GTA

T’is the season to be giving! Ten questions to ask yourself prior to donating

When you donate to charities you help make a positive impact on the lives of many Canadians, people around the world and on your life as well. Charities depend on our donation dollars to help Canadians and people around the world.  Yet, before you go out and support an organization, it is important carefully research the charity.  Here are the top ten questions you could ask yourself prior to donating to a charity.

1.Who can I donate to?

Although there are plenty of important causes in Canada, only registered charities can provide you with a donation receipt and thus help you reduce your taxes. The key word here is registered. Registered charities differ from not-for-profit organizations such as clubs and sporting leagues. Registered charities function under specific rules that are set out by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Some of the stipulations that charities must follow include: ensuring that the money that they raise goes to charitable activities, keeping proper books and records, and sharing their financial and activity information annually with all Canadians through the CRA. There are other rules that charities must adhere to which you can read more about on the CRA website. In exchange for adhering to these stipulations, charities earn the right to a charitable registration number. This number is important to you, the donor because it makes you qualify for a tax credit.

Related: The difference between a registered charity and a non-profit organization

2. How can I find out if a charity is registered?

You could ask the charity for its registration number and verify its status on the List of Charities. You could also call the Charities Directorate at 1-800-267-2384.

Related:  The information that must be on an official donation receipt 

3. What can I donate?

You could donate cash, land or listed securities such as stocks to a registered charity or other qualified donees. Note that although gifts of service are valuable to charities, they don’t qualify for a tax receipt. These include donated time, skills and effort.

A good example of a gift of service is the following scenario. Let’s pretend that you are a software company and you offer to build a website for XYZ charity. After the website is completed, your company suggests that instead of invoicing the charity $16,000, the charitable organization issue you with a tax receipt of $16,000. Is the charity able to issue you a tax receipt? No, the charity is not able to issue you a tax credit because the website that you built for the charity is considered a gift of service and its an example of how you donated your time, skill and effort.

Lets now look at another scenario. You are still the same software company, yet in this case, you created a pre-designed software product, specifically a website template designed for charities (not only for XYZ charity but many charities). Your software company sells this product for $4000 and as long as you have documents to verify that this the fair market value of the product, then XYZ charity could issue you a donation receipt for $4000.

So the difference between scenario 1 and scenario 2 is that the former scenario is an illustration of a gift of service whereas the latter scenario is an example of a gift of property. In scenario 1, your software firm created a website specifically for XYZ charity, which could not be sold in the free and open market and therefore doesn’t qualify for a tax credit.  On the contrary, in scenario 2, your software company designed an off the shelf software that could be sold in the free and open market, and thus qualifies for a tax credit.

4. How much do I need to donate to receive a tax credit?

You could donate any amount to benefit from a tax credit. Just ensure that you have an official donation receipt.  Note that a charity is not required to give a receipt when it receives a donation. The CRA advises charities to tell potential donors when they will or will not be issued a receipt.

5. How do I claim a donation?

When you file your income tax and benefit return, there is an area on your return that is specifically for claiming your donations. Remember to fill out the donations section on your provincial and territorial tax and credit form. Additionally, ensure that you store all supporting documents such as official donation receipts, canceled cheques and pledge forms and stubs in the event that the CRA decides to review your return.

Related: The documents you will need to claim your charitable donation

6. Do I need to claim my donation receipts on an annual basis?

You can claim your receipts up to 5 years after you’ve made the donation, You can also combine your receipts with those of your spouse or common-law partner. In fact, donations of over $200 are equivalent to a deduction at the top tax bracket regardless of whether or not the donor is in the top tax bracket.

7. Is it fine if a registered charity gives me something in return for my donation, such as sporting or ballet tickets?

Yes, this totally fine and it is called an advantage. When a charitable organization gives you something as a token of their appreciation in exchange for your donation, the charity is required to subtract the value of the advantage from the amount of your donation to calculate the eligible amount to put on your donation receipt.

For example, you donated $1,500 to a registered charity called ABC Ballet Company. In order to show their appreciation, the company gives you three tickets to a performance that are valued at $150. You are therefore considered to have been given an advantage of $150. The eligible amount of the gift is $1350 ($1,500  $150).

8. What if the organization that I donated to is no longer registered. Can I still use my donation receipts to claim a tax credit?

Yes, if the charitable organization was registered when you first made the donation, then you can still use the receipt to claim a tax credit.

9. What are some tips that could help me ensure that I donate wisely?

a. Prior to donating check out the List of charities to verify that the organization is qualified to give you an official donation receipt.

b. Do not donate to an organization that pressures you to give immediately or if you aware of any signs of fraud.

c. Ensure that your online donations are secure.

d. Write cheques to the charity and not the individual.

e. Beware of donation schemes that promise a tax receipt for more than you donated.

10. What are some warning signs that a charitable organization might be engaged in fraud?

a. The charity calls to thank you for a donation that you have not made.

b. Organizations that use names similar to popular charitable organizations.

c. Canvassers who do not disclose details about the organization they serve.

d. Requests from the organization to send cash or money orders instead of cheques or credit card. Cash could not be traced and cannot be canceled.

e. Overly friendly canvassers that ask you personal questions.

f. Organizations that use free email addresses like Gmail or Hotmail to enable people that are part of the organization to conceal their identity.

g. Strange call display numbers such as 123-456-789 or 888-888-889 which might mean that the caller is trying to hide their phone number.

