Advantages of Filing Online Taxes

Most of our life happens digitally today, and not just communication and entertainment. We receive almost all of our important documents from bank statements to bills via the Internet. So why haven’t we shifted our taxes into the digital age with us? It’s been slow going but thankfully with the CRA NETFILE system taxes can now be done online. Accountants back this digital filing system and here are all the advantages of using it.

What is NETFILE?

NETFILE is the online tax filing system that is used by the CRA. It’s a free system of Canadian taxpayers. As long as you have an Internet connection, a completed tax return, and a four-digital NETFILE access code (that can be found on your T1 personal income form) you are good to go.

Security

People always worry about doing anything important over the Internet because of security. In this instance, don’t worry about privacy or security. The CRA and NETFILE use the most advanced encryption available in North America. Your financial data will be safe and secure, only to be seen by yourself and the CRA.

Errors

Accountants say another advantage to filing online is that there are fewer mistakes and errors made. NETFILE will actually tell you if there is an error in your taxes when you try to upload it. This gives you a chance to double check and fix the error before submitting. This isn’t a luxury that one gets with pen and paper taxes. It saves you from having to made amendments later on. Flagging these errors before submitting also lowers to chances of an audit.

Speed

Filing your taxes online is way faster than doing it with paper even if you have an accountant helping you. In addition to filing being quicker, you also get your returns earlier. Refunds can be set up with a direct deposit and received in as little as eight business days. By comparison, it usually takes anywhere from four to six weeks to get refunds when filing with paper.

Tracking and Organizing

Filing your taxes online means you have a permanent electronic record of them. This will keep them nice and organized. If you ever need to access them later on or have proof of them they can be conveniently located. It saves you time and stress that comes with digging through piles of old papers looking for the right ones.

More Refunds

Accountants’ say that people who file online tend to bet more refunds back. When you file online you get a chance to see what tax credits and deductions are available to you. If someone files on paper without an accountant they often miss out of these opportunities.

Conclusion

There are so many benefits to filing your taxes online. There’s ease, speed, along with greater refunds and less stress. Contact us today to get help with your taxes or if you have any more questions about filing taxes online.

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Myths About Audits

Taxes are already stressful, but the threat of an audit makes it that much worse. It doesn’t help that there are so many myths and falsehoods floating around there about audits. Here are the 5 most common ones that we’ve debunked.

Myth 1: Filing Online Increases Your Chance Of Being Audited

There is no evidence that backs up this up. This myth stems from the fact that when you file online you can’t file paper recipes or tax slips. That means that when the CRA needs these documents they will send a request for them. Many people interpret this as an audit when in fact it’s nothing more than a simple routine verification. Filing online is actually great because there are fewer errors and you get your returns quicker.

Myth 2: Amending Your Taxes Means Getting Audited

Most people file an amendment when they realize they have made an error, put in a wrong figure, or forgot to add something. Some people won’t file amendments though because they are worried this will increase their risk of an audit. An amendment will be screened, but so are your initial taxes. This is a chance to explain what mistake you made. This can actually help you avoid an audit.

Myth 3: The CRA Will Show Up At Your Door

Here’s the thing, the CRA can show up at your door but they only do that after sending you a notice and scheduling an appointment. In some audit cases, they need to inspect one’s home and or workspace. Most audits take place entirely through the mail, though. If anyone contacts you online or shows up claiming to be the CRA and you haven’t received a written letter then it’s probably a scam.

Myth 4: Getting Audited Means You Did Something Illegal

People have this perception that people only get audited when they do something illegal. Sometimes that’s true, but in most cases, people get audited because of simple mistakes. Hiring an accountant is a good way to avoid this.

Besides errors, there are a ton of other reason people get audited. It could be a secondary audit, your business might have made more than the average, or the CRA could dispute the one portion of a claim you made. An audit is a chance to argue your case, not that you immediately did something wrong. Sometimes the CRA even audits at random. Audits are stressful enough without the stigma.

Myth 5: Audits Are Horrible Experiences

This myth stems from a history of truth. In the past, tax agencies were cruel, ruthless, and unnecessarily harsh. They earned a reputation that has stuck long after serious changes were undertaken. Today, the CRA is more focused on working with people rather than against them. An audit isn’t pleasant but it doesn’t have to be horrible. To make an audit go as smooth as possible by being cooperative, compliant, and honest. Hire a chartered accountant to help you out if you’re too scared to do it on your own.

Conclusion

Audits are stressful and can be scary but they’re not the end of the world. Honesty goes a long way when it comes to an audit. Contact us today if you need help with your taxes or an audit.

