Newcomer to Canada? 5 Essentials Reasons To File

5 Reasons To File Your Tax Return

Are you a newcomer to Canada? Confused by whether you need to file a tax return? Here are 5 great reasons to file your tax return in Canada as soon as possible.

1. GST/HST tax credit application

One of the lesser known facts about filing a tax return, is that it also doubles up as an application for the GST/HST tax credit.

Essentially, this is a free tax credit for low to middle income earning individuals or households, with the majority of newcomers to Canada qualifying for this tax credit payment. This is paid on a quarterly basis, with the earlier you are able to file your tax return, the sooner you will start receiving these payments.

If your household (or as a single individual) you earn $44,000 per year or under, you are almost definitely eligible to receive this tax credit, with the average quarterly payment being $105 every three months.

Certainly a good reason to file your Canadian tax return, even if you aren’t due a large return, or are required to pay a small amount of tax.

2. Working Income Tax Benefit

Along with the GST/HST tax credit application, certain individuals may be entitled to the Working Income Tax Benefit, which can greatly increase your entitled refund amount. A tax professional will know whether you are able to claim this benefit or not, with their being a number of criteria that must be met.

3. Refund

The main reason that many people file their tax returns in Vancouver, Burnaby, Calgary and all across Canada, is due to the potential refund. Being a newcomer to Canada (including those on Canadian IEC visas – International Experience Canada) you are highly likely to receive a refund in your first year.

If you aren’t sure, we can provide a free and no obligation quote. Simply send us your T4 (summary of earnings), along with the dates you entered Canada and we’ll have a quote to you shortly.

It is not uncommon for newcomers to Canada to be eligible for a return that could be several hundred dollars, or even reaching one or two thousand, depending on how much was earned and the tax already paid.

4. Prerequisite for your permanent residency application

With the streamlining of PR applications, an increasing amount of people are being caught out with not having their taxes up to date and filed.

This can lead to a delay in applying for your permanent residency, with proof of tax filing often required before you can submit your full application. While we can process tax returns within 24 hours of receiving all information, CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) can take several weeks to process the return on their end and issue your notice of assessment, potentially delaying your application by a considerable amount of time.

5. Mortgage requirements

Even though you are a newcomer to Canada, you might be in the hunt for a property of your own. If so, having your taxes up to date and current is essential for gaining a mortgage. Similar to the delay in PR applications mentioned above, your mortgage application might be on hold until you are able to provide a notice of assessment for the prior years.

Rounding up

Along with these great reasons to file your Canadian tax return, you are legally obligated to file if you have to pay tax in that tax year. Additionally, you must also file a return if you want to submit for a tax refund or rebate.

You can get a free and no obligation quote by simply providing your T4 (summary of earnings) and sending it to us with your date of entry and exit to Canada (if applicable), so what have you got to lose?

Tips For Filing Your First Canadian Self-Employed Tax Return

First time filing self-employed tax return

Tips For Filing Your First Canadian Self-Employed Tax Return

Whether you are a newcomer to Canada, or are filing a self-employed tax return for the first time and need some help and advice, we have some pointers for you.

Firstly, it is essential to fully research your self-employed tax return before filing, as this can be the difference between you owing a small amount of money, compared to a large balance owing.

Tip 1: Understanding your eligible expenses

One of the most critical points of doing a self-employed tax return, is understanding what expenses you are eligible to claim.

There is no quick way to establish your eligible expenses, with the two main options either being to take the time to thoroughly research what areas you are able to claim, such as office use of your home, vehicle use and supplies, or using an experienced tax return company.

The other option would be to use a professional tax return company to help file your self-employed tax return, in order to find out the most effective way of utilizing your expenses and reduce your amount payable. Failure to apply all available expenses can result in you owing a substantially larger amount of tax to CRA, in excess of what you should be paying.

Tip 2: Claiming capital cost allowance (CCA)

Following on from eligible expenses, capital cost allowance is perhaps the most important area to understand, in order to get the best result possible with your Canadian self-employed tax return.

