Reviewing Recent Changes to Small Business Taxation

Anyone who wants to utilize the tax planning options available to them and avoid complications or penalties should always stay updated on tax policy. There are several changes to Canadian tax law going into effect this year, so let’s look at some that are relevant to business owners.


Small Business Tax & Capital Cost Allowance


In a positive development for many Canadian business owners, the small business tax rate will be reduced to 9%, effective in January of this year. This is down from the 10% rate established in 2018, which was a reduction from the previous 10.5%. Meanwhile, temporary amendments are being introduced to the rules dictating capital cost allowance. These will enable full first-year write-offs for the purchase of certain machinery and equipment, specifically those that are used to manufacture and process goods and for clean energy equipment. A temporary enhanced first-year CCA rate of 100% has also been introduced for eligible zero-emission vehicles.


Accelerated Investment Incentive


Similarly to the temporary enhancements for CCA deductions mentioned above, the government is also rolling out what it calls the Accelerated Investment Incentive. This is designed to encourage capital property investments made by businesses and applies to businesses across the spectrum, whether small or large. The primary component of this incentive affords businesses an enhanced first-year allowance of CCA deductions on certain capital property. In addition to this, however, its secondary component effectively allows for an enhanced CCA rate that is equal to three times the amount you would normally be able to claim for that first year.


New Rules for Passive Income & Split Income


While the changes noted above are advantageous for many Canadian businesses, there are of course plenty of adjustments in effect for 2019 that will present challenges. Most prominently, the more passive investment income a business holds above a threshold of $50,000, the more constrained its access to the small business deduction will be. This renders the first $500,000 of your company’s income far more vulnerable to taxation. Additionally, the CRA’s new rules on Tax on Split Income are in effect this year, notably expanding their scope to adults. Speak with your CPA to find out how these developments affect your business and how to adapt to them.


You can always count on the team at Cook & Company to keep you updated on the latest developments in tax law. If you have any questions regarding the latest tax changes affecting business owners, our Calgary accountants are here to help. Call us at (403) 768-4377 today!

Employee vs Contractor: Why Does the Classification Matter?

Everything your company accomplishes depends on both the work of your employees and the services rendered by the contractors you retain. These two types of individuals are treated differently when it comes to taxation, and accurate classification is crucial for several reasons.

Broad Distinctions

Employer-employee relationships and payer-contractor relationships can exhibit some minor similarities, but a wide range of factors make them legally distinct from one another. Typically speaking, an employee follows certain requirements determined by the employer such as reporting location and hours. A contractor, meanwhile, usually dictates when, where, and how they do their work. Employees generally use supplies and tools provided by the employer, while contractors often invest directly in the means of their own work. The risk of incurring losses or the chance of making a profit are also usually factors specific to contractors and not employees.

Taxation and Benefits

Unlike contractors, employees are provided benefits by the employer (such as health insurance and pensions), are more difficult to terminate, and can receive severance pay. They also qualify for employment insurance. Unlike employees, contractors can take advantage of far more tax deductions for work expenses but must also pay both employer and employee Canadian Pension Plan contributions. Considering the costs saved on EI deductions, CPP, and benefits, not to mention various logistical advantages, business owners may seek to hire contractors whenever they can. This is why the CRA is diligent about penalizing worker misclassification.

Why It Matters

Today’s economic landscape is more complex than ever. Countless types of working relationships manifest in different ways. Additionally, the criteria that the CRA uses to define employer-employee and payer-contractor relationships can be quite elaborate. Despite this, it’s crucial for businesses to avoid misclassification at all costs. If you classify a worker as a contractor and they are eventually found to be your employee, you could be liable for unpaid income tax deductions (with interest and penalties) plus unpaid CPP EI, overtime, and vacation. Wrongful termination lawsuits and other forms of litigation are also common consequences of misclassification. If you’re in doubt, consult a professional to be sure!

Are you unsure of whether to classify someone as your employee or an independent contractor? Whatever guidance you and your business may need, our Calgary-based CPAs are always at your service. Give our office a call at (403) 768-4377 to schedule a meeting with us today, we’d love to help!

How a CPA Can Help You Plan Your Business Succession

Operating a profitable business is no simple task, but ensuring that it will remain viable across generations is a challenge in and of itself. Far too many promising businesses fail to make the transition properly, but with the help of experienced CPAs, you don’t have to be one of them.


Planning Ahead


Any skilled CPA knows that planning ahead is everything, whether it’s getting the most out of tax planning opportunities or carrying out effective risk management. Business succession is no exception. Depending on the structure and scale of your business, as well as your intentions for succession, the process should begin at least five to ten years in advance. A chartered professional accountant will therefore play the integral role of factoring a future succession into various aspects of your accounting and tax planning. They will help you optimize the company finances to make the transition of ownership and management as effective as possible.


