Platinum Books and Five Star Accounting is here to support students pursuing higher education

Unless their parents put in place planning for post-secondary education students will owe close to $30,000 upon graduation. It is estimated 74% of students will owe this amount when they graduate and most will need even further training to be successful in their chosen field. In addition the cost of tuition for a number of specialized professions has dis-proportionately risen in recent years – putting these students at risk for even higher debt loads upon graduation.

Many students fear they may not find a high enough paying job/career to effectively pay down their debt and cover day to day expenses. If you find yourself or someone you know in this situation refer them to a debt management professional such as your financial adviser.

If you have any questions feel free to contact us at

Greg Libbrecht, President
Platinum Books and Five Star Accounting

Habitat for Humanity – Ride Around the Lake 2018

Platinum Books / Five Star Accounting is proud to be a supporter of Habitat for Humanity. This is a great organization that provides a hand up to families that have earned the privilege. These families are very thoroughly screened and personally put in hundreds of volunteer hours helping build other homes in addition to their own home. Each year since its inception – 12 years ago – Greg Libbrecht has been part of Ride Around the Lake. Greg will be riding his road bicycle on Sept 14-16 2018 to support Habitat again this year – Click Here https://www.habitat.mb.ca/events-ratl/donate.cfm?kwofrid=J72MS27 to help us help Habitat – Thank you in advance for your support.

Office Hours for the months of July and August

I hope everyone is enjoying the excellent summer weather we are having.

We just wanted to let everyone know our office hours for the months of July and August.
Monday to Thursday 0830 to 430pm
Fridays 0830 to 1pm

Have a great summer!
Greg Libbrecht, President Five Star Accounting & Platinum Books

July Long Weekend

In order to celebrate our country’s birthday – our office will be closed for the July Long Weekend returning to work Tuesday July 3. Thank you for your business and placing your trust in us, and enjoy the long weekend

– Greg Libbrecht, President Platinum Books & Five Star Accounting

June_22_Blog

Tax Filing Deadline for Unincorporated Business Owners

Midnight June 15 is the tax filing deadline for unincorporated business owners and their spouses, and the official end of tax season. Failing to file and pay the taxes due by June 15 results late filing penalties and interest. File by midnight June 15 and avoid the 5% late filing penalty plus 1% per month on the outstanding balance for up to 12 months. If you are delinquent on paying for the second time within three years, that penalty goes up to 10% of the outstanding amount plus 2% per month for up to 20 months.

Making Instalment Payments to CRA

We often get the question from our clients “Why do I have to pay tax instalments?”

If you had tax owing of more than $3,000 in the prior tax year, the Canada Revenue Agency requires that you make recurring income tax payments (otherwise referred to as instalments) by a specific date.

These recurring payments are tax instalments based on income earned in the current calendar year and remitted to the government, much like an employee has tax withheld on each pay cheque by their employer. These payments are applied to the income tax that will be owing by April 30th of the following year.

There are three options available for instalment payments:
No calculation method – this method is best used when your income, credits and deductions remain consistent every year; CRA uses this amount in the instalment reminder and it is based on the last two taxation years.

Prior year option – instalments are based on the prior year tax return. This method is most suitable if your current year income, credits and deductions are similar to the prior year amount, but differs from the amount two years prior. CRA provides a calculation chart for instalment payments on their website, you can link to it by clicking here.

Current year option – This option should be considered if your income, credits and deductions are significantly different in the current year than in the two previous years. In this case, the instalment payments are based on the net tax owing on your estimated current year income along with CPP contributions and voluntary EI amounts. To assist you with the calculation, CRA provides a calculation chart for instalment payments on their website (see link above)

If you decide to use the prior year option or the current year option and make the payments in full by their due dates, CRA will not charge a penalty or instalment interest unless the amounts calculated are too low.

It is important to note that if you estimate the tax owing for the current year will be less than $3,000, you are not required to make instalment payments, even though you may receive reminder notices from CRA.

If you would like to discuss instalment payments or need further clarification on this article, contact us at Five Star Accounting. If you would like to know more about our accounting and bookkeeping services, click here.

EI Eligibility – What Happens When a Family Member is Employed?

There are over 1.2 million small businesses in Canada, and for many of these businesses it is a family affair.

Many small business owners are, unfortunately, unaware that if an employee on the payroll is related to the business owner, the employee may not necessarily qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. As such, it is possible that both the employee and the small business are paying EI premiums for a benefit to which the employee will never have entitlement.

There are numerous ways that an employee can be considered related to the employer:

  • The employer and employee are married (or common-law),
  • The employee is adopted, or
  • If there is a blood relationship (parents, brother, sister, children).

There are no rules that prevent relatives from working together, but there are rules about the EI insurability that should be considered in order to ensure that the correct source deductions are being withheld from the employee’s pay cheque. If the CRA determines that the employment situation is not EI Insurable, payment of EI premiums is not necessary and the employee will not be eligible to collect Employment Insurance in the event of employment ending.

If you aren’t sure of your situation, either the employee or the employer can request a ruling from the CRA by sending a letter or a completed Form CPT1, Request for a Ruling as to the Status of a Worker under the Canada Pension Plan or Employment Insurance Act to your local CRA office.

