Tips to help small Canadian businesses get through tax season.
We all have our favourite seasons, but the one that most people seem to dread most is tax season. For small businesses, tax time usually means a lot of work and extra hours spent trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do, adding to the stress you already feel. Am I up to date on my bookkeeping? What if I get audited? How do I make sure I am in compliance? But with thoughtful planning and careful execution, tax season will be much easier to get through.
If you decide to build a home, your first step isn’t to start nailing lumber and sheetrock together. Before any of that even happens, you need to start researching. Where do I want to build my house? What kind of house can I afford? How many bedrooms do I need?
The same thought process applies when you prepare to file your taxes. You shouldn’t just pick any form and start filling it in. Due diligence is required to ensure that you’re proceeding correctly. The more research you do upfront, the easier the process will be. Consider the following as you start your research phase1:
- Am I up to speed on the latest definitions and changes in tax rules?
- What kind of provincial or federal tax credits is my business eligible for?
- What part(s) of my business qualifies for deductions?
- Will I have the necessary documents in place should I be audited?
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to build a plan (much like you would start building a blueprint for your home). The planning phase is important to help keep you organized and on track to tax filing success. Below are some of the information you need to gather:
- Deadlines – make sure you are aware of your tax filing deadline as the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will assess late fees. Late filers are forced to pay an extra 5% on the balance owing, plus 1% of the balance owing for each full month that your return is late to a maximum of 12 months 2.
- Record keeping – The CRA requires that you keep records for your income tax, payroll, and GST/HST remittance at a minimum. To make sure you are fully prepared should you be audited, be sure to also include:
- Employee records
- Equipment and supply inventory
- Long-term documents that impact your business such as property documents and estate records
- Forms – Know what forms apply to your small business. This will depend on what kind of business you operate (sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation) and your business activities. Check out the CRA website to familiarize yourself with the your federal obligations.
With the research and planning phases complete, it’s time to execute and file your taxes (to complete the analogy, this is where you start building your home). Be sure to follow your plan so that you remember everything, but allow for some flexibility as unexpected new rules may pop up along the way. Once complete, some small business owners may be totally comfortable filing their own taxes. With some careful planning and research, you can breathe a little easier this tax season.
Obligations as an Employer
Tax time for your business will involve income tax, payroll, and GST/HST. If you’re not ready (or don’t have the time!) to take on all of that yourself, Ceridian can help you to meet your payroll reporting obligations. Thousands of small business owners look to Ceridian to make tax season easier to get through. Ceridian Powerpay not only helps you eliminate the hassle, risk, and worry of payroll as part of your tax preparation, it can also help you with:
- Year-end processing & tax form production
- Records of Employment (ROE) generation
- Statutory & non-statutory deductions
- Garnishee processing
- Data exchanges to automatically send employee data to several recognized insurance and investment programs
And best of all, with unlimited support by our trained payroll experts, you can get back valuable time in your day and focus on what you do best.
2Canada Revenue Agency – http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/t4012/t4012-02-e.html