Capital cost allowance (CCA) refers to assets that were purchased in order to help carry out your business or self-employed work activities, and can be claimed on your tax return. This can be carried forwarded to future years, for the financial life of the asset.

The purchase of a work laptop, for example, can be used in a number of subsequent years when filing a tax return, once the depreciation of it has been applied. This can help greatly reduce the amount of your tax payable and is a necessity for getting the best result possible.

Tip 3: Importance of invoicing

If you fail to report income, whether this is deliberately or non-deliberately, you can be hit with a 20% penalty for your undeclared amount. This can add up to a huge sum of money, making invoicing and declaring earnings very important.

One of the best ways to remain compliant, is to ensure you are keeping a tidy invoicing schedule, along with a suitable track of your earnings.

Tip 4: Understand GST (goods and service tax)

Depending on the service that you offer, along with the amount of income you earn, or are expecting to earn, will determine if you need to be charging GST.

GST is a 5% goods and service tax that is added to your invoiced subtotal, with your total amount from the year being required to be remitted to CRA. For those who expect to be earning over $30,000 a year, a GST number is a requirement. Failing to charge your clients GST can result in CRA forcing you to pay this amount yourself. This can be a very costly mistake to make, so ensure you are in the know with your GST obligations.

In addition to providing self-employed tax return services, we also provide a GST filing service, to assist with your GST remittance obligations. Please note GST remittance is entirely separate from your tax return, and for this service we charge a very reasonable $30 per year, if applicable to you.

Getting professional insight and advice with your self-employed tax return

Filing a self-employed tax return for the first time in Canada, can be a daunting experience.

We offer a free consultation for any self-employed or contractors that are filing their Canadian tax return, whether this is their first year or not. If you wish to file we charge a flat fee of $150, with no hidden charges or fees.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in contact with the team today, and we’ll do our best to assist.

Not filed your 2016 tax return? It’s not too late

Have you filed your 2016 tax return in Canada? If not, it’s not too late to file.

While the official deadline from CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) was 1st May 2017, if you are due a tax refund there are no penalties for filing late.

Not sure if you are due a refund? Email us your T4 and we can provide a free tax quote with no obligation to file.

What if I don’t have my T4?

If you don’t have your T4 then worry not, as we can still file your return. This will mean, however, that we won’t be able to provide an exact estimate of what your return will be.

How do I know if I’m due a tax refund for 2016, or another year?

If you are unsure if you are due a tax refund or not, why not take advantage of our free Canadian tax quote service that we offer. Simply send us an email with your T4 (summary of earnings) from each of your job positions and let us do the rest.

Additionally, you can can also file a tax return for any other year that you have worked in Canada. Even if this is only for a short period, you are likely due a refund for that year.

How much will filing my tax return cost?

Once we provide you with your free tax quote for 2016, it is then your decision if you wish to file with us. If you do, we charge a flat $40 fee for filing, though there is no obligation at any stage if you don’t wish to continue.

I’ve left the country, can I still file?

If you have left Canada and still need to file your Canadian taxes, you can certainly still file. Even without a Canadian bank account or address to use, we can organize a cheque to be sent to your address overseas.

Further questions?

If you have any unaswered questions then don’t hestitate to get in contact with us. We don’t bite, promise.

When is the deadline for filing a 2016 self-employed tax return?

When is the deadline for filing a 2016 self-employed tax return?
When filing a Canadian 2016 self-employed or contractor tax return, the filing deadline is June 15th 2017, or you may have to pay a late filing fee, which we will explain later.

Additionally, if you have tax owing, you will need to pay this amount by May 1st 2017. If you have missed the deadline then fear not, as the earlier you are able to file your 2016 self-employed tax return, the lower your late filing fee will be, along with less interest on the amount owing.

Self-employed tax return rebates/refunds

There are also cases where a self-employed tax return can actually provide a tax refund for the year. This is particularly common if you have supplementary T4 (employed) income, or if you have low self-employed income for the year.

Late filing penalty

After June 15th 2017, CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) advise they can enforce a late filing penalty of 5% of your 2016 balance owing. Additionally 1% of your balance owing for each month can also be charged, for each month that it was filed late, up until a maximum of 12 months.

