THE BENEFITS OF BEING SELF-EMPLOYED

Although there are many risks to being self-employed, it also comes with many benefits. We’re sure that you have already considered the risks – unstable income, lack of benefits, etc., but we want to reveal the extensive benefits that are available to help you self-identify if you are the right kind of person to pursue self-employment.

1: You gain much more control over your life

By being self-employed, you are able to decide your hours, what to wear, who you work with – everything. If you are an individual who craves freedom and is highly self-disciplined, this could be perfect for you. Furthermore, by having the flexibility to work when and how you want, it is likely that you will be able to work much more effectively compared to the situations that could be imposed on you by an employer. This also allows you to take time off easily, so that you are able to be there at all family events and unexpected emergencies.

2: You control your income – kind of.

In combination with being able to choose your own hours, you are also able to control your productivity, and hence your income. The harder you work, the more you are likely to earn – theoretically of course, it is not guaranteed. However, unlike working for an employer where you make a consistent salary, you are able to keep all of the profits from what you have accomplished. Furthermore, if you have a holiday coming up, you are able to control the amount of overtime and extra hours that you put into your work to make up for the lost income.

3: Great tax benefits

Individuals who are self-employed are able to deduct many expenses to lower their income and pay less income tax. Some examples of deductible expenses include: internet and phone bills, health insurance premiums, travel, vehicle use, and start-up costs. In fact, we think that this is such a great benefit that becoming self-employed is our TOP Tax-Saving Strategy (we made an entire webinar discussing it, you can watch it here)!!

4: It’s fulfilling

There is truly nothing like doing what you love and having full control over it. When you are self-employed, it is extremely gratifying to be able to see the results of your own hard-work and dedication. This gratification is additionally enhanced by the feeling that people are willing to pay for your skills/product! Furthermore, you get to decide your own mission and values for your work, rather than searching for an organization with a mission or values that align with your own.

If you’re interested in becoming self-employed, MrTaxes.ca is now franchising. Email us at help@mrtaxes.ca to learn more and sign up for our information session on November 23, 2019 here.

HOW TO SAVE TAXES USING THE HOME BUYERS’ PLAN (HBP)

WHAT IS THE HOME BUYERS’ PLAN?

The Home Buyers’ Plan is offered by the Canada Revenue Agency that allows individuals who are purchasing their home for the first time to withdraw $35,000 from their RRSP tax-free to help pay for the down payment on the home. For people who are purchasing their home with another first-time home buyer, they are both able to take advantage of this benefit to pool a total of $70,000 towards the down payment. Nevertheless, this arrangement is considered a loan from the RRSP and must be paid back within 15 years with the first payment due two years after the withdrawal.

DO I QUALIFY FOR THE HOME BUYERS’ PLAN?

To be eligible for the HBP, you must be considered a first-time home buyer and have a written agreement that you are buying or building the home for yourself. You also must intend to live in the qualifying home as your principal place of residence within a year of buying or building it.

If you are withdrawing from your RRSP to help a related person with a disability, you also need to have a written agreement to buy or build a home for them. In the case of using the HBP to help a disabled individual, the home must also better suit their needs compared to their current home.

WHO IS CONSIDERED A FIRST-TIME HOME BUYER?

To be considered a first-time home buyer, you must not have lived in a home owned by you or your spouse/common law for the past four years. Thus, it is possible that between you and your spouse, only one of you is considered a first-time home buyer. This also indicates that in rare circumstances, it is possible to benefit from the HBP more than once.

WHAT IF I HAVE CONTRIBUTION ROOM IN MY RRSP?

If you have contribution room in your RRSP and were planning on paying your down payment without using the HBP, you may want to reconsider. By depositing $35,000 (or whatever your contribution room allows) into your RRSP and leaving it there for 90 days, you can withdraw it for the HBP and receive the tax benefits for depositing it into your RRSP. This method allows you to receive even more money to put towards your home.

Overall, as house prices continue to increase, the HBP is a great way to generate enough wealth for the down payment. In fact, we think it’s such a great benefit that we did an entire webinar on how we think it is the Second-Best Tax-Saving Strategy ever – you can watch it here.  

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LIFE INSURANCE

WHAT IS LIFE INSURANCE?

A life insurance policy provides a designated beneficiary with a lump-sum, tax-free sum of money when you have passed away. There are two different types of life insurance – term and permanent.

