It’s important for a business to remember to include their business number (GST/HST number) on their sales invoices. ¬†This is a requirement by the Canada Revenue Agency, and failing to include can actually trigger a CRA review or audit.

There is actually a rather useful table that they have provided in their RC4022 General Information guide.  This table, which I have posted below, instructs you on what information is required for different dollar value of sales.

If, for whatever reason, the table doesn’t display properly in your browser, you can access this same table by going to¬†http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/gp/rc4022/rc4022-e.html#P490_40780.

Information required Total sale under $30 Total sale of $30 to $149.99 Total sale of $150 or more
Your business or trading name or your intermediary’s name checkmark checkmark checkmark
Invoice date or, if you do not issue an invoice, the date on which the GST/HST is paid or payable checkmark checkmark
Total amount paid or payable checkmark checkmark checkmark
An indication of the total amount of GST/HST charged or that the amount paid or payable for each taxable supply (other than zero-rated supplies) includes GST/HST at the applicable rate checkmark checkmark
When you supply items taxable at the GST rate and the HST rate, an indication of which items are taxed at the GST rate and which are taxed at the HST rate checkmark checkmark
Your Business Number or your intermediary’s Business Number checkmark checkmark
The buyer’s name or trading name or the name of their duly authorized agent or representative checkmark
A brief description of the goods or services checkmark
Terms of payment checkmark
Note: Intermediary of a person for a particular supply means a registrant who, under an agreement with the person, causes or facilitates the making of the supply by the person.

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Change is in the air. The Canada Pension Plan, that so-called pillar of Canada‚Äôs retirement income system, is in line for a major over-haul. Every three years the Canada Pension Plan gets reviewed by the collective wisdom of the federal, provincial and territorial finance ministers. On May 25, 2009 these Finance Ministers proposed to update the CPP to “better reflect the many different paths people take to retirement today.”

Note that these changes will not affect anybody already receiving their Canada Pension.

Currently, you can choose to take an early retirement pension at the age of 60.  In order to take an early retirement pension, you must currently either stop working for a month, or reduce their earnings for two months in a row.  Their is no need to stop working or reduce your  earnings if you wait until you are 65 to begin your Canada Pension.  Under the proposed changes, you will no longer need to reduce your earnings or stop work to take an early pension.  This is obviously good news.  Many people who wanted to take an early retirement pension found it rather difficult to take a whole month off work, or cut their earnings way back for two whole months.

Another positive change is to increase the ¬†low earnings drop out provision. ¬†Currently, when you initially apply for your Canada Pension, they will drop out 15 percent of the years when your income was low (e.g. you didn’t work that year, had low earnings, or whatever.) ¬†By dropping those low income years, your Canada Pension will be higher since it isn’t being dragged down by those ¬†low income years. ¬†Under the proposed ¬†changes, they will begin to drop out 17% of the low income years.

The next proposed change is quite radical.  At this point, when you begin receiving your Canada Pension, you also stop paying Canada Pension premiums.  That means that you simply stop into the system.  Under the proposed changes, if you take an early pension (between the age 60 Р64) you will be required to continue paying into CPP if you are still working.  And, if you are 65 or over, you have the option to continue paying into CPP.  By doing so you will increase your pension benefits.

The last proposed change is probably the least beneficial.  Currently, if you take an early retirement pension your pension is reduced by 0.5% per month that the pension is taken before your 65th birthday.  That will be changed to a reduction of 0.6% per month.  On the flip side, you are currently allowed to delay starting your Canada Pension until as late at age 70.  By delaying it, you will currently increase your pension by 0.5% per month.  That is proposed to be changed to an increase of 0.7% per month.

I’ve never yet heard of anybody delaying their Canada Pension past age 65. ¬†I’d be curious to see what the stats are, showing what the average age is of a Canada Pension applicant. If anybody has access to these stats please let me know.

Also, please be aware that these proposed changes will be rolled out gradually over a few years.  For full details and some interesting examples, go to http://www.fin.gc.ca/n08/data/09-051_1-eng.asp

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The HAPPY Act?


October 21st, 2009

For today’s trivia laugh, try this one: ¬†Republican Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan wants pet owners in the States to be able to¬†deduct animal care expenses from their taxes. ¬†I’d love to have a loonie for each time a tax client has asked me, with their tongue planted firmly in their cheek, if they can claim their pet on their tax return. ¬†If McCotter has his way, this will become reality for American’s. ¬†Of course, as this article points out, there are thousands of bill introduced each year that go nowhere. ¬†My guess is this will be one of them.

It wouldn’t be just a tiny claim either: The bill proposes to allow up to $3,500 in costs to be claimed! ¬†I haven’t ever done the math, but I hope I never spend this kind of money on my dog in one year. ¬†Maybe I’d want a tax break too if that’s how much I was spending!

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Simply Accounting 2010


October 19th, 2009

Simply Accounting 2010 is out. ¬†I’ve been using it for a week or two now, and have formed some impressions.

Really, not much has changed from Simply Accounting 2009. ¬†As ¬†promised, data files do open a bit faster. ¬†That’s sure nice.

They changed the Purchases and Sales screen, giving them a whole new look and ¬†feel. ¬†It’s supposed to be faster to enter data into the screens, but so far I haven’t ¬†noticed that I get much more done! ¬†One interesting touch is a new “Print and Post” button, that lets you Print and Post a sales invoice with one click.

Supposedly the process to set up a new company file has been made easier……. I haven’t done this yet so I can’t comment.

That’s pretty much it. ¬†Not exactly a must-have upgrade.

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