COVID-19 Canadian Tax Information

With the recent changes due to COVID-19, many clients and small businesses are feeling financial pressure.  Please know we are deemed an essential service and will continue to serve you.  If you are affected financially by this pandemic, Liu & Associates is here to help.

To help ease financial burdens of taxpayers and small businesses, the Government of Canada is providing options to defer tax payments and is extending the tax deadline.  Read more about financial help for Canadians affected by COVID-19; a hub of benefits the federal government, provinces and territories are offering to people financially affected by the coronavirus.  For more information on how this can help you, your business and your employees, please see our resource section below or call us at 780-429-1047.

You can also visit Government of Canada’s coronavirus disease or call their information line (1-833-784-4397),  available from 7:00 a.m. to midnight (EST) seven days a week.

Our team will continue to update this page as more information becomes available.

Last updated: May 26, 2020

Our Response Plan

The team at Liu and Associates LLP wants to assure you we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation from a financial standpoint and recognize it is truly a global crisis and is constantly changing. This is an unprecedented time for all of us, and we feel the need for everyone to work together to weather this storm.

To ensure the health and safety of our clients and staff, we are taking extra precautions in our office – read our blog post about how our office protocol has changed.

External Resources

City of Edmonton

  • The City of Edmonton has launched a new website for business support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This website will be updated regularly by the City.
  • If you have any business related questions, contact the City of Edmonton directly: businessinfo@edmonton.ca
  • In an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, the City of Edmonton is taking immediate action following the direction of Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Surrounding Areas

For up-to-date information related to other surrounding communities, please follow the following links:

Alberta

Canada

The Government of Canada is rolling out constant updates that affect both individuals and businesses.

APPLICATIONS are now being accepted for Canada’s Emergency Response Benefit Program.

The Government of Canada has launched a COVID-19 APP; to download yours visit APPLE  OR  ANDROID

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $350 million in emergency funds for community groups and national charities.
Individuals

 

Businesses

For more information, please contact Liu & Associates LLP.

Working from Home: What can you claim on your tax return?

what can you claim on your tax return when working from homeNowadays, business and their employees are connected more than ever– allowing increased flexibility when, where and how people complete their work. Also there is a rising number of people whose main income is self-employment, which has blurred the lines between are personal spaces and the workspace. Income tax law has always accounted for those that make their living from their living room… or anywhere else in the home for that matter! If you work from home or are self-employed, do not overlook the credits you can claim on your income tax return. For more information, read on for four fantastic facts from Liu & Associates!

#1: Self-employed vs. “Working from home.”

If you work for a business and they allow you to complete your work remotely– you are not self-employed and do not qualify for the same tax benefits unless your employer signs the appropriate form. Self-employed individuals are eligible for a much wider range of claims and credits, so it is important to distinguish between the two circumstances.

#2: Automobile costs.

In modern business, being mobile can be extremely important– which means you may use your personal vehicle for work purposes. When this happens, you are entitled to claim the cost you incurred for these specific uses. This means calculating how much gas you used, as well as the ratio of how much you use the vehicle for work versus how much you use it personally. Once totaled for the year, you may claim a percentage of these costs as a credit against your income tax.

#3: Pro-rated expenses.

Like we mentioned in the tip above, the ratio of personal and work use can be applied to many expenses. This process is called “pro-rating” the cost over time to fairly represent how much money is spent on each item over the tax year. Some categories of these expenses include: insurance premiums, mortgage interest payments, property tax payments, utilities, furnishings or equipment– refer to the Government of Canada’s guidelines for a more comprehensive list of options.

#4: Carryforward.

One of the best results of claiming your “business use of home” costs is even if you do not need the credits, they can be rolled over to the next tax year. This carryforward provision is especially useful for self-employed people who are only just starting out. They may not make enough income to require tax relief, so they can defer the benefits to a more profitable year.

The four tips above are only a sketch of the diverse and complex reality of income tax law. If you have questions or concerns about your situation, contact or visit Liu & Associates today!

Consequences Of Not Filing Corporate tax in Alberta

consequences of not filing your corporate tax in alberta

 

 

By not filing your corporate tax return on time (or at all), you’re opening yourself up a number of different penalties from the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA). Join Liu & Associates as we highlight a few of the penalties below. Keep in mind this list below is by no means exhaustive. For a complete list of corporate tax penalties, visit canada.ca.

 

Failure to File

Corporate tax filing deadlines vary depending on your corporation’s fiscal year end, as well as what type of corporation it is. A corporation has to file their return within six months after their taxation year end, and payment is due either two or three months after taxation year end.