Interest

If you have a balance owing for 2016, it will accumulate compound daily interest of 5% charged against it. This starts from the 1st of May 2017, which means the earlier you are able to file than the lower the amount required to pay.

Get a free quote

The best method is to get your self-employed tax return completed as soon as possible.

If you need to file your self-employed 2016 Canadian tax return, drop us an email for a free quote and consultation. Send us through your self-employed income for 2016, along with any expenses you have on file, and we can help assist from there.

Contractor Or Self-Employed? How To Avoid A Hefty Tax Bill

Are You A Contractor Or Self-Employed? How To Avoid A Hefty Tax Bill

If you are not receiving a pay cheque showing income tax deductions, the chances are that you are building up a hefty income tax bill.

There is an increasingly common practice among certain small businesses, particularly within the construction sector, where they pay employees directly with a cheque or bank transfer, without first deducting tax contributions.

This is entirely legal, however, employees are often left in the dark when it comes to their tax responsibilities, therefore not putting aside a percentage of their pay cheque to cover their income tax at the end of the year.

Unfortunately, we have seen this scenario on a number of occasions, where workers have unwittingly been left with a large income tax bill. This can often coincide with the expensive process of applying for permanent residency in Canada, leaving them in a tough spot.

Here are some tips to help avoid being stuck with a hefty income tax bill, if you are being paid on a contractor or self-employed basis.

Tip 1: Find out your tax status

If you are unsure whether you are being paid on a contractor / self-employed basis, the first thing is to find out.

You can ask your employer directly, or the more reliable method is to request your detailed pay stub or summary of earnings. On this it should outline your income tax contributions, along with CPP, EI and other potential contributions, such as union dues.

If you’re still unsure, drop us a message and we can help provide assistance.

Tip 2: Request being put on the payroll

If you discover that you are being paid as a contractor, you can request that your employer pays you through payroll, with income tax, CPP and EI starting to automatically be deducted from your pay cheques.

Tip 3: Save a certain percentage of earnings

If your employer refuses to switch you to being paid through the method above, or you wish to remain on a contractor and self-employed basis, you can prepare for your tax bill by putting away a certain percentage of your earnings into a savings account.

Information regarding how much tax you are required to pay can be found on the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) website, where it differs from province to province and depends on your tax bracket. More information on this is available on the CRA website: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/fq/txrts-eng.html

Alternatively, feel free to contact us and we can help provide guidance on the amount of money you should be saving for your income tax bill.

Tip 4: Be aware of expenses you can claim

One of the benefits of being on a contractor / self-employed basis, is that it allows you to claim on a number of expenses, which you wouldn’t have been able to as a normal payroll employee.

This can drastically reduce your taxable earnings, meaning less tax for you to pay. There is a huge variety of expenses that can be claimed, such as vehicle use, phone bills and a certain portion of rent and hydro.

Tip 5: Hold onto receipts

Finally, don’t forget to hold onto your receipts, as CRA can audit your tax return at any time. If you are claiming expenses for a new car or laptop that you have bought, for example, ensure you keep the receipts to help lower your income tax bill.

For more information on contractor and self-employed tax returns drop us an email, we’re more than happy to help.

Top 3 Money Saving Tax Tips For Actors

Top 3 Money Saving Tax Tips For Actors

top 3 money tax tips

Are you earning money in Canada as an actor? If so, you are likely being paid on a self-employed basis, in which case you are required to fill in a self-employed tax return.

While this requires you to pay tax on your earnings, there are a number of money saving tax tips to help reduce your tax bill, along with reducing the chances of being audited by CRA (Canada Revenue Agency)

Tip 1: Work-space-in-the-home expenses

One of the most important and useful money saying tax tips is claiming on work space in the home, as part of your expenses as an actor.

While this isn’t applicable for everyone, depending on your circumstances, it potentially allows you to claim back part of your living expenses, such as rent, electricity, insurance and a number of other costs.

Ensuring you cover all of your work space expenses is crucial in getting the lowest tax bill possible, or you could miss out on potentially hundreds or thousands in unclaimed expenses.

