Tax Tips for Canadian Freelancers

It is almost tax time for Canadian tax filers but did you know Canadians who are self-employed receive an extra six weeks to file within. Your documents are due June 25th, however, if you owe the tax man the interest on payments starts on May 1st this year. So what tax tips do I have for freelancers who may have just started living the gig lifestyle or just started working for themselves?

Keep Accurate Records

Can I confess something? The first few years I had my blog I kept no records, but that is ok because I earned no revenue from my blog. It was a passion project, a hobby. Once it became an income earning blog it was important to have accurate records of payments, gifts received and expenses.  It was and is important to keep accurate records for seven years.

Declare It

I know many freelancers who “forget” income. Did you get paid with a gift card my blogger friends? That counts as income? Did you receive product for writing a review, that is income? Are you earning money from a side hustle while working a full-time job? You have to declare that as well.

Expense It

When you start working for yourself, you quickly learn how many things you can now expense. Your home office becomes an expense, that laptop you just bought, your cell phone that you are using for your business is an expense, those new daycare toys, those new tools. The list goes on.

Some of my favourite write-offs include:

  • Transportation to and from gigs, conferences, or seeing clients.
  • Reasonable food, beverages, and entertainment expenses. (Food bloggers love this one.)
  • Learning( take a course, you can write it off if it relates to learning skills you need for what you do.)
  • The Home Office ( take the square footage of your office space divided by the total square footage of your home to calculate the part you can deduct)
  • Car Expenses( use your car for what you do, keep logs and repair receipts)

These are just a few of the things you can claim as a freelancer if you have the receipts, that is why it is so important to keep careful accurate files.

Save It

You should be saving some for the tax man. You definitely do not want to be left owing the tax man. I recommend saving at least 30% of your income for CPP and taxes.

File It Yourself

Even a busy small business owner can file their taxes themselves with the ease of the TurboTax Home & Business software. Your personal tax return and your business return are one and the same. Remember you do have to fill out a Statement of Business Activities.  One return will cover your entire life and that is a good thing!

If you would like more tax tips for the Canadian freelancer or small business owner, check out the TurboTax Canada blog

Win

Leave a blog post with your tax tip for freelancers and you can win a copy of TurboTax. There are 5 copies to win!

* Giveaway is open to Canadian tax filers and the giveaway closes April 25th at 12:00 am.

 

 

 

Why 2017 is the Year of the Rewards Credit Card in Canada

There is a war going on. It is a war for your loyalty and spending dollars. Credit card providers want your business and they are going to extremes to get you to become loyal to them.

Did you know that credit cards are the most common form of payment in Canada? Over 42% of Canadians turn to a credit card first. Kind of scary right? But with that simple fact, every time a consumer like you or me turns to our credit card, the credit card provider is earning money, and that’s why they want you to use their brand.

Credit card providers are working overtime to get our loyalty. Competing amongst themselves to offer lower interests rates is one arena for battle, but another is rewards programs. This year, more than ever before, credit card companies are offering bigger and better sign up bonuses with more generous rewards programs.

Incentives and perks are getting better and better for Canadians. Points are becoming easier and easier to collect, with payouts becoming more substantial. Cashback cards, for example, are starting to offer higher dividends, while travel options are also on the rise.

Lovers of travel can quickly earn points by regularly using a rewards card. Weekly groceries alone go a long way to building up your tally, but there are many ways to get clever to maximize your point payout.

When selecting a card, look for one with a sign up bonus. Some cards, for example, will come stocked with points valued at $150 or more. It’s also worth looking into the social profiles associated with each card because certain options offer bonus point events connected to retailers. These events earn bonus points when you use your card with an associated retailer, helping you eclipse the cost of a flight even faster.

But while it may seem obvious, don’t let the points blind you. Sometimes when you see your points building up to the point where you can get a free trip you will become inclined to spend more just for the points. As with any credit card, avoid carrying a balance and paying interest charges. A good points system does not equal low interest.

So where can you find the best cards right now? You can check in with your bank, but it’s easier to find a place to compare options from across the board. Check out the LowestRates.ca Find the Right Card comparison page. It’s a good place to see all the different options available.

As we look at the remainder of 2017, and into the years ahead, sit back and enjoy the credit card points wars unfold, as the ultimate spoils will fall to you.

Flipp’s 5 Fab Finds – Last Minute Easter Deals

Easter Weekend is here, so if you haven’t finished your shopping, now is the time.  Check out Flipp to find out which stores are having a 2-day sale (Thursday and Saturday) for Easter Weekend.  These last minute Easter deals will fill your table with plenty of food. If you have kids and are looking for basket items, there are many to be found.

