Author Archives: Allan

Another Increase in the QST Sales Tax Rate

On January 1, 2012, the rate of the Québec sales tax will rise from 8.5% to 9.5%. The new rate will apply to taxable supplies for which the QST will be payable as of January 1, 2012.

The QST is compounded on top of the 5% GST. The new effective combined sales tax rate is 14.975%.

The rules for determining when the QST will apply at the rate of 9.5% depend on the nature of the good or service supplied and the type of supply made.

For more information on how this increase affects your business, please consult Revenu Quebec’s website link.

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When I Grow Up, I want to be a Tax Accountant!

It’s Friday so we decided to post something funny to lighten up the mood heading into the weekend. YES, all this is true and YES we love dealing with this stuff on a regular basis! Enjoy!!

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How Many Credit Cards Does a Person Require?

Having the right number of credit cards can really affect your credit score, but you may be wondering if you have too many or too few. The truth is that there is no perfect number of credit cards you should have or a mathematical function to help you figure out the right number for you. The most important thing to remember with credit cards is that it doesn’t matter how many you have. What will make a difference in your credit score is how you manage them.

Thanks to the recession, banks are now looking for many new cardholders, so it is much easier to be approved for a credit card now more than ever before. However, just because it may be easier to get a new credit card doesn’t mean you actually need to apply for one. You can have a great credit rating if you only have one credit card or even if you don’t have a card at all. The important factor here is how you use the credit you are given.

Those consumers who have decent credit scores usually follow three rules.

  • They fully pay all of their bills on time.
  • They keep a low balance on the credit cards they have.
  • They only take on new credit obligations when absolutely necessary.

Those who follow these guidelines can consistently build great credit over time and don’t have to worry about their number of credit cards.

One of the factors to remember when deciding how many credit cards you need is that your credit score could suffer if you don’t have enough credit information. If you don’t provide the credit bureau with enough information, they may not feel comfortable with your ability to make payments on time, which could cause them to lower your credit score. In this way, no credit can be just as troublesome as bad credit.

On the other hand, if you have too many credit cards, the credit bureau may think that you are a risk as well. People with more credit available to them are more likely to go into debt. Therefore, their credit score may suffer the consequences. Websites such as TransUnion Canada can help you keep track of your credit score as well as provide tips and advice on how to maintain good credit.

If you want to build a credit history, but you don’t want to have credit cards, there are other options for you. Paying a mortgage or student loan will show lenders that you are responsible and capable of handling other types of loans, and that good behavior will improve your credit rating.

Be very careful when you decide to open new lines of credit. Your credit score can fall for a period of time when you apply for new accounts. So if you want to apply for a loan or some other major credit obligation sometime soon, then you probably shouldn’t be applying for credit cards as well.

To answer the question “How many credit cards does one person need?” I have researched articles written by many experts, and they all seem to say the same thing. Three to five credit cards is generally acceptable because this number of accounts will give the credit bureau enough information for a proper analysis of your credit habits, and the card holder is still able to maintain a decent level of credit card manageability. If you don’t have three, you should probably open a few accounts as long as you can use them wisely. If you have more than five, however, closing the extra accounts isn’t the best idea. The credit bureau views older accounts as more reliable sources of information, and closing some of your accounts could lower your average credit card age. Therefore, the information from your remaining credit cards could be less valuable, and closing the accounts probably won’t help improve your credit score. Instead, stop applying for new accounts and keep all of your balances very low from month to month so you can show the credit bureau that you can be responsible, even with multiple cards.

Amy Young is an author working for a financial education company. Her articles relate to various topics including business, finance, and important credit card information for consumers.

 

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Denmark levies the world’s first fat tax

Denmark Saturday became the first country in the world to impose a fat tax after a week in which consumers hoarded butter, pizza, meat and milk to save a few dollars.

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Xero Certified Advisor

Better Tax Services is delighted to be a certified advisor for Xero – a new web-based accounting system that enables small to medium sized businesses to work in partnership with their accountants and business advisors.

We will still continue to support our clients who use a wide range of both online and desktop based accounting software we see this partnership with Xero as a great opportunity to attract new clients but also a great way of getting more involved and more collaborative with our existing clients.