Tip 2: Motor vehicle expenses

As an actor, you are likely to get around the place, figuratively. Therefore, ensuring you are claiming back your permitted motor vehicle expenses can help massively reduce your tax bill.

You can claim back on a whole host of motor vehicle expenses, such as insurance, repairs and even fuel costs that were used for work-related purposes. A drivers log is an essential item to keep maintained for this expense claim, so speak to us and we can help advise how to create and maintain one, as this is a regular area where CRA will audit your return.

Tip 3: Capital cost allowance expenses

One of the easily missed expenses, though hugely important for reducing your tax bill, is capital cost allowance, particularly carrying over prior years assets to the current year’s tax return.

Assets that were purchased for work-related reasons can be claimed back on your tax return for the entire duration of the asset’s financial lifespan. This is often missed or forgotten when lodging tax returns, though can make a huge different to the overall amount of tax you are required to pay.

If you purchased a laptop, for example, this can be claimed back on each subsequent years’ tax return, as long as the depreciation is correctly considered and applied.

Help with your self-employed tax return

If you are unsure on how or what you can apply to your tax return, or whether you are getting the most out of your situation, why not get in contact for a free consultation with one of the team at JacksTaxBack.com today.

Our self-employed tax returns are completed for a flat $150 fee, with no hidden charges or additional fees. Tax doesn’t have to be a taxing experience, after all.

3 Easy Steps For Filing Your 2016 Tax Return

Are you ready for the new tax return season?

Tax season is just around the corner, but are you ready to file your Canadian tax return for 2016?

Filing your tax return, especially if you are a student, overseas or temporary worker in Canada can be a daunting process at first, though it’s really quite simple. Here is how to get yourself through tax season in these three easy steps.

Step 1: Request your T4

Employers are obligated to provide your T4 (which is a summary of your earnings) at the end of February, though many of them will provide it before this date, especially if you request it. You will need a T4 from every job that you worked during 2016.

Step 2: Send us a copy of your T4

In either scanning or taking a photo of your T4 (or T4s), email this through to us and we can get a free tax return quote to you right away. We also request that you provide the dates you entered or exited Canada (if applicable), as this can significantly affect your return.

Step 3: Expenses and credits

Once you have sent a photo or scan of your T4 (or T4s) to one of our team, they will be in touch shortly to complete the tax return process. This includes adding any tax credits you qualify for, while also seeing if you are eligible to claim a number of different expenses, such as transit fares and medical costs.

Once we have all of the necessary information, we can file your return within 24 hours at our flat rate of $40. No hidden fees or nasty surprises. How is that for service? Tax doesn’t have to be taxing, after all.

Happy tax season from the JacksTaxBack team – we hope to hear from you soon.

Now Partnering Whistler Lotto

JacksTaxBack are pleased to announce our official partnership with the fine folk over at Whister Lotto.

whisterlotto

If you are living in Whistler and want to support some fantastic organizations, while also having the chance to win a cash jackpot or free tax return, then check out Whistler Lotto.

It only costs a toonie to enter, and if you aren’t fortunate enough to win the first prize cash draw then you may be luckier with second prize, which is a free personal tax return and two 50% vouchers to pass on to friends and family.

The draws are every Tuesday at 6pm, with a couple of different locations available in Whistler where you can enter. We look forward to helping Whistler Lotto and their charitable partners continue doing great work in the community.

For more information, check out the Whistler Lotto for more details.

Returned home from Canada? You can still file a tax return

Returned home from Canada? The good news is that you can still file a tax return, even from outside of the country.

If you have returned home from Canada and not claimed your tax back for 2015, or any year that you worked during your time in the country, then the chances are that you are due a large tax rebate.

Filing is simple and only requires a copy or photo of a T4 from each job that you held. T4s can be obtained by contacting your employer, so send them over to us once you have them and we’ll get you a free quote.

If you like the quote then we will file for $40. How is easy is that?

Our average tax return for 2015 was $800, so make sure you don’t miss out on any money that is owed to you. Tax doesn’t have to be taxing, so get in contact with us today!

(Note: If you are missing any documents or information then speak to us and we can help assist you with retrieving them.)