Last Minute Easter Deals

No Frills

Choose ham and potatoes instead of turkey or roast for dinner.

Last Minute Easte Deals

 

 

Food Basics

Veggies for your side dishes

Last Minute Easter Deals

Giant Tiger

Solid Easter Bunny

Last Minute Easter Deals

Michael’s

Make it yourself Easter crafts and fun. On Saturday, April 15th, visit for the Kids Club Easter event.

Walmart

If you stop by Walmart for any Easter treats, be sure to pick up a beautiful potted Lily

If you don’t already have the Flipp app, download it today from Google Play or the App Store.

Have a Happy Easter.

The Konifer Wood Watch Are Works of Beauty

Awhile ago, I was sent a Konifer wood watch to review. These beautiful watches are made right here in Canada of 100% natural hard wood and are light weight and reliable. I have been mine through the paces for the last couple of months and I am impressed. It has become my favourite watch to wear.

Max Clement, the founder of Konifer has been making these beautiful works of art for the last four years. Konifer sells women’s watches, men’s watches, sunglasses and even rings. All are works of art. Some important facts to know:

  • For every watch sold, 1 tree is planted with WeForest.
  • There is a 5 year warranty on all watches
  • Free worldwide shipping

 

I received the beautiful Pink watch. The Pink wood watch is a very special edition created in support of breast cancer awareness. It is elegantly beautiful and part of each purchase goes to support the Breast Cancer Foundation in Quebec.

Now each Pink watch comes with an ebony black band making it wearable with many outfits. The pink comes in on the watch with a gorgeous pink ribbon and pink Swarovski crystals in place of numbers on the face of the watch. I love how the word Hope is engraved in French and English around the edge of the watch as well. I chose this watch to support those in my family who have had breast cancer.  It is a precious reminder this battle can be won.

Favourite Konifer Wood Watches

Now there are lots of other watches to choose from. Here are some of my favourites:

The new Karbon watch for ladies in another work of art. It is done with red sandalwood and stainless steel. It is water resistant to 50 meters and has a Japanese Citizen movement while being designed right here in Canada.

I also love the Navigator line of watches that come with athletic features. I especially loved the mix of sandalwood and maple in this watch. With my guiding background, I fell in love with the compass engraving on the edge of the watch.  This one is truly unisex.

Love something eye catching for your man? The Tagia Mahogany is stunning. It comes with a decadent mahogany finish. This tropical wood is durable and versatile. This watch could be worn every day with its satin oil finish and is so beautiful it could also be worn for date nights.

Want to check out these works of beauty? You can visit them here.

 

 

 

Flipp’s 5 Fab Finds – Easter Deals

Hippity Hop, Hippity Hop, Easter weekend is only a week away. Every family has their own traditions for celebrating if they celebrate. Growing up, for Easter we would get an outfit for church, some chocolate and an egg hunt. I continued the tradition with my daughter. Whether you are preparing for a small or large family, it is always great to save money, with these Easter deals you can. Below you will find deals for both dinner and a basket or egg hunt.

Easter Deals for Dinner

No Frills

An Easter Lily makes for a beautiful centrepiece or a hostess gift.

Easter Deals

Looking for an alternative to Turkey dinner? Why not roast beef?

Easter Deals

No Frills will price match all Turkeys and you may find a utility turkey at a lower price. (parts may be missing)

Food Basics

Easter Deals

Easter Deals

 

Easter Deals for Baskets

For more Easter deals, head on over to the Flipp app.

Freshco

Be aware that the 3 pack deals for Cadbury eggs are more than the individual eggs.

Easter Deals

Giant Tiger

Easter Deals

Walmart

 

It’s always fun to do some crafts

Watch for next week’s last minute Easter finds.

Download the Flipp app today from Google Play or the App Store.

Happy Easter!

Cut the Clutter: Cleaning Your Closets

Cuttheclutter

It’s time! From personal experience, I have learned I like stuff. It can accumulate quite fast. As a blogger, we often get sent stuff to review, swag and gifts. Then there is the fact I work for a toy company. Then there is the stuff I buy. It all adds up. Having lived in the same home now for five years, we have lots of stuff. I am living in clutter. It is time to cut the clutter and to live with the stuff I love, will use and need.

Join me this month as I cut the clutter and live with the stuff we love. I was at an event two weeks ago and one of the speakers mentioned, if you live in clutter, you do not get much done. I believe this to be true. So where do we start? I am starting with my closet.