If you suspect an organization is engaged in fraud, report the suspected fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

An infographic about top five tips to donating wisely

An infographic about the top five tips to donating wisely.


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.

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.

Are you looking for a tax accountant in Toronto to help you with your tax return?

You may be eligible for free tax services

If you are looking for a tax accountant in the Toronto or North York area, yet have a simple tax situation and modest income, you may be eligible for free tax services.

In fact, there are many community organizations throughout Canada that have volunteers completing tax returns for eligible individuals. These tax clinics are made feasible through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP).

You might qualify for theses services if you have a modest income and a simple tax situation.

1. What is a modest income?

Modest income means that your family income is less than the amount shown in the chart below. Verify with the community organization in your vicinity to see if you are eligible as some organizations have different eligibility requirements. 

Family size Total family income
One person $30,000
One person with one dependant $35,000 (add $2,500 for each additional dependant)
Couple $40,000 (add $2,500 for each dependant)

2. Do you have a simple tax situation?

In general, your tax situation is simple if you have no income or if your income comes from these sources:

  • employment
  • pension
  • benefits such as CPP, disability, CCB, EI, social assistance
  • RRSP
  • support payments
  • scholarships, fellowships, bursaries or grants
  • interest (under $1,000)

Your tax situation is not simple if you:

  • are self-employed or have employment expenses
  • have business or rental income and expenses
  • have capital gains or losses
  • file for bankruptcy
  • are completing a tax return for a deceased person

In such circumstances, you may wish to seek advice and assistance from a tax accountant.

3. When are these free tax services offered?

Volunteer tax preparation clinics are generally offered each year between February and April but many are operating all year at various locations across Canada.

4. Where are the tax preparation clinics located?

Here is a list of free tax preparation clinics in:

5. What to bring to the tax preparation clinic?

 In order for volunteers to complete your income tax and benefit return for you, make sure to bring your:

  • Tax information slips
  • Receipts
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Identification

Volunteers need the above items to prepare your income tax and benefit return.

7. How do you get your slips?

You can visit Service Canada‘s secure site to get access to your current year and prior year old age security (OAS), employment insurance (EI) and Canada pension plan (CPP) tax slips electronically. 

For more information, see Information slips – T4 and other slips.

8. What if I require assistance with my taxes and don’t qualify for assistance from one of the free tax clinics?

If you require assistance with your taxes and are not eligible for assistance from one of the free tax clinics, you may contact S & P Accounting Services. 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.

 

 

We offer bookkeeping services in the GTA

We offer bookkeeping services in the GTA

Whether you have a start-up business or a well-established business, S&P Accounting could provide you with professional bookkeeping to meet your business needs. We offer bookkeeping services to clients in the GTA which includes Toronto, North York, Thornhill, Vaughan and Richmond Hill.

We provide a full range of bookkeeping services 

Our bookkeeping services include:

  1. Books set-up,
  2. Data entry, banking, and reporting,
  3. Payroll setup, processing, monthly remittances and yearly tax reporting,
  4. HST, WSIB and Employer health tax filings….and more.

Our bookkeeping services are highly professional

In Canada, bookkeeping, unlike the accounting profession, is completely unregulated. This means that when it comes to bookkeeping, there are no criteria for educational credentials or for professional conduct. Virtually anybody with little to no education or training could call themselves a bookkeeper. Unfortunately, using the service of an unqualified bookkeeper, has had detrimental consequences for businesses. For instance, according to Edward Nagel, a forensic accountant,  unethical bookkeepers could create “large-scale misappropriation — from fictitious vendors and ghost employees to cheque fraud, and everything in between. And, since many bookkeepers and their employees often have no formal fraud-prevention training, this increases the likelihood of a fraud going undetected for months, if not years. ” Mr. Nagel proceeds to say that it’s important to stay clear of bookkeepers that profess to be knowledgeable in the profession, yet refuse to answer straight-forward accounting questions. That’s definitely a red flag!

At S & P Accounting Services, our Chartered Accountants perform the bookkeeping services.  This means that our high level of educational, professional and ethical standards ensures that our clients receive top level bookkeeping services. As our client, you could feel confident knowing that our Chartered Accountants will ensure that your books are properly maintained. We will accurately and proficiently perform all your bookkeeping services, as well as give you advice and answer any questions that you may have about your business’ finances. Our qualified bookkeepers are able to customize a bookkeeping solution around your financial and business needs.

We offer bookkeeping services in both QuickBooks and Simply Accounting, and we offer these services at your office or ours, whatever you prefer. Our office is conveniently located in the the GTA.

Our bookkeeping services are affordable and efficient

Our bookkeeping services are an affordable and efficient way to get small and large sized businesses up-to-date with their bookkeeping records. We regularly look over your file and help ensure that your books are properly and accurately maintained. By providing you with professional bookkeeping services, you will have more time to focus on what’s really important -running your business.

If you require additional consultation or a have any bookkeeping 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

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