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.

 

 

 

RSVP for the #TurboTaxParty, Do Your Taxes with the Experts

Can you believe the tax deadline is less than 3 weeks away folks? Yes, I have been talking about taxes all month long with the experts from TurboTax during the #CDNmoney chats on Twitter, but I realize some of you, like the me of old, will leave your taxes till the last week.

Many of us find tax time, well taxing. We leave it to the last minute and run around getting things in order. TurboTax Canada and I want to take some of that stress away. We want to make things easy when it comes to tax time.

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On April 26th, from 7 to 9pm EST come and ask your last minute questions! It will be a twitter party like none other! You can use the TurboTax site to find which software works best for you. Did you know there is even a free version if you know your income and which deductions you are claiming? Settle in and get your taxes done along side the experts.

First, because we want to make that night easy on you who will be sitting at your computer for a couple of hours we want to offer up some pizza, doughnuts and more. So here is the incentive. RSVP before April 25th at noon, est and several lucky people will be doing their taxes while being fueled by the team at TurboTax Canada. You will win pizza, doughnuts and more.

You will also want to get to the party early, as all prizing will be given out in the first 30 minutes of the 2 hour party. We really want you to do your taxes while the experts are on hand to last minute questions you have and will be giving away access to TurboTax so you can work on your taxes that night. So join us, get your taxes done with the team from TurboTax Canada.

Rules:

Lucky winners will be chosen randomly from the RSVP list found here on my blog. Prizes are non-transferable, must be a Canadian tax filer over 18 (excludes Quebec).
Fill out the RSVP to be entered for prizing before and during the party:

 

RSVP for the #CDNmoney Chat with TurboTax Canada

It is that time of the year again! We are all busy getting ready for tax time. This year I have partnered with my friends at TurboTax to bring you the answers to your questions.

Last week we talked about freelancing and tax time. If you missed the chat and want to read the transcript, I created a storify of the chat so you get caught up.

This week we are talking about families. There are so many ways for families to save and even get money back on their taxes. There were also some recent changes that will effect Canadian families too. You can read about those on the TurboTax Blog. The resident TurboTax expert will also be on the chat so if you have any questions you can get them answered.

Are you still trying to get organized for tax time? I wrote a post awhile ago that was filed with some tips that will help you get organized.

Have you tried using the software yet? If you are doing your own taxes with TurboTax,  they will help you every step of the way. After all, the software walks you through everything, asking you key questions every step. You really don’t need to worry about being up to date on knowing every single change, as they have taken care of that for you. Another key feature of TurboTax is that if you need assistance, you can ask a question and get it answered in real time. They even double check everything so you can feel comfortable filing your return. While none of this will make taxes fun, hopefully using TurboTax and getting some more money back with the changes to the tax system will make it a little less painful.

Did you know depending on your circumstances you may even be able to file with TurboTax for free? It is even good for simple and complex returns and is up to date on all the latest credits and deductions.

 

Now, I am sure you have a few questions so please join me on Tuesday April 5th, 2016 at 7 pm EST to talk taxes with the team from TurboTax Canada.

They are even bringing some great prizes.

CDNmoney chat Apr5

Please RSVP here for prizing:

*to win you must be a Canadian tax filer. You must also tweet on April 5th between 7-8pm using the #CDNmoney hashtag and participate in answering the questions.

RSVP here on my blog:

 

Talking Freelancing & Taxes with TurboTax Canada #CDNmoney

It is the time of the year, as the snow melts everyone is getting ready to file their taxes. If you are self employed like me, this time of year might scare you a little. I know it does me. This year I have partnered again with TurboTax Canada to bring my readers and those that participate in the #CDNmoney chats on Tuesdays the latest information when it comes to taxes.

This Tuesday night, March 29th is our first chat and we are talking with freelancers about taxes. One of the things I do love about using the TurboTax software is that it is so easy to use. It provides the self employed blogger like me extra guidance as we walk through things like self employment income and deductions. It helps you file your personal and unincorporated business taxes together.

When it comes to all those deductions we can claim there are clear paths to claiming old space, travel expenses and vehicle expenses. If there is an expense you can claim this software knows about it.

Even if you run into an issue I love that there is free tech support. What are some of my top tips for my fellow freelancers?

1. Save ALL your receipts and invoices.

The government requires that you provide receipts and invoices. If you are audited you need to be able to back up your claims. No guess work allowed.