 

Getting Audited? Here’s What You Should Know

Getting audited by the CRA (Canadian Tax Revenue) is scary. It’s the stuff of nightmares. There are multiple reasons why your personal or business finances have been audited. The best thing to do with an audit is to cooperate and be honest. Here is everything you should know about getting audited.

Audit Reasons

There are tons of reasons you could be getting audited. Cash businesses such as restaurants get audited more frequently than others. Businesses that claim to make more than the industry average for the year are also at a higher risk of being audited. The CRA also has audit projects, where they will target certain industries that have a higher non-compliance rate.

You could also be audited because of a something called a secondary review. That is when the CRA audits you because you are a spouse, investor, and supplier of a company or individual that is undergoing a main audit. This is done so that your records match the ones of the main audit. The CRA will also do random audits. Always make sure you are compliant because being resistant will only make things worse.

Audit First Steps

The first thing that will happen during an audit is that you will be contacted by the CRA. Make sure you receive a written notice to make sure it’s a legitimate audit and not a scam. Ask them for a list of documents they want and work on compiling them. Make sure to contact your chartered accountant to get their aid with this.

Documentation

Certain documents will be required during a CRA audit. Sometimes all of them are requested and other times its only specific ones. Receipts, bank statements, income forms and other documents will be requested. Work with your accountant and bank to make sure you get everything they ask for.

Addressing Problems

The CRA should be clear about what issue they want to resolve with an audit. Maybe they disagree with you about income or expenses you claimed. Maybe the car expenses you claimed aren’t accurately documented. The key to a smooth audit is to show valid reasons and support for your claims.

Results

All issues will be resolved at the end of an audit. You might have to pay a balance or you might not owe anything else. The CRA will send you a document letting you know. You and your accountant will have some time to decide if you accept their results or if you want to challenge them.

Conclusion

An audit is scary but it isn’t the end of the world. Stay calm and honest. The best thing to do is consult your accountant at every step of the way. It’s important to remember that just because you’re being audited doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. Stay compliant and things will work out. Contact an accountant if you have been contacted about an audit.

Accounting Software Comparison: Xero vs. QuickBooks Online

Inuit’s QuickBooks Online has dominated the accounting software for years. Recently, another competitor has arisen to challenge them- Xero. QuickBooks Online still has the majority of the market share, but Xero is growing at the same rate of them now showing it to be a worthy competitor.

Many small business owners see these two programs and wonder what the difference between the two are. They both offer similar features but there are a few differences between them. To help you determine which accounting software is right for your small business we’ve compared them to you.

Cloud Accounting

Both software is cloud-based accounting ones. Cloud accounting is when financial data is remotely stored in cloud servers. There are many benefits to cloud accounting. Cloud accounting has increased security, tends to be cheaper, and allows for remote access and real-time updates. So whether you choose Xero of QuickBooks Online you will get the benefits that cloud accounting offers.

Users

When it comes to QuickBooks Online and Xero, the number of allowed users is one of the biggest differences. Xero offers an unlimited amount of users, no matter what subscription package you have. Unfortunately, QuickBooks Online only allowed one, three, or five users depending on the plan you have. If you have a small business that requires multiple people to use the accounting software then Xero might be the option for you. Adding additional user to QuickBooks Online can quickly become pricey.

Use

Neither Xero nor QuickBooks Online would be so popular if they weren’t so easy to use. Both of them offer easy navigation, a nice layout, and tons of useful features. Many accountants say that Xero is slightly better when it comes to ease of use though. A common complaint about QuickBooks Online is that they have some unnecessary navigation steps and minor bugs.

Pricing

Pricing is a big factor for small business owners when it comes to choosing bookkeeping software. It is a little difficult to compare Xero and QuickBooks Online, as their packages don’t always offer the same things. QuickBooks Online offers a great deal for a company that needs the bare minimum for bookkeeping. For more comprehensive plans, though, Xero offers far more for a lesser price.

Customer Service

Customer service and support says a lot about how a company cares about their clients. Luckily, both Xero and QuickBooks Online have good customer service. In the past people had some issues with QuickBooks Online but Inuit appears to have listened and fixed those problems. Both have proven to be great at fixing small issues. Accountants and clients say Xero does slightly better when it comes to solving bigger issues as they have a faster response time and representatives that know what they’re doing.

Security

A common concern small businesses have about cloud accounting is software. Accountants swear by cloud accounting software such as QuickBooks Online and Xero though. Both companies excel at making sure your small businesses financial data stays safe. Between secure data centers, encrypted passwords, and authorized accounts your information will be safe and protected.

Verdict

Both Xero and QuickBooks Online are great options for your small business accounting needs. Xero pulls ahead in some categories but QuickBooks Online has years of experience. If you’re still having a hard time deciding between the two ask one of our accountants which one would be better for your small business.