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Home Office Expenses, Can You Claim Them? and What Can You Claim?

NOTE: This article concerns home office expenses for a business, not an employee working from home.

 

Owning a small business can have several perks, one of them being the ability to claim the cost of operating from a home office. In effect, some of your living expenses can become a deductible cost for your business.

There are of course a couple of conditions. To be able to claim home office expenses, you must meet ONE of the two following conditions:

1. It is your principle place of business;
or
2. You use the space only to earn business income, and you use it on a regular and ongoing basis to meet clients, customers or patients.

Point #2 is a very sticky one; the space must be a distinct and separate area of your home and cannot be used for any other purpose. In other words, using the kitchen table twice a week for processing paperwork does not entitle you to claim home office expenses.

Continue reading “Home Office Expenses, Can You Claim Them? and What Can You Claim?”

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Section 160 Assesments, What Are They and How Can You Fight Back?

As a small business owner, you have likely heard “put it in your spouse’s name, and you can protect it from CRA”. Well, as usual, advice from your neighbour is not always accurate.

Under Section 160 of the Income Tax Act, the Minister (CRA) can attach liability to another individual that has received a transfer of property when the person transferring the property has an outstanding tax liability.

Note: Section 160 of the Income Tax Act is virtually identical to Section 323 of the Excise Tax Act so the same rules apply to GST/HST liabilities.

So, to make this a little clearer, Jane and Bob are married. Jane owes the CRA $50,000 in taxes and the CRA is getting aggressive. To ‘save the house’, Jane transfers her interest in the home to Bob. Bob now exclusively owns the home.

Using the provisions of Section 160, CRA can assess Bob for the taxes that Jane owes because the transfer was merely a means of avoiding the tax liability.

Continue reading “Section 160 Assesments, What Are They and How Can You Fight Back?”

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Is YOUR Investment in Your Business Secured?

When you start your business, you likely apply for a loan; the Bank makes you sign a General Security Agreement, pledging the assets of your business (and likely personal assets) to cover the loan in case something goes wrong.

In other words, the bank is a secured creditor.

The Canada Revenue Agency holds Directors of a Corporation and owners of Sole-Proprietorships accountable for ‘Trust Funds’ – GST/HST and Payroll Taxes. Therefore, CRA is also secured.

Often if you lease equipment or finance equipment through a bank or other third party, they too will likely require a General Security Agreement to protect their interests.

But what about the money you personally invested in your business?

Continue reading “Is YOUR Investment in Your Business Secured?”

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Introducing LedgersShield – Safeguarding our Clients from the cost of Audits

 

Does even the thought of being audited by CRA send shivers down your spine?

Do you lose sleep at night worrying that sooner or later, the CRA or another government body will come calling?

Do you worry about the inherent additional accounting fees associated with an audit?

It is a very common misconception that you will be audited only if you are non-compliant in reporting taxes to the various government authorities.  In fact, this could not be further from the truth!

Several things can cause your business to be selected for audit, such as:

  • Late filing of income tax returns
  • Late filing or non-filing of GST returns
  • Filing multiple returns at once
  • Late filing of T4’s and related payroll information
  • Employee complaints to the Ministry of Labour
  • Worker’s Compensation Claims
  • Significant change in your business income or expenses
  • CRA Anonymous Tip Program
  • Random Chance

Face it, it is inevitable; sooner or later, you are going to face an audit by one or more of the government revenue agencies.

Continue reading “Introducing LedgersShield – Safeguarding our Clients from the cost of Audits”

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CRA and Lifestyle Audits, Could You Survive One?

Back in the November 2015 Newsletter, we briefly mentioned the CRA ‘Lifestyle’ Audit.

Recently, the Globe and Mail wrote that the CRA is introducing these Lifestyle Audits as part of the probe into the Vancouver Real Estate Market, suggesting that people are living far beyond their means so they must have undisclosed (or illegal) income.

So this month, we decided to further detail this type of Audit and we pose the question to you:

“Could You Survive a Lifestyle Audit if CRA Came Calling?

Continue reading “CRA and Lifestyle Audits, Could You Survive One?”