2. Set a budget for taxes.

Unlike salaried employees, you are not paying deductions for things like income tax, CPP or EI. You need to contribute the employee portion of these which can prove costly. A good standard to go by 30% of your income.

3. Contribute to your RRSP.

Freelancers can not rely on the company retirement plan. They need to have a retirement plan of their own.

4. Home Office Deduction

Be careful with this one, make sure your deduction is reasonable. If your office space takes up 20% of your housing space then that is what you claim. Some of the extra things you can claim internet, phone, home insurance, heat and hydro.

Are you a Freelancer-

Now, if you are like me you always have questions when it comes to tax time, so I am hoping over the next month as we talk taxes with my friends at TurboTax for the #CDNmoney chat each week you will join the conversations.

You can even win tax software! Each week, TurboTax will be giving away 4 downloads of their software, that will definitely come in handy as you get ready to file yours. This week 4 people will win a copy of the Home & Business edition.

Hope to see you tweeting with us this Tuesday March 29th at 7pm EST. No RSVP required!

Want more advice for Freelancers from TurboTax check out this page.

RSVP for the Grand and Toy Tax Twitter Chat #grandDIYtaxes

With it being February, many of us Canadians have started thinking about our taxes. We are busy gathering receipts, T4’s and everything we need to deliver to the tax man. This tax season Grand and Toy is making it super simple for you to be organized and ready to do your own taxes. Tax time doesn’t have to be taxing. You can keep more money in your pocket by doing your taxes yourself.

It’s simple to become your own tax professional. No tax knowledge is needed with the easy to use TurboTax software, available at Grandandtoy.com  Grand and Toy has you covered for everything you might need for tax season.

How do you get ready for tax season if you are going to do it yourself? Gather your income statements and your documents.  Did you work a full time job? You will want to get your T4’s and forms from any other sources of income. You will also want to gather your receipts for any deductions you are planning on claiming. Did you know the Turbo Tax software helps you check for over 400 possible deductions?

Once you have all your documents, file them. I got some file folders and set up folders for receipts, income and one for deductions for my children. If you have a business, you will also want to set up those files. Now, you are ready to be your own tax professional.

TurboTax is easy to use; it will walk you through every step and provide prompts and reminders along the way. From simple returns, to more complex filings for small businesses, TurboTax has a software program for each of them.

Starting Tuesday, Grand and Toy has a sweet deal to help you get ready for tax time, with 30% off tax organization products, and a fantastic promotion on TurboTax products. This season you don’t need to agonize, you can organize and do it yourself.

Here are some more great DIY tips from Grand and Toy:

https://www.grandandtoy.com/en/sites/core/Article-TaxTime.aspx

GT Tax Chat Social Post_FINAL

On February 16 at 8pm, join us for a special Twitter Chat brought to you by Grand & Toy. We will be talking about getting ready to do it yourself and giving away prizing that will get you organized for tax season. Please RSVP for prizing!

 

 

 

Last Minute Tips for Canadian Tax Filers

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It is that time of the year; tax season is in full force, and there are just 10 days left to file your 2014 tax return. Now many Canadians will of left it to till this week, in fact, way too many files late and some do not even file and lose out on thousands of dollars that could have been theirs. So if you haven’t started your return now this is the week to get it down, and I have a few tips for those of you who are just getting around to it.

Make sure you have declared all your income.

So many people forget little projects especially if they are freelancers. It is so important not to forget as you can be audited. So remember, collect that old T4s, the stubs from that side project.

Collect your receipts

So many people when they are in a rush as the tax deadline approaches forget some things that could have them getting money back like transit receipts, rental receipts, kids’ lessons, and if you have a small side business your business expenses.

Be aware of Changes that have come about this year as well.

The 2014 tax year saw some big changes like the Family Tax Cut, the doubling of the Fitness Tax Credit and the increase to the Universal Child Care Benefit. You can read more about what the tax changes mean for Canadian families here.

Remember even if you have a low income, file.

There are many reasons to file even if you had very little income and paid no income tax. There are tax credits you may be entitled to like GST. For those with very simple returns, you can even file them for free with TurboTax.

One of the simple ways to ensure you don’t miss a thing, is by using a Tax software like TurboTax. It asks you all the right questions at the right times. It also offers services like TurboTax Live Tax Advice, which allows you to get answers from a real person as you do the work. After you are done doing the heavy lifting (filing) you can always have a pro take a look at your return as well with TurboTax’s Pro Review service, that way you can rest well knowing all is correct with your return.