Have a look at the video below which is a great introduction to Xero.

If you do have any questions regarding Xero and are considering using it as your accounting system then please get in touch. We’re more than happy to offer any advice and support that get’s you up an running with Xero in no time.

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What is the Quebec Prescription Drug Insurance Plan?

In Québec, everyone must be covered by prescription drug insurance. Two types of insurance plans offer this coverage:

  • Private plans (group insurance or employee benefit plans)
  • The public plan, that is, the one administered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec.

If you are eligible for a private plan, you must join that plan and provide coverage for your spouse and children. Only those persons who are not eligible for a private plan must register for the Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan.

Administered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec, the Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan is a government insurance plan offering basic prescription drug coverage. It was set up in 1997 to cover all Quebecers who are not eligible for a private plan.

The insurance plan helps cover a portion of the cost of prescription drugs purchased at the pharmacy. Below is an example:

EXAMPLE
A $60 prescription presented at the pharmacy on July 1, 2011

Monthly deductible

Monthly
co-insurance

Contribution paid by the insured person

Amount paid by the Régie

Fixed amount paid when making the first drug purchase during the month. 32% of the cost of the prescription minus the deductible Total of the deductible plus the co-insurance Cost of the prescription minus the contribution by the insured person

$16

$60 – $16
=
$44 x 32 %
=
$14.08
$16
+
$14.08
=
$30.08
$60

$30.08
=
$29.92

Generally speaking, persons covered by the public plan must pay a premium, whether or not they purchase prescription drugs. The premium is collected every year by the ministère du Revenu du Québec when income tax returns are filed. For example, the premium for 2011 will be collected in the spring 2012, when income tax returns for the 2011 taxation year are filed. Persons who pay a premium to the public plan must complete Schedule K of their Québec income tax return.

The amount of the annual premium varies from $0 to $563 per adult, depending on net family income. This amount is in effect from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012.

Source – Regie de l’assurance maladie Quebec:   http://www.ramq.gouv.qc.ca

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New Payroll Services

As an added value to our clients, Better Tax Services has decided to partner with NEBS PAYweb.ca for all your payroll needs.

Why Choose NEBS PAYweb.ca for your Payroll Services?

  • Established in 1967, NEBS PAYweb.ca is Canada’s longest serving and most trusted payroll specialist allowing us to excel in customer satisfaction and customer support. PAYweb has been trusted by Canadian companies from coast-to-coast for over 40 years. Their clients range in size from 1 employee to 1000 employees. They can accommodate businesses with employees across Canada.
  • View the NEBS PAYweb.ca flash presentation for an overview. 

NEBS PAYweb.ca is a perfect payroll solution to:

  • Reduce cost
  • Increase efficiency
  • Ensure compliance
  • Increase accuracy
  • Increase accessibility

NEBS PAYweb.ca Payroll Services offers:

  • Online inputs
  • Real time calculation
  • Remote printing – Reports & Stubs
  • e-Stubs
  • Unlimited Accruals
  • Customer Satisfaction

Find out how much money you can save a month! Get a free, no obligation quote and let NEBS PAYweb.ca become your payroll experts!

Patrice Edouard
Payroll Specialist
1-877-461-5006 Ext 2472
pedouard@nebs.com

*Ask Patrice about his special offers and don’t forget to mention that you’ve been referred by Better Tax Services!

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ING Direct $25 Bonus!

Recently, I was doing some research on high interest savings accounts and when I came across ING Direct, I noticed that they are offering a sign up bonus of $25 when depositing $100 initially. So I thought, what the heck, I’ll sign up for an account and review the service for my clients, and the $25 sign up bonus doesn’t hurt either.

What is ING Direct?

ING direct is an online bank (covered by CDIC) similar to other online savings accounts. That is, you do most your basic banking elsewhere, but you can transfer money back to forth to ING’s savings accounts to take advantage of their relatively competitive interest rates. There are no fees on ING direct’s accounts.

