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 Universal life insurance is a blend of life insurance and an investment account that can be withdrawn from.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 

WHY IS FINANCIAL PLANNING CRITICAL. REALLY?

WHAT IS FINANCIAL PLANNING?

Financial planning involves looking at your current and projected future income in combination with your current and future financial goals to develop a strategy to effectively allocate your cash flows. This plan incorporates your financial goals, retirement strategy, long-term investment plan, estate plan, and risk-management plan. Although many of these aspects may sound very distant, there are many reasons why having a financial plan Is imperative.

  1. You never know what could happen
    Unfortunately, the future is vastly unknown and not having a proper financial plan can put you in a very difficult financial position when emergencies occur. This is particularly important because during times of emergency, you will have many other things to worry about, so it is important that your money isn’t one of them. Furthermore, having a financial plan ensures that your family will be financially stable in the case that you pass away unexpectedly.
     
  2. You will be much more financially secure
    You know what they say, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. By having a financial plan, you will be well prepared to pay for your tuition if you have children, have an idea of when you will be able to retire and know how to allocate your earnings to meet your financial goals. Your financial plan will provide you with a sense of security, as it guides you on the path to meeting your goals, while providing peace of mind for your family as well.

  3. Having clear goals and strategies make it infinitely easier to save
    It is difficult to save without knowing exactly what you’re saving for. Having a financial plan uses your long-term financial goals to set short-term, reachable goals for saving. Furthermore, by creating your financial plan with a financial advisor, they will provide you with advice and specific numbers for effective saving, and may refer you to an investment advisor to help reach your investment goals as well.

  4. Set a good example for your children
    Having a financial plan will educate your children about the importance of having a plan for themselves as well. Teaching them from a young age about the importance of having and taking steps towards financial goals ensures that they will be well-equipped to reach financial stability in the future. Furthermore, showing them the importance of having a plan in general is greatly valuable and will help them in various aspects of life.

But we get it. Creating a financial plan can seem overwhelming and tedious – so we’re here for you. We can help you create a financial plan to reach your goals. Sign up a no obligation meeting now at www.MrTaxes.ca/meeting

FIVE OF OUR FAVOURITE WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR SAVINGS

We all want to increase our wealth, yet somehow giving up lattes and eating out never seems to last more than a month. Eventually we realize that the saving tips provided by endless books and websites are simply ineffective and we revert to our old ways of spending. Don’t give up yet – we have compiled our top five ways to actually increase your savings.

1: Use various credit cards for different circumstances

Be careful. We are not saying that you should hold multiple credit cards so that you can spend more. But rather, different credit cards come with different benefits and cash-back rates, so you should take advantage of them accordingly. For example, the Simplii Cash Back Visa offers 4% cash back on restaurant transactions, but only 0.5% on other payments, while the Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite offers 4% on groceries. By using different credit cards to maximize your cash back, you are saving money on everyday purchases that you would have been making anyway.

2: Don’t pay more taxes than you need to

At MrTaxes.ca, it Is our mission to allow each Canadian to pay the least amount of tax by law, and after doing this for over 30 years, we’d say we’re pretty good at it. We also offer a FREE 10-Year Tax Review service, where we analyze your tax returns from the past ten years to uncover any credits that you may have missed to get the money back into your pocket. You can take advantage of this great service here.

3: Buy your gifts in advance

We’ve all been there. It’s the day before or even the day of the celebration where a gift is required, and in your panic, you spend more on a gift than you would have if you had been more prepared, to avoid showing up empty-handed. Although it is difficult to prioritize buying a gift, it is highly beneficial to keep an eye out for sales or deals going on at places where the recipient may enjoy receiving something from. You should also try getting your Christmas shopping done during Black Friday sales – don’t worry, you will not need to join the crowds if that’s not something you enjoy, most Black Friday sales now run through the weekend as well!

4: Drink at home

If you enjoy having a drink at restaurants, consider inviting a friend over and having it at home instead. Ordering drinks at a restaurant can increase your bill exponentially, and they are often very watered down! According to The Motley Fool, drinks at restaurants are marked up an average of 20-30%!

5: Unsubscribe from marketing emails

Marketing email campaigns are only getting better and smarter at identifying products you like and convincing you to buy them. Thus, the best way to avoid falling under their spell is to stop receiving their messages entirely by unsubscribing to their emails. This way, you will not be swayed by the personalized product recommendations, promotions, or new arrival notifications. However, we recommend staying subscribed to email flyers from organizations that you cannot avoid purchasing from, such as grocery stores, so you can compare pricing and ensure that you are getting the best deal possible for your necessities. (note: our emails are always trying to help increase your wealth so it is a good idea to subscribe to them!!)

