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Archives for Tax Planning

Tax Year 2019 – Preparing & filing your Individual Income…

Deadline

The deadline for most individuals to file their 2019 tax return and for all individuals to pay any amounts due is April 30, 2020.

Self-employed

For those who are self-employed, or who have a spouse or common-law partner who is self-employed, the deadline to file your tax return is June 15, 2020.
To avoid interest or penalties, make sure you pay any amount you owe by April 30, 2020. After this date, the CRA will charge interest on any amount you owe until your balance is paid.

Deceased persons

When filing a tax return for someone who has passed away, the due date for their return will depend on the date of death, and if the person owned a business in 2019.
The due date for filing the return of a surviving spouse, or common-law partner who was living with the deceased, is the same as the due date for filing the deceased person’s final return. However, any balance owing to the surviving spouse or common-law partner still has to be paid on or before April 30 of the following year to avoid interest charges.

Gather your tax information

Get everything you need to calculate your income and support any credits, deductions, and expenses you’ll claim.
If you were employed or had an investment income in 2019, your employer or financial institution will send you statements commonly referred to as ”slips”. Here are some common examples:
• T3 Statement of Trust Income Allocation and Designations
• T4 Statement of Remuneration Paid
• T5 Statement of Investment Income
If you have not received a tax slip for the current year, or you misplaced it, you can ask the issuer of the slip for a copy. You can also get copies of your slips by logging into the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Account service.

Methods for completing your tax return

Choose one of the following secure options for filing your tax return.

Electronically by software:

You will find a list of certified desktop, online, and mobile software products at canada.ca/netfile-software. Some of these products are free of charge.

On paper

You can print the 2018 income tax and benefit package online or you can order a copy from the CRA. If you filed your taxes on paper last year, the CRA will automatically mail the T1 Income Tax package to your home before the deadline.

By phone

Those who are eligible will receive an invitation letter in the mail in mid-February, to use our automated phone service called File my Return, you may be able to complete and file your return for free by phone. The personalized invitation is sent to eligible Canadians who have low or fixed incomes, and whose situation doesn’t change from year-to-year.

The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program

If you have a modest income and a simple tax situation, volunteers at a free tax clinic may be able to complete your tax return for you. Free tax clinics are generally offered between February and April across Canada, while some are open year-round. To learn more, or to find a tax clinic near you, go to Canada.ca/taxes-help.
Program volunteers will complete your income tax and benefit return for you.

Fill out your tax return

If you decide to complete your tax return using certified software, you may be able to use a feature called Auto-fill my return. This service makes it easier to do your taxes by automatically filling in parts of your tax return with information the CRA has on file. All you need to do to use this service is to register for My Account.

Step 1: Provide and update your personal information

Keeping your personal information up-to-date with the CRA can save you time when doing your taxes. Tell the CRA if any of the following has changed:
• your marital status
• the number of children in your care
• your banking information
• your home address
It is important to let the CRA know about these changes as soon as possible, to make sure you get the right benefit and credits you are entitled to.

Step 2: Report your income

Income is money you earn through employment, self-employment, and investments you have or the benefits you receive. On your return, you must report income from all sources, both inside and outside Canada. This is true even if you were paid in cash, which includes money you earn as a side job or tips you have received.

Step 3: Claim your deductions, tax credits, and expenses

Reduce the amount of tax you pay by claiming your deductions, expenses and tax credits. You’ll have to use the receipts and records you kept during the year to support your claims.

Send in (file) your tax return

There are several ways to send your tax return to the CRA. Ultimately, this may be dependent on how you decided to complete your return.
• By software (electronically): If you selected a NETFILE certified software, it will communicate directly with the NETFILE application servers and transmit all required information on your behalf directly to the CRA via the web service.
• By paper: Mail your completed income tax package to your tax centre.
• By phone: Follow the instructions in the invitation letter for File my Return that you received from the CRA.

IMPORTANT: Remember to keep all your receipts

Regardless of how you submit your tax return, you must keep all your tax documents for at least six years. If you claimed expenses, deductions or tax credits, make sure you keep all your receipts and any related documents in case the CRA asks to see them.

What to do after filing your taxes?
If you file online and are registered for online mail, you could get your notice of assessment (NOA) shortly after you file your tax return using the Express NOA service.

When to expect your refund

If you file your tax return online and choose direct deposit, you could receive your refund in as little as eight business days. If you send CRA a paper tax return, it generally takes eight weeks before the CRA issue your notice of assessment and any refund.

Pay a balance owed

There are many ways to make a payment to the CRA. To avoid interest or penalties, make sure you pay any amount you owe by April 30, 2020. After this date, the CRA will charge interest on any amount you owe until your balance is paid. Interest applies after April 30, even if you are self-employed.

If you cannot pay the balance you owe in full

You can make a payment arrangement with the CRA. The CRA can grant relief from penalty or interest, in certain circumstances.

Need to make a change to your return?

If you forgot to include information or made a mistake on your tax return, wait until you get your notice of assessment from the CRA. Then, you can change your return.