If you haven’t filed yet, you can also win the tax software, TurboTax by following them on Twitter this week and next. They are giving away a couple of codes to their online service. Their twitter handle is @TurbotaxCanada.

 

 

 

 

What the Tax Changes Mean for Canadian Families

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As you are getting ready to do your taxes this year,  you may be wondering what the changes made just before Christmas will mean for you. (At least I am hoping you know that there are several changes that will affect Canadian families.)

I am hoping that you already know about the Family Tax Cut, the elimination of the end of year child tax credit amount, the enhancements of the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) benefits, the increase in the children’s fitness tax credit, and how the child care expenses deduction has increased; but if not, here’s a little primer for you.

The Family Tax Cut

This is a limited form of income splitting.  It is a federal tax credit that allows a high income earning spouse to transfer up to $50,000 of taxable income to spouse in a lower tax bracket. This gives these families some tax relief up to a maximum of $2,000. This is not a universal credit, you do have to have a child under 18 to take advantage of this program, and you cannot be separated or be confined to a prison or similar institution. You must also both file your taxes and neither spouse can be bankrupt.

The Elimination of the End of Year Child Tax Credit Amount

As of the end of the 2015 tax year, the amount for children under the age of 18 that you get simply for having minor children will be eliminated. Even with the child amount gone, most families will still see more money thanks to the enhanced UCCB benefits.

Enhanced UCCB Benefits

Effective January 1st, 2015, the Universal Child Care Benefit increased from $100 to $160 per month for kids under the age of 6 and there is now a new benefit of $60 per month for kids age 6 to 17. You may be wondering why you haven’t seen any cheques yet? There haven’t been any cheques so far.  You will receive a retroactive payment in July, even though the enhancements have been in place since January.

Increase in Children’s Fitness Tax Credit

The government has doubled the children’s fitness tax credit for the 2014 tax year from $500 per child to $1000 per child. For the 2015 tax year and beyond, this will become a refundable tax credit.

Child Care  Deduction Increased

Effective as of 2015 the maximum dollar amount that you can claim for your child care expenses  have increased by $1,000. So that means if you have a child under 7 the new maximum deduction is now $8,000. If you have a child 7-16( or infirm child over 16) the maximum deduction. is now $5,000. The limit for disabled children is now $11,000.

 

Now if you are doing your own taxes with TurboTax they will help you through the changes. After all, the software walks you through everything asking you key questions along the way. So you really don’t need to worry about being up to date on knowing every single change as they have taken care of that for you. Another key feature of TurboTax is that if you need assistance, you can ask a question and get it answered in real time. They even double check everything so you can feel comfortable filing your return. While none of this will make taxes fun, hopefully using TurboTax and getting some more money back with the changes to the tax system will make it a little less painful.

 

TurboTax Canada Review and Giveaway

turbotax

Thanks to the gang at TurboTax and being a brand ambassador this year for their spring campaign, I get to review a copy of TurboTax and give 5 of my readers free codes that they can use this year.

Last month I wrote about organizing for your tax return. Hope you were paying attention and are ready to go. You may want to remind yourself of everything there is that is new this year. There are new credits, and some others have been expanded. Both The Family Tax Cut and the Small Business Tax Credit will see many Canadian families taking a second look at their taxes.

Now that you are ready to file your taxes it’s really easy with Turbo Tax. Did you know for some Canadians you can even file with Turbo Tax for free. Check out the TurboTax free software page for more details.

For the freelancers, contractors and the like you will want to use the Home & Business Edition, where most Canadians can use the Standard Edition.

Win-Coupon-Codes-to-Use-TurboTax-Online-for-FREE

Some of the features that I like best about TurboTax:

  • The instant Refund Ticker- as you enter deductions you see the impact.
  • Simple questions remind you about events that matter when it comes tax time like being in school, starting a job, buying a new home, or retirement.
  • The Deduction tool box has over 400 deductions that you can possibly claim, with reminders along the way.
  • The Return Review itself reminds you of opportunities you may of missed.

Over all, TurboTax makes doing your taxes simple and I think that we can all agree, that’s a very good thing.

If you would like one of the online codes that I am giving away on my blog, leave a comment and let me know what deduction do you like best come tax time. Giveaway will end March 15th, 2015 at 10 pm.