Overall, the best strategy for saving is to identify your why. It is incredibly difficult to be successful in saving without knowing why or what it is that you are saving for. Once you have recognized why you are taking these measures to save, it will become much easier.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO WORK IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY WITHOUT A DEGREE?

The short answer? Absolutely. Having not gone to college at all, the founder of MrTaxes.ca Inc. is living proof of it himself. Unless you are interested in positions like Chief Financial Officer, Finance Director, or Accounting Manager, there are several great opportunities available for candidates without an accounting degree or professional designation.

WHAT CAREERS ARE THERE, EXACTLY?

  1. Tax Preparer: you do not need a degree, but filing taxes can be daunting if you have minimal experience, so it is highly beneficial to obtain some education in tax preparing. If you are interested in becoming a tax preparer, we highly recommend becoming a Certified Tax Preparer by completing the www.CTPCanada.ca course. This online course has been certified by the Government of Canada and only costs $599.00 to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of tax filing in Canada. As a tax preparer, you will be responsible for filing personal and/or corporate taxes, GST and other filings and connecting with clients throughout the process. Common traits of a successful tax preparer include being meticulous and accurate in their work while keeping up with changes in taxation laws. 

  2. Bookkeeper: the bookkeeper is responsible for recording all the transactions made by the company into their general ledger, which is often done through software. These transactions include both expenses and income, and it is imperative that the data is entered accurately. Bookkeepers are often also responsible for using this information to prepare financial statements, such as the income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement and statement of changes in equity.

  3. Mortgage Broker: although you do not need a degree, you will need to get your mortgage license. In British Columbia, this is done by completing the Mortgage Brokerage in British Columbia course at the University of British Columbia. As a mortgage broker, your role is to connect clients who are looking to get a mortgage with the most suitable mortgage lenders for that client. You apply for the loan on your client’s behalf by gathering and submitting the required documents.

  4. Insurance Broker: similar to becoming a mortgage broker, you need to be licensed. To obtain a license in British Columbia, you must pass the Fundamentals of Insurance exam or the Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker 1 (CAIB 1) exam and then the LLQP qualifying exam, administered by the Insurance Brokers Association of British Columbia (IBABC). As an insurance broker, you assess the insurance needs of your client and connect them with insurers that provide coverage and rates that best suit the client. Successful insurance brokers possess excellent interpersonal and customer service skills to sell plans and maintain long-term relationships with the client.

WHAT NEXT?

Our list is definitely not exhaustive, as there are many more opportunities out there that do not require a degree. If you are interested in working with a leading financial services company, we would love to hear from you – whether you have a degree or not! Check out www.MrTaxes.ca/opportunity for our current openings.

WHAT IS CRA MY ACCOUNT AND WHY YOU SHOULD GET ONE

We get it. You already have so many online accounts and you can barely remember the passwords to any of them. Or maybe you think that anything that has to do with your financials should remain strictly offline for the sake of confidentiality. Regardless of your reasoning, we advise you to register for a Canada Revenue Agency My Account.

WHAT IS MY ACCOUNT?

My Account is a secure, online portal offered by the Government of Canada that allows you to access your income and benefit information. This includes all of your income statements, notices of assessment, RRSP and TFSA information, and much more. You can also use My Account to complete tasks such as tracking your refund, setting up direct deposit, and updating your address. Overall, registering for My Account provides you with rapid access to valuable information and functions.

STILL NOT CONVINCED?

Here are some more reasons why you should register:

  1. See your documents right away once they have been processed, rather than waiting for them to come in the mail – this also saves the environment!
  2. Update your information online rather than waiting on hold on the phone (for up to an hour!!) or mailing it
  3. You never know when you may need the documents available on My Account – i.e.: proof of income documents are often needed for mortgage applications
  4. You can claim deductions and credits that you missed from as far back as 10 years, so it is highly valuable to review your documents!

HOW DO I REGISTER?

The final reason for registration (as if you needed another one) is that it is incredibly simple. To start your registration, click here. All you need is:

  • Your Social Insurance Number
  • Your date of birth
  • Your current postal code
  • Your current/previous year tax return (will request information from a specific line)

That’s it! After initial registration, you will gain access to a limited array of services until you receive your security code in the mail, which generally takes between 5-10 business days. For a full list of services, click here. You have now successfully made your life easier for a long time to come.

If you are needing these documents for your clients you can share this post or use a service that we provide at www.MrTaxes.ca/poi to obtain documents for clients within 24 business hours. Ask about our referral program.