It may seem distant, but tax season will soon be upon us! It’s time to gather your receipts and organize your documents in preparation for filing your business tax return. Sole proprietorships use the same tax schedule as individuals, so returns are due on April 15. If your business is a corporation or a partnership, the return is due on March 15. Canada Revenue Agency offers a number of tax deductions to business owners. Some are deductible at 100% while you may only claim a portion of others. The following are some deductions you’ll want to keep in mind as you file your business taxes this year.
- Capital cost allowance: When your business purchases items such as buildings, computers, computer equipment, vehicles and/or a franchise, you can depreciate these articles over time providing a tax benefit for several years.
- Bad debts are debts that remain unpaid after you have exhausted all means to collect. The CRA allows you to claim bad debts except those which are for a mortgage or resulting from a conditional sales agreement.
- Start-up costs are costs incurred preceding the start of business operation and can be claimed as an expense.
- Fees, licenses and dues: You can claim fees for professional licenses, professional service fees and professional association fees (membership in a trade or commercial association).
- Use of home expenses: If you operate your business from home, you can claim a portion of the following: interest on your mortgage, electricity costs, home insurance and heating costs.
- Delivery, freight and express: You can claim fees for services such as mail and delivery.
- Fuel costs: You can deduct the cost of fuel (gasoline, diesel, propane) motor oil and lubricants used in your business. This does not include fuel used in your motor vehicle.
- Insurance: You can deduct all business insurance policies such as general business liability, business property insurance, business interruption insurance and fire insurance. You cannot deduct the insurance for your motor vehicle or your life insurance premiums.
- Interest and bank charges: You can write off any interest you have incurred on money borrowed for business purposes or to acquire property for business purposes and bank charges which are given when processing your payments.
- Maintenance and repairs: You can deduct the cost of labour and materials for any minor repairs or maintenance done to property you use to earn business income.
- Management and administration fees: You can deduct any fees you paid to have your assets and investments managed.
- Meals and entertainment: When you attend a convention, conference, or similar event you can claim up to 50% of the cost for food, beverages, plane tickets, hotel rooms and gratuities. When you take a client to an entertainment or sporting event, you can claim 50% of the cost of tickets, entrance fees, cover charges, food, beverages, gratuities and room rental for a hospitality suite.
- Motor vehicle expenses: If you incur expenses through the use of your personal vehicle for business purposes, you can claim those expenses by keeping an accurate log of use. If your business owns a vehicle or a fleet of vehicles, you can claim fuel, insurance, parking, repairs and maintenance.
- Legal, accounting and other professional fees: You can deduct the fees you incurred for external professional advice and/or services such as accounting and legal fees.
- Prepaid expenses are expenses you pay ahead of time such as yearly rent and can be claimed.
- Office expenses can be deducted such as the cost of pens, pencils, paper clips, stationery and stamps.
- Other business expenses are expenses you incur to earn income that are not included on a previous line of your claim such as disability-related modifications, computer and other equipment leasing costs, property leasing costs, convention expenses, allowable reserves private health services plan (PHSP) premiums and undeducted premiums.
- Property taxes: You can deduct property taxes you incurred for property used in your business such as taxes for the land and building where your business is located.
- Rent: You can deduct rent incurred for property used in your business such as rent for the land and building where your business is located.
- Salaries, wages and benefits: You can deduct gross salaries and other benefits you pay to employees but not a salary paid to yourself or your business partner.
- Supplies: You can deduct the cost of items your business used indirectly to provide goods or services such as drugs and medication used in a veterinary operation, cleaning supplies used by a plumber, supplies used to manufacture a product or software used to supply a service.
- Telephone and utilities: You can deduct costs for telephone and utilities (gas, oil, electricity, water, and cable) if you incurred the expenses to earn income.
- Travel: You can deduct up to 50% of travel expenses incurred to earn business and professional income such as public transportation fares, hotel accommodations and meals.
- Cloud Computing Service Fees: Cloud computing provides access to business data and applications from anywhere, at any time, on any mobile device and may be claimed as a business expense.
- Donations: Don’t forget that you can claim donations made to registered charities, registered Canadian amateur athletic associations, registered national arts service organizations, registered Canadian low-cost housing corporations, government bodies, registered municipal or public bodies, registered universities, certain registered foreign charitable organizations and the United Nations.
- Advertising: You can deduct expenses for advertising and promotion, including amounts you paid for business cards and promotional gifts. You can also deduct expenses for advertising in Canadian newspapers, on Canadian television, Canadian radio stations and online or digital advertising.
When in Doubt: Check with your accountant or with the Canada Revenue Agency if you’re in doubt about the tax deduction potential of a particular business expense.
Allowable tax deductions are constantly changing. If you’re not aware of or don’t understand all of the deductions possible, don’t despair! Get in touch with your CPA. No matter what type of business you operate, what size your business is or where you operate from, your CPA will ensure that you receive all the deductions you’re entitled to. Let your CPA help you determine how much you can save this year.
For all your tax needs contact Cook and Company Accountants. Whether you operate a sole proprietorship or a sizable corporation with multiple subsidiaries, we can use our experience and expertise to make tax time a breeze. Contact us to request a meeting.