Generally speaking, the penalty for late filing is 5% of the unpaid tax that is due on the filing deadline, plus 1% of the unpaid tax for each month that the return is late, for up to 12 months.

A larger penalty will be charged if the CRA issued a demand to file the return and assessed a failure to file penalty in any of the previous three tax years. This penalty is 10% of the unpaid tax when the return was due, plus 2% of the unpaid tax for each month that the return is late, for up to 20 months.

Instalment Penalty

When the installment interest is more than $1,000, the CRA may charge an installment penalty. The penalty amount is calculated by subtracting the greater of $1,000 and 25% of the installment interest calculated if no installment has been made for the year. The difference is then divided in half to get the final penalty amount.

Large Corporations

A corporation is considered to be a “large corporation” is their total taxable capital employed in Canada at the end of the tax year by it and its related corporations is over $10 million. You can identify yourself as a large corporation on your T2 form.

If a large corporation fails to file their return, a penalty can be charged for each month that the returns are late, for up to 40 months. The penalty is calculated by adding up 0.0005% of the corporation’s taxable capital employed in Canada at the end of the year and 0.25% of the Part VI tax payable by the corporation (before deductions).

False Statement or Omissions

The CRA can charge a penalty if a corporation, either knowingly or due to gross negligence, makes a false statement or omission on their corporate tax return. The penalty for a false statement or omission is the greater of either $100 or 50% of the amount of understated tax.

The Exceptions

It’s good to note that the CRA will sometimes consider waiving penalties or interest if the reason for a late filing or not paying is beyond the taxpayer’s control.

Liu & Associates Can Help

If you need help with your corporate tax return, give the experts at Liu & Associates a call. We will work with you and your company to make sure your corporate tax matters are as smooth and cost-efficient as possible.

SR&ED: 5 Things To Know

Sr&ED 5 Things to knowScientific Research and Experimental Development is a mouthful, but shortened to SR&ED or “shred” it may be familiar to business owners. A federal program designed to incentivize industry with tax credits, SR&ED and its benefits are enforced by the Canada Revenue Service (CRA). Most of the time, claims and reviews are a simple process– but the following are five brief tips from the experts here at Liu & Associates.

#5 Who can apply? Individuals, trusts and foreign-owned corporations are all eligible for SR&ED and its incentives. Canadian-owned private corporations can claim these benefits at an even higher rate thanks to lawmakers’ efforts to encourage local innovation.

#4 Prescribed proxy amounts (PPA) are used in case you are not prepared to claim all SR&ED overhead and expenses (traditional method). Using the proxy method, your PPA is calculated against the salaries of all staff involved with SR&ED.

#3 Supporting documentation may be needed if your business’ SR&ED claim is flagged for review by the CRA. Always keep any documentation that could support your claim, including but not limited to accounting records, prototypes, financial records and even photographs.

#2 Investment tax credit (ITC) is what is generated by a successful SR&ED claim– it can reduce your business’ taxable income. Select cases may even be eligible for partial refunds paid for by ITC.

#1 Tax deduction is tied directly to what your company spends on SR&ED. Third party payments; overhead and material budgets; salary, wages and contracting costs… All of these could result in a tax credit or an ITC refund.

These tips are only a summary of the details surrounding Scientific Research and Experimental Development. As a federal tax credit program, there are intricacies that should only be handled by your business’ chief financial officer or a trusted accountant. If you have any questions or concerns about SR&ED, contact or visit us today at Liu & Associates!

Ways to Avoid a Small Business Tax Audit

tax audit concept

Small businesses, due to their very nature, are under close scrutiny by the CRA. While there is no way to ensure you’ll never be selected for an audit, there are some ways you can decrease your chances. Read on for five ways to keep the auditors at bay.  

1. Avoid Revenue Discrepancies

When submitting your business revenue, consistency is key. If there are any discrepancies in your business income across any tax forms, that is a big red flag for the CRA and will usually warrant a further investigation.

2. Understand Industry Risk

If you are in an industry that deals with a lot of cash (restaurants, bars, other retails businesses), the CRA is going to be keeping an extra watchful eye right from the start. To combat this, it’s important that your records are organized and complete so it’s quick and easy for you to send along supporting documentation if asked.

3. Stick With the Norm

If your business reports an income that is largely higher (or lower) than other businesses in your industry, it could tip off the tax man. Now, this point comes with a disclaimer: honesty is always the most important factor when it comes to your tax return, so if your company ends up legitimately bringing in an income that widely deviates from your competitors, that’s okay! Just ensure your paperwork and supporting documents are in order, as you may be prompted for further information.  

