Self-Employed? Learn How to Get a Head Start on Your Tax Return

The first few years of business are an exciting time. If you’re like most new business owners, you’ll have been busy organizing, building, and growing your new venture. But keeping track of all your receipts and invoices is also an integral part of this. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your self-employed tax return and get the most out of your relationship with your accountant.

When should I submit my information?

Since March and April are busy for accountants, try to send your information in by the first week of March. Avoiding the rush gives you adequate time to get all your documents together, review them with your accountant, and avoid the stress of last-minute or overdue tax payments.

Do I need to submit all my receipts?

Not always. While you must keep receipts for every expense you claim, often a well-prepared list helps speed up the process. If you keep your receipts on hand instead of sending them, follow-up questions and discussions can be handled more easily. However, sending asset receipts immediately is a good idea so they’re on file in case you sell the asset later on.

Can I submit electronic files or set permissions for online accounting software?

If you track your income and expenses using desktop software like Excel or QuickBooks, you can submit copies electronically using Dropbox or other secure file-sharing sites. 

If you use a cloud-based application, like Xero or FreshBooks, you can give your accountant permission to access files. Reviewing them can often help uncover issues that could raise a red flag with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide the opportunity for an in-depth analysis of your business’s financial position and tax planning advice.

When do I deal with GST and PST filings?

If you need GST and PST returns prepared, simply send your filing notification to your accountant as soon as it arrives. This document contains your business number, filing period, and deadline. Many clients appoint their accountant as an authorized representative with the CRA. This enables them to access your accounts online, follow up on your filings and notify you if any issues arise.

What other information should I send?

Sending a brief year-end summary outlining your challenges, successes, and questions is a great way to set the stage for a more efficient and productive tax preparation process. We know dealing with your business can be challenging, but filing your taxes doesn’t have to be.

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