Minimizing Tax Liability


Business succession can be a taxing process, both figuratively and literally. One of the more important forms of taxation to take note of in this context is capital gains tax. The disposition of company assets (including shares and property) may amount to capital gains that are subject to a significant tax burden. You may be selling personal shares to an outside party, selling company-held shares and/or property to an outside property, or handing assets down to an heir. Whatever the case may be, a skilled CPA can help you maximize the value of your succession by exploring a wide range of tax planning strategies that may apply to your circumstances.


Why It’s Crucial


Roughly 30% of family-owned businesses make it through a generational transition, and even fewer stay in operation into a third generation. The importance of having all hands on deck when it comes to succession therefore can’t be overstated. CPAs are not the only people you need to work with during this process, but they’re an essential component, especially if you hire corporate accountants and tax specialists who have experience with a broad range of business types. Foster a strong relationship between your company and a dependable CPA and you’ll be all the more prepared to ensure the longevity of the business you’ve worked so hard to build!


Our Calgary-based team of chartered professional accountants won’t simply fortify your company’s finances and tax strategy in the short term. They’ll help you turn your successful business into a powerful legacy. Give us a call at (403) 768-4377 for a free consultation today.

2019 Tax Season Is Over! How Do You Prepare for 2020?

Now that we’ve made it through the 2019 tax season, there’s no better time to think ahead about how you can stay proactive about tax planning for 2020. If you want to secure the maximum value possible from your hard work as a business owner, there are a few tips to keep in mind.


Take Stock of Your Business Goals


The journey of running a business is shaped by the objectives you set and the circumstances that arise along the way. These change all the time, affecting various aspect of your financial strategy, including tax planning. With the 2019 tax season behind us, it’s essential to take stock of how you expect your enterprise to change throughout this year. Will its corporate structure or ownership change? Are you anticipating significant and sudden growth or expansion? There are countless developments that can bring new tax concerns into play or open up new opportunities. Whatever the case may be, your tax planning methods should evolve as your company does.


Stay Updated on Tax Policy Changes


As you make your way through 2019, remember that federal and provincial tax policy are dynamic entities. Stay informed on policy changes so that you can adjust your tax planning accordingly. For instance, the federal small business tax rate was reduced from 10% to 9% in January of this year. Additionally, beginning with the 2019 tax year, there will be new limitations on tax deferral opportunities connected to passive investment income within private corporations. The government will also be implementing measures to enhance capital cost allowance deductions for zero-emission vehicles used by businesses. Keep yourself in the loop!


Work with an Experienced Corporate Accountant


The above considerations and all others related to your tax strategy are best optimized with the right guidance. This is by far the most practical and effective way to plan ahead, enhance your efforts, and avoid costly pitfalls. The right specialists can offer corporate tax planning solutions tailored specifically to your business goals and circumstances. It’s particularly advisable to seek CPAs who have experience with businesses of all sizes but can offer a direct and personalized approach. The world is full of chartered professional accountants, but only the best can help your company remain as dynamic and efficient as possible from one tax year to the next.


Cook & Company is dedicated to providing fully up-to-date and effective tax planning solutions for entrepreneurs all across Canada and the United States. Our Calgary-based corporate accounting office has everything you need, so give us a call at (403) 768-4377 to get started!

What Advantages Does a Chartered Professional Accountant Offer?

Every business owner wants to fortify the financial integrity of their enterprise, but not all of them take the necessary measures to make it happen. Company growth and longevity are always intertwined with skillful accounting, but what specific advantages can an external CPA provide?

Greater Efficiency

One of the foremost advantages of working with a CPA for your corporate taxes and accounting is increased efficiency, both with regards to time and cost. Your need for a CPA will fluctuate and change in nature throughout the fiscal year. Working with an external firm therefore carries the benefit of producing excellent results in a timely manner without the need for investing in the salary, office resources, and benefits required for a full-time internal corporate accountant.

Specialized Expertise

As long as you’ve chosen the right firm, external corporate CPAs typically bring a range and depth of experience to your company tax planning and accounting that is quite difficult to beat. In the best cases, this experience amounts to a highly specialized skill set and a greater degree of fluency in corporate finances, tax law, and tax planning in the context of multiple industries and enterprise types. The power of this versatility can be considerable for any business owner.


When it comes to corporate accounting and taxes, depending too heavily on an internal perspective can introduce a number of issues. Errors can potentially be glossed over and the company finances won’t be able to benefit from a second opinion. This is an important yet often underestimated advantage of bringing an external CPA into the mix. It makes for a collaborative process that may reveal certain solutions and strategies that haven’t already been considered.