Account Offerings

TFSA – ING Direct is currently offering the highest interest rate on a TFSA in Canada at 2%. In addition to regular savings TFSA, they offer mutual fund and GIC TFSAs.

High Interest Savings - ING’s high interest account is similar to the PC Financial account except with a slightly higher interest rate. This is the account that I opened to claim my $25 freebie.

Chequing – ING’s newest THRiVE chequing account pays up to 1.10% of interest on daily balances. This account is most similar to any other chequing account from any of the major banks without fees!

Business Savings Account – ING offers incorporated business, sole proprietorship’s and partnerships a high interest savings account. This account can be used to set aside excess cash or for short term investments. Current rates are 1.25% as if the publish date of this article. There is no minimum amount for this account is perfect for all small businesses.

The Sign up Process was painless and very quick. All they needed was basic information along with basic banking info from which the client who will be transferring money from. After that, a cheque needs to be mailed in to verify banking information. From the beginning to end, the whole process took about 3 business days, with about 20 minutes worth of “work”.

$25 ING Direct Sign-up Referral Bonus

In order to get the $25 ING Canada freebie:

1.Start your application.

2.When the form asks, use the orange key code 35870202S1 (new)

3.Deposit at least $100 with your initial bank verification cheque .

After your account is opened, you’ll notice the $25 bonus appear in your transaction history. Note that the code above is good for only fifty uses, so use it while you can. I don’t expect it to last long.

Anyone else with ING Direct? What has your experience been like?

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Late Tax Filing Interest and Penalties

Interest

If you have a balance owing for 2010, the Canada Revenue Agency charges compound daily interest starting May 1, 2011, on any unpaid amounts owing for 2010. This includes any balance owing if your tax return is reassessed. In addition, you will be charged interest on the penalties starting the day after your return is due. The rate of interest charged can change every three months. See prescribed interest rates.

If you have amounts owing from previous years, the CRA will continue to charge compound daily interest on those amounts. Payments you make are first applied to amounts owing from previous years.

Penalties

If you owe tax for 2010 and do not file your return for 2010 on time, the Canada Revenue Agency will charge you a late-filing penalty. The penalty is 5% of your 2010 balance owing, plus 1% of your balance owing for each full month that your return is late, to a maximum of 12 months.

If you were charged a late-filing penalty on your return for 2007, 2008, or 2009 your late-filing penalty for 2010 may be 10% of your 2010 balance owing, plus 2% of your 2010 balance owing for each full month that your return is late, to a maximum of 20 months.

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The Cost of Canada’s Constitutional Monarchy

There is a lot of media hype surrounding the upcoming marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton in the British Royal Family. Many people are looking forward to what dress Kate will be wearing, how the ceremony and celebration will play out and who will end up attending the wedding. Reports state that an estimated audience of two billion people will tune into the wedding on the morning of April 29, 2011.

With all this attention surrounding the Royal Family, Canadians are beginning to wonder if we are paying for any of this. I did some research and found a very interesting report from the The Monarchist League of Canada dated from July 2009.

SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Canada’s Royal Family and Vice-Regal officeholders together undertake significantly more than 4,000 engagements a year.
  • The report calculates that the total cost of the Canadian Crown in 2007 was $50,146,896 or $1.53 per Canadian.
  • The Monarchy costs residents of the United Kingdom (a unitary state of compact size) a total of £38 million in 2007 ($76.7 million, or $1.26 per person).
  • By way of comparison, the Canadian Monarchy costs Canadians less than the Senate ($2.45 per person), about the same as the National Gallery of Canada ($1.43 per person) and a little more than the Library of Parliament ($1.02 per person).
  • The same accounts indicate that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation cost Canadians $1,114,053,000 ($33/Canadian).
  • The current Civil List for the Belgian Monarchy is €13.8 million ($22.6 million) or $2.18 per Belgian resident. The 2007 budget accorded the Spanish Royal House by the Cortes was €8.66 million ($14.4 million) or $.35 per Spanish resident.

Overall, the cost of Canada’s Sovereign and eleven Governors is comparable to the monarchies of other Western nations. 

Source: The Cost of Canada’s Constitutional Monarchy

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