Term life insurance provides the payout benefit if you die within a specific period of time or before a certain age. The premiums for the insurance are generally established for the term of the policy, and increase when/if you renew it, but are less expensive than permanent life insurance premiums when you first purchase it.

On the other hand, permanent life insurance pays the beneficiary no matter when you die and builds up cash value – this means that you can still get some cash back in the case that you cancel your policy. There are two kinds of permanent life insurance: whole life insurance and universal life insurance. Whole life insurance provides coverage for your entire lifetime, with constant premiums and have a guaranteed minimum cash value. Universal life insurance is a blend of life insurance and an investment account that can be withdrawn from. Learn more about the differences by setting up a no obligation quote at www.mrtaxes.ca/mrinsurance

WHY WOULD I NEED LIFE INSURANCE?

Although hard to think about, there are many things that will affect your loved ones financially after you pass. Some costs to consider include: funeral expenses, debt payments, providing for children/dependants, etc. Without a life insurance payout, the costs that you leave behind after your death may cause financial hardship on your loved ones. Even if this is not the case now, you may incur debts or have dependants in the future that you may want to leave money for.   

HOW DO I GET LIFE INSURANCE?
It is never too early or too late to get life insurance. Insurance policies are fulfilled by insurance companies, but can be made with insurance brokers or providers. These individuals can connect you with the best policies that include the amount of coverage and premiums that best support your needs and financial situation. For policies with over $1 million in coverage, you will likely need to take a medical test as part of the process of getting approved.

Did you know that our sister company, MrInsurance.ca, is an expert in the life insurance industry? We are able to connect you with the perfect policy and offer you a FREE financial review to assess your financial health. Sign up for a free consultation and no obligation quote here: http://www.mrtaxes.ca/mrinsurance-ca-quote/

IF YOU ARE INCORPORATED, YOU SHOULD HAVE AN ACCOUNTANT

We don’t mean to be biased because we are accountants, but it’s the truth.  If you have a car, you hire a mechanic. If you have teeth problems, you see a dentist. Likewise, business owners should hire an accountant to help with their bookkeeping and tax work. Here is why:

1: You are busy enough as it is.

Let’s face it, you should be spending time growing your business–not learning things you can hire out.  Your time is valuable. You don’t have the time to understand all the corporate tax laws that exist and choose an adequate bookkeeping/tax filing software, much less learn how to use it. Your time is much better used to work on your business and to grow your profits rather than analyzing them. By hiring an accountant, you do not need to worry about keeping up to date on the Income Tax Act or spending money eventually to fix  your errors.

2: Without an accountant, you could be paying much more tax than you need to be.

Accountants are experts in identifying areas where you could be claiming deductions or credits that you are likely to miss if you are inexperienced in filing taxes. Moreover, by having an accountant throughout the year, they can guide you in making certain decisions to maximize your deductions and develop a strategy. They are also likely to be much more up to date on changes and new benefits that you could take advantage of.

3: You may run a higher risk of failing an audit. 

If you are selected for a tax audit, it is a lot of work and stress. Thus, it is a better idea to aim to avoid one altogether, which an accountant can help you do. Audits can be triggered by many things, and accountants can help to ensure that those red flags do not appear on your tax return. Furthermore, as they are fully knowledgeable on tax regulations, it will decrease your risk of being audited due to failure to follow the rules. Overall, an accountant will be able to educate you on the best practices to avoid audits as well as help you through them in the case that you need to complete one.   You don’t want to fail an audit. It can be very costly and that does not include the opportunity cost.

4: It helps to ensure the longevity of the business.

A key role of accountants is to create risk analysis tools to help you evaluate various business risks and opportunities. By having an individual on the team who has this expertise, you significantly decrease the risk of having the business fail due to poor financial management. Furthermore, the financial analysis tools used by accountants allow them to create high-quality forecasts and budgets, so that your finances are managed effectively, even for simple day-to-day operations. Considering that many businesses fail due to lack of planning and capital management, the role of an accountant is greatly valuable.

As you can see, accountants can provide value to your business beyond simple bookkeeping. It is a good idea to hire an accountant early on, so that they become familiar with your business before it becomes overwhelming. Besides accounting there are three other areas of financial planning for your business.  We will discuss these in further detail in further blogs. These include insurance, investments and financing or mortgages.  At MrTaxes.ca, we offer corporate accounting services – set up a free phone consultation with us at: www.MrTaxes.ca/meeting to learn more!