How do closets get so overcrowded?  We start with just a few basic pieces, and then as we get older and head out into the work world, we seem to need more to wear.  And if we have a walk-in closet and not enough clothes to fill it . . . we need to buy more!

We even hold on to clothes that no longer fit because we’re hoping they will fit again one day.  Clothes that need repairs because at some point we’ll get them to the tailor.  Or clothes we don’t really like because we spent so much money on them.

It’s time get realistic about the clutter we have in our closets and start getting back to basics.  You only need ten essential pieces, yes ten!  Here’s how to start paring down and decluttering:

closet purge

Step No. 1: Confront your closet head-on. Do you even know what’s in there? First, empty your closet of everything. If you do not love it. If it does not serve a purpose, it will not go back in your closet. Start by grabbing everything you love. If you hesitate, for even a second, you don’t love it, and you need to ditch it.

Let’s start with the clothes. Place the clothes you love on your bed and arrange them by type: jeans, pants, sweaters, etc.

Step No. 2: Take a look at everything on the bed to see if a pattern emerges. Is everything black? Or maybe you chose clothes that only have comfortable fabrics. Did you select only your best-fitting jeans? Did you leave all the dresses in the closet?

By looking at the clothes you love all together, you will start to see a pattern. Maybe you like striped tops. Or only love pants and jeans. Next time you’re thinking about buying something new, think back to this moment and about how the new piece would fit in with your favorite items?

See that loved dress you haven’t worn in two years? Is it just taking up space? Can it find a new home?

Step No. 3: Put together outfits. How many different ways can you mix your key items to create different looks? Lay out as many outfits as possible.  Next, take photos of your outfits so when you don’t know what to wear, you can refer to the outfits you already put together.

Step No. 4: Edit. Are there some favorite pieces that you weren’t able to make outfits with? Take them out of the pile. Are there things that do not fit? Are you saving them for when you lose weight? Get rid of them. Clothes you have not worn at least once in the last year need to go.

Step No. 5: Pick and choose. Are there any essential pieces missing? What are your needs?

Step No. 6: Fix or donate. If an item doesn’t fit right or needs a replacement button, take it to the tailor.  If you don’t want to spend the money, get rid of the piece. Don’t let it stay around, taking up space if you can’t wear it.

Step No. 7: With everything out of your closet, store away non-seasonal items. Vacuum sealed bags work great for this. You want to create space.

Step No. 8: Think about where you are placing your loved items.  Which were the key pieces you used to create the most outfits? Put them back in your closet or on shelves where they are visible and accessible. Make it a joy to go into your closet.

organized closet

This is just the first step to a clutter free life. Let’s cut the clutter in our homes and lives this month. Join me on the journey and let’s see where this takes us.

 

 

 

Flipp’s 5 Fab Deals – Healthy Choices

This week, it is all about making healthy choices in the food we eat. I have decided to eat more fruits and vegetables daily to become a better me. We all get to the point where some days we don’t feel like cooking so we order in or go out to eat. This can be costly and not always the best solution. Using Flipp always helps me find the right product for my needs, not my wants.

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Healthy Choices

Food Basics 

Healthy Choices

Perfect combo for adding to a salad or on their own

Healthy Choices

 

No Frills -$1, $2, $3 sale

Stock up the pantry and crisper.

healthy choices

Yes, No Frills alone has more than 5 deals but it is all on one page.

Giant Tiger – Grow your Own

Pick up some seeds and start your own mini garden.

Healthy Choices

All you have to do is plant the seeds and watch them grow.

healthy choices

 

There are many choices this week for us to make those healthy choices. What’s on your shopping list?

New Job First Job First Tax Return-What Does It Mean for Your Wallet #CDNmoney

In today’s world, all of us go through major life events more often. We are a fast paced world with change being part of the fabric of our every day. This past year, there were some major shifts in my life. I went from being a freelancer to having a full-time role with a great company. I love my new job. My teen is also facing change as she graduated from high school and well it is time for college and the work force. So what do all these changes mean come tax time? These are normal changes that almost every Canadian family will face at one time or another.

new_job

What Does a New Job mean?

First, let’s talk about the taxes. Whenever a Canadian gets a new job with a new employer, all of your employment insurance and Canadian pension plan are reset for the fiscal year. This means you may be due an overpayment come tax time. Check for this.

If you were paying into a retirement savings plan with your employer make sure you understand what this new job means for that old plan. Know your rights and obligations. Do the research.

Have Your First Job?