In this age of Cloud Computing, Secure and Fast Processing, Clearwater Professional Corporation strongly recommends its client to generate monthly financial statements and monitor their personal and business growth and plan their future monthly, rather than waiting for the end of the year, as by then it is too late to take advantage of many opportunities, such as
1. Investing in the best financial and non financial products
2. Keeping your Bank reconciliations up to date
3. Keeping your renewals and data up to date
4. Planning your tax strategy in advance in order to save tax
5. Generally being aware of your financial situation and be able to navigate and fix it, if it needs fixing
6. Improve your Credit Score

You would not incur any additional costs, on the contrary, save a lot more by planning ahead, saving wisely and generally being on top of things.
In this day of Cloud Accounting systems, accountants are better equipped to provide far better security, processing speed, lower fees and with the Clearwater Advantage monthly on one CFO Advisory session.

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Top Traits of a Successful Small Business Accountant

When surveyed about key factors that led to their success, most small business owners singled out the selection of a good accountant as the most important asset. This resource was found to be a common factor for businesses that were acquired from a previous owner, inherited from a family member, or founded as a startup.

This survey of small business owners also uncovered fourteen important qualities (mentioned below), which were identified as the top traits shared by successful small business accountants:

1. An advisor and a business partner

These accountants provided much more than simple records of transactions and yearly tax filing services.

Successful small business accountants partnered with business owners in driving the strategy of the business, with well-constructed business plans and monthly face-to-face sessions supported by valuable data analysis.

2. Monthly financial statements

These accountants used sophisticated systems and processes to generate monthly financial statements for the following:

  • Profit & Loss
  • Balance Sheet
  • Cash Flow
  • Bank Reconciliation

They were also able to provide data in real-time through systems based on cloud computing and assisted by artificial intelligence.

3. Expert planners with a strategic mindset

These accountants had the business experience and the professional background to think Strategically. They also provided valuable advice on long-term business plans, structure for pricing, volume analysis, sales channels selection, fixed and variables costs analysis, and the precise calculation of taxes.

4. Advanced tax planning

One valuable by-product of monthly financial statements, meetings, and a strategic mindset is that the accountant and the business owners were able to discuss and execute tax strategies fairly in advance and generate substantial savings.

5. Cash flow-focused

Monitoring and projecting advanced cash flow is like monitoring the lifeblood of the business. Profits do not necessarily translate into much needed cash. A close monitoring of bank reconciliations on a monthly, if not a daily basis, is another key process that good accountants and businesses will follow.

6. Analytical mind

One of the most appreciated traits of a successful accountant — which leads to good advice and follow-up — is an analytical mind that is trained to generate and interpret pertinent information. This analytical mind provides the ability to spot any telling signs or trends that would otherwise escape the layman.

7. Professionally qualified & knowledgeable

It almost goes without saying, but a professionally qualified and trained accountant is a necessity, if you want to be successful. Professional qualifications show that the accountant knows how to maintain high professional standards and ethical conduct in all matters, in addition to possessing a deep understanding of numbers, rules, regulations, and laws.

8. Works with the latest technologies

Technology is developing at an astonishing rate, with cloud computing, artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies forming a substantial part of the accounting ecosystem.

Today’s accountant must be comfortable working with these technologies to help grow your revenue faster, track costs better, help choose the right inventory systems, and so on.

9. Access to other small business service providers

Small business owners need access to the same professionals that their larger counterparts use to run their business, (i.e bankers, foreign exchange traders, lawyers, and wealth managers). Great accountants will usually partner with these professionals, especially those catering to small businesses. Your accountant should be able to refer you to these types of service providers when you need them.

10. Cost management and investment monitoring

A good accountant understands the delicate balance that the small business owner must maintain between reducing waste and investing to boost future revenues. A good accounting partner will be able to help a small business owner measure the cost of those additional investments or the impact of reducing costs.

11. Succession planning capabilities

At a certain stage of the business lifecycle, small business owners will face the decision to either go public, name heirs to the business, or sell it. A professional accountant can help with the selection of professional valuation firms, the IPO process, or simply assist in transitioning the business legally and financially to the heirs.

12. Corporate structuring

As a business partner who has access to the market, and the inner workings of other successful businesses, the accountant is usually in a position to recommend changes to the business’s corporate structure that would further boost growth or stem any loss of revenue.

13. Debt planning

At a certain stage of growth, all businesses may require access to banking channels, debt markets, and other lenders to either enhance capital or borrow on short and long terms. This is especially true for start-up businesses. A great accountant has connections in the marketplace and will be able to access these funds or make recommendations to the business owner.

14. Acquisition as a growth strategy

In some instances, small businesses hit a plateau, in terms of growth, where organic business growth strategy is simply not an option. During their career, a successful accountant has usually worked on an acquisition and will understand what is required in terms of due diligence, purchase, bedding the acquisition, and so on. In an ideal situation, they will have handled the complete acquisition cycle and can work with a team of professionals to identify the right fit for their client.

Looking for an accountant who fits the above traits? Book a consultation with the team at Clearwater to see if we’d be a good fit for your business.

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