Peace of Mind

If there’s one advantage that encompasses all others, it’s knowing that you’ve taken the right measures to secure the prosperity of your business. Whether you operate a sole proprietorship or a sizable corporation with multiple subsidiaries, one thing that all entrepreneurs have in common is a desire for long-term financial strength and tax-efficiency. With the support and services of a respected CPA, you’ll have this and the enduring peace of mind that comes with it.

When you experience the quality of service and level of expertise offered by our CPAs, you’ll see why Cook & Company has become one of the most esteemed business accounting firms in Canada. To ensure prosperity for your company, call (403) 398-2486 and we’ll be by your side.

5 Signs You Should Reconsider Your Company’s Accounting Practices

Accounting isn’t an aspect of your business that you can set and forget. It requires diligent, attentive, ongoing oversight and assessment. Working with a great external accountant is highly rewarding in many circumstances, but if you see any of these signs, it may be especially urgent.

Low Profitability

It’s not uncommon for businesses to fall short of their profitability goals even when sales seem healthy. Despite getting the revenue that you’re aiming for, you may not be seeing an adequate increase in profit. Bringing in an objective business accountant could give you critical insights into your overhead costs, employee productivity, gross and net profit margins, and more. With the right help, you can take home more at the end of the day.

Poor Management of Financial Records

If the management of your financial records is not adequately thorough, consistent, or organized, you won’t maximize the vitality of your business. This is essential for solving tricky fiscal issues or overcoming inevitable accounting challenges. From routine cash flow forecasts to monthly profit and loss statements, accounting paperwork isn’t always easy to stay on top of, and that’s OK. It’s exactly what a skilled external CPA is for.

Your Business Is Growing

Every business owner wants to achieve growth, but what happens when you get there? Expansion means changes in company structure, a larger team of employees, and other factors that add up to an increased and diversified array of accounting paperwork. A significant change in the size of your company is fantastic news, but it’s also the perfect time to bring in a business accountant to help you facilitate this growth as smoothly as possible.

Tax Burden Is Unexpectedly High

If you haven’t sought the right external assistance, tax bills could be draining more of your revenue than they should. You may not be up to speed on new tax rules and regulations affecting your business, there may be credits and deductions that you’re not taking advantage of, or you could even be getting hit with fines and penalties. Whatever the cause, if your tax burden feels to high, an entrepreneurial accountant can help relieve the strain.

Lack of Time or Manpower

Sometimes the business accounting challenges you face are as much a matter of losing time as they are a matter of losing money. Strengthening your company finances can be highly intensive work, and it’s best not to spread yourself or your internal staff too thin. If you really want to employ smart, airtight strategies that will add value to your business, the undivided attention of a dedicated chartered accountant will take the pressure off and get you real results.

What aspects of your company’s financial health need improvement? Whatever they may be, our entrepreneurial accounting team is eager to help you secure the stability and growth that you need. Send us a message to arrange a consultation with our accountants, free of charge!

Key Performance Indicators in Your Company Finances

Operating a successful business requires that you keep a finger consistently on the pulse of your company finances. In order to do this properly, you’ll need to recognize key indicators that give you a concrete and actionable picture of how you’re doing. Let’s look at some examples.

Revenue & Expenses

First and foremost, it’s critical to know what performance indicators are illustrative of your revenue and its relationship with your expenses. Calculating gross profit margin, for instance, will guide you in pricing so that you can make enough to pay expenses and end up with the profit you’re looking for. You’ll also need to monitor your net profit margin — which determines what amount of your revenue is profit — and of course, your net profit itself. Meanwhile, what do you have immediately onhand to cover expenses and fund operations? By subtracting existing liabilities from existing assets, you can determine this, your working capital.

What You Owe

A business has an obligation to pay employees, vendors, the CRA, and other creditors on time and without straining the assets of the company. There are a few KPIs to keep an eye on in this department. Your current ratio, for example, is calculated by dividing your current assets by your current liabilities, revealing how comfortably you can pay who needs to be paid. Additionally, accounts payable turnover is a useful metric for observing how promptly and reliably you meet these obligations, particularly when examined over time. This is calculated by selecting a time period and dividing its total costs by its average accounts payable.

What You’re Owed

Not only does your business have creditors to pay, it is also a creditor itself. Several indicators are designed to monitor the rate and consistency at which you’re paid what you’re owed. Try carrying out an accounts receivable aging report in order to ascertain the amount of time that each debtor takes to make good on their account. You could use this to determine the interest you should charge for outstanding bills. Accounts receivable turnover, which is calculated much the same way as accounts payable turnover, can also give you a broader look at this aspect of your cash flow and guide any corrections you make in managing receivables.

There are many more financial performance indicators that every Calgary business owner should be aware of. At Cook & Company, it’s our job to provide the knowledge and resources your company needs to perform at its absolute best. Call us at (403) 398-2486 to learn more!