If you would like to discuss EI eligibility for you or a family member or need further clarification on this article, contact us at Five Star Accounting. If you would like to know more about our accounting and bookkeeping services, click here.

Vacation Pay and Vacation Time Explained

Employers and employees often experience confusion when discussing vacation pay and vacation time. While there is some flexibility for employers, there are legislated rules that need to be followed and policies clearly communicated.

With some minor exceptions such as farmers or salespeople whose income is based solely on commission, ALL employees start earning vacation pay on the first day of employment.

In Manitoba, the minimum vacation pay earned by employees is 4% of gross wages from their first day of employment, and increases to 6% after completing five years of employment with the same employer. For a full time employee, 4% vacation pay equates to two weeks of working time and 6% equates to three weeks. Employers may choose to offer higher rates.

Gross wages include all regular wages (including hours paid as commission, salary, hourly, bonuses tied to productivity, and any other wages paid as compensation for the regular hours of work) and any general holiday pay. Overtime wages, wages in lieu of notice, and the previous year’s vacation wages are not included in the calculation of gross wages.

Vacation pay can either be paid to employees on each paycheque, or alternatively, accrued to an account on behalf of the employee. The first method is particularly suited to part-time employees, whereas full-time employees tend to prefer to have their vacation pay “saved” for them. The method of payment is selected by the employer.

When vacation pay is paid on each paycheque, employees are still entitled to take time off as vacation, however, they would not receive additional vacation pay while taking vacation time.

When vacation pay is accrued to an account on behalf of the employer, the employee can “draw” on the account when they take vacation time so that there isn’t an interruption in earnings. Vacation pay must be paid no later than the last day of work before vacation time starts and within 10 months of earning it. If an employee is terminated, the vacation pay “account” must be paid in full to the employee. Employers cannot use vacation in lieu of a notice period when terminating employment.

Employees are eligible to take vacation time after they have completed one year of work and must either take their vacation within 10 months of it being earned or the vacation account paid out. Employees and their employers can agree on when vacation will be taken.

In the event that an employer and employee cannot agree on when the vacation will be taken, the employer sets the vacation date. The employer must give the employee 15 days’ notice before the vacation is to be taken and cannot divide the vacation into periods shorter than one week. Employers can choose to schedule their employees’ vacations as part of an annual shut down.

Some employers allow their employees to take vacation time in the following year if it is not used. Employers should take care not to create a situation where an employee has a significant amount of vacation pay accrued that would then create an extended period of absence from employment; workloads must still be managed.

If you would like to discuss vacation time or vacation pay or need further clarification, contact us at Five Star Accounting. If you would like to know more about our accounting and bookkeeping services, click here.

Karin Sparrow Award

Karrin Sparrow Plaque

Sadly, on October 24th, 2014, one of our colleagues Karin Sparrow passed away after a courageous battle with cancer.

Karin was a senior accountant with Five Star from 2011 until her passing. She was a terrific individual who represented the Five Star core values at work and in the community as good as anyone.

As a result, Five Star Accounting has created the Karin Sparrow Award which will be presented annually in May to an employee deemed to best represent the Five Star Core Values:

  • Knowledgeable
  • Hardworking/Problem Solver/Takes Initiative
  • Accountable and Dedicated to Five Star Accounting
  • Honest and demonstrates integrity
  • Accurate and efficient

A plaque defining the award and showing past recipients will be displayed in our reception area. As well, the recipient will receive a cash award and a crystal that may be proudly displayed on their desk for one year.

Karrin Sparrow Crystal

Please assist us in congratulating Vivian Sigurdson for being selected as the first recipient of the Karin Sparrow Award.

We look for input from staff and clients. If one of
Five Star Accounting’s employees has performed above and beyond for you, please do not hesitate to let us know! You may do so, by completing the
Five Star Employee Recommendation form.

Tips from an accountant, how to grow your business

Grow your businessManaging your finances is one of the most crucial aspects to running your small business effectively. Without a steady stream of cash flow, your business may not grow as you hope and may even end up in bankruptcy. Keep track of your finances and follow these tips to help make sure your business is profitable.

Get your customers to spend more

The most important factor you need to consider when thinking about increasing sales is your customers. Without customers your business would not be able to run. How can you get new customers, keep current ones and increase sales through each transaction? Determine what products and services you offer will get new customers in the door. Then review their needs to see where you might be able to offer more to increase revenues per customer.
You should also think about creative ways to market your products and services to make sure people are aware of what you do and that your offer stands out from the competition.
Remember, your reputation depends on what customers think about you. Make sure you are achieving a high level of customer service to each one of your customers and clients.

Receivables

For quick payment on invoices, consider asking your clients to preauthorize cheques or keep a credit card on file. This way banks can draw against their accounts at timed intervals. As a thank you, you may want to offer discounts or incentives for clients that pay their bills within a specified time period.

Outsourcing

If you are currently managing your own finances, you should consider outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping. Hiring a professional will ensure that you avoid any mistakes that can happen when filing taxes at the end of the year. Also, any tax breaks that you may qualify for will not be missed. Late filing penalties will not be incurred.

Take control

The success of your business depends on your financial situation. If you would like to discuss how we can help take control of your business finances and achieve your financial goals contact Five Star Accounting today. We will set you free from your accounting and bookkeeping necessities allowing you more time to do what you do best and grow!