool, school-aged, preteen and teenaged children about money management.”

There is a also a Financial Literacy Database for Canadian parents which offers some educational and fun resources such as how to teach children about money management in a fun and interactive way, how parents could save for their children’s education and an e-book on how children could learn to be smart spenders.

Also, besides teaching children and youth about the value and importance of money and helping them take on seasonal jobs early on, it is important for parents to attend financial literacy workshops. Such workshops will give parents more confidence in their knowledge and skills about money, help them be better role models when it comes to handling money and make them feel more comfortable to initiate such conversations at the dinner table.

If you require additional consultation or a tax planning strategy, please do not hesitate to contact:

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

Sources:

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/03/23/ontario-launches-plan-to-teach-high-school-kids-financial-skills.html

https://www.cpacanada.ca/en/the-cpa-profession/financial-literacy/financial-literacy-program-faqs

http://theprovince.com/opinion/op-ed/opinion-canadian-students-among-top-global-performers-in-financial-literacy

https://itools-ioutils.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/RDCV-BRVC/sear-rech-eng.aspx

https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/jobs-making-money/100-summer-jobs-for-teens/

https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/teaching-children-money.html

 

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