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Managing Taxes as a Sole Proprietor

There are countless sole proprietorships operating all across Canada and the United States. While being your own boss offers many professional, logistical, and tax-related conveniences, it also comes with a number of important responsibilities. We’re here to help you stay prepared.

Defining Sole Proprietorship

Some professionals who are considering a pivot towards working independently may be unsure as to what exactly the CRA or the IRS consider to be a sole proprietorship. Whatever your circumstances, it’s an important definition to understand. In short, if you are the only owner of an unincorporated business, whether or not you have employees, you’re operating a sole proprietorship. Because this is by definition not a corporation, it is not its own legal entity and you are personally responsible for its debts. In the US, if you’re the sole owner of an LLC, you are only technically a sole proprietor if you do not choose to treat your LLC as a corporation.

Advantages and Freedoms

In addition to a high degree of professional independence and autonomy, there are plenty of tax planning benefits of being a sole proprietor to be aware of. One of the most important examples is the range of deductions and credits that may be available to you. Depending on a number of stipulations and eligibility factors, sole proprietors are able to deduct the cost of certain living expenses, health insurance premiums, internet and supplies, transportation, and countless other expenditures. The capital cost allowance deduction, which we’ve touched upon in this article, is also particularly relevant and beneficial to sole proprietorships.

Obligations and Responsibilities

As a sole proprietor, your personal income and business income are not separate in the way that they would be if you were employed by someone else. This means that you’ll be paying taxes both as an employer and an employee, such as the full 9.9% contribution to CPP in Canada or the self-employment tax for social security and Medicare in the US. You also may be subject to a more scrutiny when it comes to auditing, as the CRA and IRS often see sole proprietorships as being particularly conducive to conflation between business and personal spending. Always keep thorough and well-organized records of your expenses.

Are you a self-employed Canadian looking for an experienced chartered accountant for your business? Cook & Company can offer you the expertise of a big firm with a level of personalized service and dedication that you can’t get elsewhere. Call (403) 398-2486 for a free consultation!

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