Having that first job is exciting. My teen’s first job was at her high school helping after school with a fellow student who needed supports in place at the end of her school day. Since every ; this receives a basic tax credit of $11,000, my teen was not required to fill out a tax form but here are the reasons she will.

Many first tax returns have to be submitted in paper. It allows the government to set the first time filer up on the CRA system, this also allows you to file online in the future if you qualify. The younger you do this first return as well sets the timeline for when your RRSP contributions begin.

Student-using-laptop-in-a-university-library

Starting college or university, or are you there and you haven’t filed your first return yet?

First, your tax return is used to determine if you are eligible for things like GST and the Ontario Trillium Benefit here in Ontario. Even if you have zero income, you can qualify for these payments.

As well to use your tuition, education and text book credit you have to submit them on your tax return in the year they occur even if you are not going to use the credit till the future.

There are several credits that you are intitled to as a student that you can save or transfer to a parent. The tuition amount can either be claimed by a student be transferred or carried over toward a future year.

With so many questions and because life can change on a dime, filing using TurboTax Canada makes sense. Every step of the way you are asked questions that enable you to get the best return. We love how fast and easy it is as well.

If you would like to win one of 5 copies of TurboTax Canada here on my blog, simply, leave a comment on this post, or you can join us for the #CDNmoney chat on Tuesday, March 28th at 7 pm ET as we talk about new parents and tax returns. There will be more chances to win that night as well.

Want more tax tips ready the TurboTax Canada blog and follow them on Twitter.

*Blog Giveaway ends March 27th at 11:59 pm and is only open to Canadian tax filers. This post has been sponsored by TurboTaxCanada, but as always my opinion is mine. 

 

 

What 8 Years on Twitter has Taught Me

yoda 8th birthday

Today is my birthday. My Twitter birthday that is.

In 8 years, I have learned a few lessons. There are also a few facts I thought I would share.

I have made many friends because of Twitter. Some are the tops in their fields. Twitter broke walls and allowed you to start conversations with anyone. Over the years I have had great conversations and even forged friendships with some pretty amazing people. I have even gotten work because of Twitter. I am afraid to start a list as the list is rather long now.

In 8 years I have tweeted over 88,000 times on topics as varied as personal finance, to recipes, to world events.

I have hosted or moderated hundreds of Twitter chats and Twitter parties.  I started the first personal finance chat in Canada Those parties produced over a billion social media impressions.

The two apps I helped launch on Twitter both grew rapidly. The second one, even got four dragons from Dragons Den wanting a deal partially because of the digital strategy and rapid growth of the app.

I now have a job I love because of Twitter.

So what has all of this taught me?

Seek knowledge. If you don’t understand a new platform, a new way to share your voice learn.

Share. Share great content.

Start conversations. Don’t just share content, have real conversations. Ask questions and listen.

Behind every handle is a real person. Treat them well.

Now over on Twitter this week, I am giving away a $100 gift card. All you have to do is tweet me a lesson I have taught you before Friday, March 24th at 8pm EST. My twitter handle if you need a reminder is @commoncentsmom.

 

 

 

 

Join the #BeFraudSmart Twitter Party

BeFraudSmartTwitterPartyPromo4

March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada.

March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada. Tangerine Bank will be hosting a Twitter Party to help Canadians better understand how to deal with fraud with a focus on “phishing”. Join the “Be Fraud Smart” Twitter Party to find out how to protect yourself from fraud.

Twitter Party Details

#BeFraudSmart Twitter Party

Date: Thursday, March 23, 2017
Time: 7:00pm ET
Host: @TangerineBank
Guest: @KelleyKeehn If you have any fraud related questions, please direct them to @KelleyHeehn and include the hashtag #BeFraudSmart.
Moderators: @ShesConnected @SimplyLindaBlog @CommonCentsMom
Prizes: $500 in Mastercard Gift Cards (Prizing:  for Canadians only  except those in the province of Quebec)
Twitter Party Newbies: If you are new to Twitter parties, then use TWUBS, the Twitter party platform. Click here to join: http://twubs.com/BeFraudSmart

No RSVP Required

 

About Kelly Keehn

Kelley Keehn is a financial literacy advocate who has been on a mission to “Make Canadians Feel Good About Money”.The author of 8 published books Kelley served on the National Steering Committee on Financial Literacy and is a consumer advocate for the Financial Planning Standards Council. You can learn more about Kelley at her website: KelleyKeeehn.com.

SPONSORED POST

This a sponsored post by Tangerine Bank. As always opinions are my own.