4.  Avoid Outstanding Balances in Shareholder Loans

Changes in shareholder loans can be a red flag for the CRA. Any money taken from the company needs to be reimbursed or reported as personal income to ensure the proper tax is being applied. Failure to do so can even result in double taxation under subsection 15(2) of the Income Tax Act. Ensure that any shareholder withdrawals are completed properly. To learn more about this process, speak to an accountant!

5. Stay Realistic (and Honest)

There are certain deductions (home office, car, etc.) that are commonly abused by small business owners, and therefore, are under close watch by the CRA. Claiming 100% business use of your vehicle is simply not realistic, and the CRA agents know this! If you are claiming these type of deductions, ensure that you’re keeping the proper paperwork to ensure your claim gets accepted!

Liu & Associates Can Help

Honesty and diligence are the two best ways to minimize your chance of being audited. Even more, if you do happen to be selected for an audit, the amount of stress you experience will be much less, because you’ll have nothing to hide! Keep thorough records, and you’ll have no reason to worry. If you have questions about your business tax return, don’t hesitate to contact an accounting professional. Having your taxes completed by a professional will help to maximize your return and minimize errors. If you are looking for help filing your business tax return, or are currently facing an audit, contact the team at Liu & Associates for honest, professional advice.

What’s a Tax Audit?

tax audit concept

While the auditing process is meant to help maintain public confidence in the fairness of Canada’s tax system, it can be a stressful and onerous experience on a taxpayer. There are two main types of tax audits: business audits and personal audits. Read on to learn a bit more about each type, what you can expect if you’re selected for an audit of your own and how Liu & Associates can help.

Business Audits

A business tax audit is a process in which the CRA closely examines small and medium-sized businesses’ books and records to ensure they are complying with their tax obligations. Audits are also used as a way to ensure the business is receiving any monetary amounts they are entitled to.

How Are Businesses Chosen?

The business audit selection process is based on a risk assessment system. When choosing businesses to audit, the CRA will also look at any information it has on file and may compare it to similar files.

What Does an Auditor Look at?

A tax auditor will look at the company’s books, records and documents. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Previous tax returns
  • Business records
  • Personal records

Personal Audits

Personal audits are very similar to business audits. The selection process and the documents that are reviewed are all of similar nature – the difference is that the focus is on personal taxes rather than company taxes. Again, the purpose of an audit is to ensure that your assessment is accurate. If you’re selected for a personal tax audit, the CRA will ask for you to submit certain receipts and records. Sometimes the submission of these documents will be enough, and other times an auditor will be sent out to complete a more thorough check. The audit may take place at a CRA office, or at your home.

Results of an Audit

Throughout the audit process, the auditor will openly identify any issues and discuss them with you. You are also welcome to raise any concerns you may have as well. At the end of an audit, one of three things will occur:

  • No adjustments will be made to your assessment
  • A reassessment will result in you owing more tax
  • A reassessment will result in you receiving a refund

Don’t Sweat It

Audits may seem like a scary process, but if your documentation is accurate and in order there shouldn’t be any major issues that come up. Most errors that arise are honest mistakes that are easily amended. The best thing you can do to prepare for an audit is to keep track of your records for a minimum of six years.

If you or your company is selected to undergo an audit, contact the experts at Liu & Associates. Our team will ensure that your rights are observed and work to minimize any consequences. We act as a buffer between you and the CRA to minimize the time and stress that is so commonly associated with an audit. Give us a call today!

When Do I Have to Submit My Corporate Taxes?

Canadian corporate tax filing deadline

It’s a common questions among new business owners: How soon after my business’ year end do I have to file my corporate taxes? Read on for Liu and Associates breakdown of Canadian corporate tax filing deadlines.

Canadian Corporate Tax Returns

The basic rule when it comes to filing your Canadian corporate tax return is that you must submit your return no later than six months after the end of your business’ tax year. This means that each business’s T2 return date will differ depending on their fiscal year end.

Example
If your business’ year end is September 30, your Canadian corporate tax return would be due by March 30.

What Happens If My Year End Lands in the Middle of the Month?

If your year end falls on say, September 16, your due date would be March 16. The six month rule applies just the same.

My Filing Deadline Falls on a Saturday – Now What?!

If your filing deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday, as long as you send your claim on the first business day after the filing deadline you’ll be safe from any penalties!

Note: If you’re hoping to receive a tax refund, you must file your return no later than three years after the end of a tax year.