YOUR GUIDE TO TAX-FREE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS

WHAT IS A TAX-FREE SAVINGS ACCOUNT (TFSA)?

Starting at the age of 18, all Canadians with a valid SIN number can open and contribute to a TFSA. Any amount added to the account and income gained is tax-free, but contributions are not income tax deductible (unlike RRSPs). Each year that the individual is eligible to contribute, there is a specified limit (in 2019, the limit is $6,000) and will be accumulated if you have remaining contribution room from previous years. If you contribute more than the limit, a tax will apply. The types of investments that are allowed in a TFSA is similar to an RRSP: cash, mutual funds, securities, guaranteed investment certificates, bonds, and certain shares of small business corporations.

HOW DO I OPEN A TFSA?

Banks, insurance companies and independent companies like MrInvestments.ca can all help you set up your TFSA. There are a few different kinds of accounts that you can set up: a deposit, an annuity contract, an arrangement in trust, or a self-directed TFSA where you manage your own investment portfolio. Interest rates and plans vary based on the issuer, so we recommend that you conduct some research to figure out which one is most suitable for your needs.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF OPENING A TFSA?

The main benefit is probably quite obvious – no tax on income earned within the account! This includes interest, capital gains, and/or dividends. Furthermore, unlike RRSPs, you can withdraw any amount from your TFSA at any time with no tax consequences, but you cannot re-invest it in the same year if you have already hit the contribution limit (the amount withdrawn will be added to the contribution room of the following year). If you are looking to withdraw money to invest it in a different issuer, you should ask your issuer to do it for you so that this reinvestment rule does not apply. Finally, your income-based benefits and credits will not be reduced due to income earned within your TFSA.

If you are interested in learning more, or about finding other ways that you can be saving tax on your earnings, book a free consultation with us at: www.MrTaxes.ca/meeting

HOW DO YOU RUN A SUCCESSFUL FRANCHISE?

You finally made up your mind. You’re going to enter a franchising agreement and own your own business. But that is a lot to take on, and you’re probably going to doubt yourself. Several times. But you can relax, as we have compiled the best advice to ensure that your franchise business is successful.

1: Make sure you’re going into it for the right reasons.

Although you may be licensing a well-known and successful brand, running a franchise is going to be extremely hard work and you are unlikely to see profit right away. You must first be certain that you are ready to take on the responsibility and are truly enthusiastic about the product or service that you are offering. If you are going into this deal for financial reasons, it may be best to re-evaluate your decision.

2: Ensure you have the financial means to run a franchise.

You often have to invest a significant amount to start your franchise initially due to licensing fees, real estate, and other expenses depending on the franchisor. In fact, this initial start-up fee can range anywhere from $2,000 to over $2,000,000. Before you enter the agreement, make sure you are clear about all initial expenses and that it is within your budget. As mentioned, it is unlikely that you will see profit right away, so you need to be sure that you are not putting immense financial strain on yourself due to unaffordable start-up costs.

3: Hire smart.

Although it may not seem like it, your employees are the foundation of your success. If you do not hire the right people when you start, it can jeopardize your entire business by ruining your reputation or causing the business to move in the wrong direction. You also need to recognize where you are lacking and hire professional help from the start. For example, if you are unfamiliar with finances, hire an accountant to help you with them, do not wait until it is unavoidable.

4: Do marketing. A lot of it.

Even if the brand is widely known, you cannot overlook marketing, as you must inform the public that a new location is opening. This is even more important if the brand is not easily recognizable and potential consumers do not know what your business is offering. Create excitement for the opening of your franchise and build your presence in the area.

5: Understand your industry and your competitors comprehensively.

Like any business, you need to analyze your company’s strengths and weaknesses against your competitors and form your strategy accordingly. This will be a lot easier for an established brand as the franchisor will likely guide you in the formation of a strategy, but the competitive landscape can change greatly depending on the location of your business. You also need to be aware of consumer tastes and the directions of which they are changing, so that you are able to change/promote your offerings correspondingly.

Overall, there is unfortunately no amount of advice that we could give you to guarantee that your franchise will be successful. Most lessons about running a successful business are taught through experience, so you are going to need to take chances and grasp opportunities. Nonetheless, we believe that our advice provides you with a decent foundation.

Are you an accountant or tax preparer who has always dreamed of doing more? We have the perfect opportunity for you. MrTaxes.ca has officially opened applications for our franchising program and we would love for you to join us. Learn more here: www.MrTaxes.ca/franchising