Alberta Provincial Corporate Tax Returns

Alberta based businesses have to file a separate provincial corporate tax return because Alberta administers their own corporate tax collection. For more information, visit the Treasury Board and Finance website. While filing deadlines are similar to CRA requirements, it’s good to familiarize yourself with both systems to avoid any fines or penalties.

Don’t Leave It Up To Chance

If you are confused or have questions about your corporate tax filings, don’t wait to ask! The experts at Liu & Associates LLP offer corporate tax services to ensure everything is done right and on time. Call us today!

Year-End Tax Planning Strategies for Businesses

Hand with Scissors Cutting a Banner that says "Taxes"If you operate a small business or the finances of a larger organization, you may find tax season very frustrating. Each document can reveal missed financial opportunities or unnecessary costs that could make a crucial difference in these difficult economic times. Don’t get stuck in the same spot next year, consult Liu & Associates’ list below for some helpful tax planning tips to mitigate higher taxes for businesses.

EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY

Avoiding tax accounting software and computers is unnecessarily costs you or your business capital that would be better spent elsewhere. From labour costs to fees for late or inaccurate returns, there are incredible savings to be gained by employing affordable, professional computer programs. Not only is most software endorsed by financial experts, it can also catch trends and opportunities that human error might overlook.

USE A FAIL SAFE

Don’t leave your business’ tax return to the last minute or even in the hands of just one individual. Spreading out financial preparation over the year and having another set of eyes can help catch mistakes and potential areas of improvement. Your business may suffer if you fail to prepare for the worst– if you do, you can expect the best!

HIT THE BOOKS

You and your employees should be well acquainted with eligible tax savings and deductions. Being aware of these options early on can help avoid higher taxes than you need to pay. Don’t overlook the value of minor costs added up over time– travel, gas, accommodation, meals, entertainment and even office supplies can often be deducted by businesses and their employees.

FILING SYSTEMS ARE YOUR FRIEND

We’ve all seen the caricature of a small to medium business owner with an overstuffed shoe box of bills, receipts and invoices (not to mention the exasperated accountant)! There is a reason society makes of this situation– anyone with interest in furthering their business should be well on top of its finances. If you are naturally disorganized or easily overwhelmed, there is no better money spent than that which builds an error-free, easy-to-use filing system.

KEEP IT PROFESSIONAL

Never mix your business and personal accounts! This can create a quagmire of documents for you, your bookkeeper or your financial advisor. Clear business records will ensure you are taking advantage of every opportunity.

This list only covers a portion of the financial responsibilities of a business, but if you have any questions: Liu & Associates can help! Our staff is standing by to offer consultation and guidance to keep your business in the black all year round.

Income Tax Guide To Working from Home

an-edmonton-small-business-owner-working-on-a-laptop

 If your business operates out of your home or living space, you may be eligible for credits that can help reduce the taxes you owe each year. Canada Revenue Agency honours your home office or workspace, if you meet one of these two conditions (quoted from CRA’s website in italics):

  1. The workspace is where you mainly (more than 50% of the time) do your work.
  2. You use the workspace only to earn your employment income. You also have to use it on a regular and continuous basis for meeting clients, customers, or other people in the course of your employment duties.

Read on for a summary of tax credits and requirements for those that work from home.

 

DO I QUALIFY?

Along with the above CRA guidelines, you may be required to provide a form from your employer that specifies the need for you to work from home. Self-employed or small business tax returns generally do not require such a form.

 

WHAT CAN I CLAIM?

Income tax credits for a home office are very wide-ranging. Here are just a few of the deductible expenses that may be available to those that operate workspaces out of their home:

 

  • Home insurance
  • Property taxes
  • Utilities
  • Maintenance costs
  • Rent/mortgage payment
  • Housekeeping/cleaning costs

 

Depending on usage, some or all of these may be entitled to a full or partial tax credit. Examine your home expenses closely and get the best possible tax return.

 

HOW MUCH OF MY HOME IS CONSIDERED WORKSPACE?

CRA allows you to use a “reasonable basis” to determine the percentage of your home or living space that is used for your work. For example: in a five-bedroom home with one dedicated workspace, you are entitled to claim a fifth of your deductible expenses. Another example: you use an existing living space as a workspace for 12 hours of the day, so you are entitled to claim half of the expenses.

 

The above guidelines only address a portion of the requirements and credits for those that work out of their homes. For more details, consult the CRA website or your Liu & Associates financial expert. We can help ensure your home-based business will have a maximized tax return every year.