Tax Tips for Businesses


The income tax savings resulting from transferring income from an individual in the highest marginal tax bracket (i.e., yourself) to a spouse in the lowest tax bracket can be as much as  $14,375 or more. If the transfer is made to an adult child, the tax savings can be over $11,000 per year!.  Consider paying your family members officially for their involvement in your business!

The benefits of income splitting are tremendous. However, these salaries must be reasonable. They are considered reasonable if you would be paying an arm's length person the same amount for the same work. When income is earned in your spouse's or child's hands, their RRSP deduction room is increased, allowing them to make their own RRSP contributions.

Here is a table showing corporate income tax rates for various types of income :  2017 Corporate tax rates


A Canadian controlled private corporation can take advantage of the small business limit on active business income, thereby paying a combined federal/provincial tax at a rate of approximately 15%, as compared with 26.5% for general corporations.

The federal business limit on income subject to the small business deduction is now $500,000. 


Incorporating your business is the smart option if you are at the point where your business is successful and you will not need to take out all the earnings for your own personal salary. Money that is left in the corporation can be taxed at much more advantageous rates than money earned personally.

Also, if you are planning for your business will be sold in the future, it is best to incorporate and own shares of your company. This way you can take advantage of the $813,600 capital gains deduction on disposition of qualified small business shares.

Please note that this involves a lot of planning and thought and should be handled by a professional so as not to mess it up.



If your business is not incorporated, it's doesn't matter if you pay yourself a salary or not, since you and your business are considered  the same entity as per Canadian tax laws. Your tax will be based on your net earnings that must be reported on a Statement of Business Activities on your personal tax return. You will be responsible to pay both sides (employer and employee portions) of the CPP on your net earnings.



If your business is incorporated, tax planning is needed in deciding whether or not you should pay yourself a salary. Paying a salary requires that you deduct income taxes and CPP from your gross pay and remit monthly to CRA (as any employer would). As a shareholder of the company you are exempt from EI. A T4  should be prepared for you at the end of the year. You can also choose to pay yourself and other family members (depending on the share structure) a dividend. Dividends are paid from after tax dollars from your corporation. Depending on your income and the amount of dividends paid, you may not have any additional personal tax to pay on the funds. You should get professional advice to ensure this is handled properly.



Purchase necessary equipment, furniture, automobiles etc. before your next fiscal year rather then waiting until the new fiscal year. You get to claim 50% of the year's amortization (a.k.a. Capital Cost Allowance) on that asset even though you purchased it on the last day of your fiscal year.



Companies earning more then $30,000 in gross revenue must open an HST account. If you have not earned that - you don't have to register. HOWEVER, if you have start-up costs and many new business have plenty of them,  you can recoup the HST you paid on all these costs ONLY IF you are registered for HST.  Therefore, it makes sense to register right away and not wait.



It's important to keep items of a personal nature off the business books. The easiest way to do that is to use a separate credit card for your business expenses.  That way, you a) seem more professional to CRA and b) help to ensure that you are not forgetting expenses, which is really easy to do if you use many different avenues of paying for business expenses.



If you have fallen behind in filing your corporate taxes and HST returns there could be hefty penalties if you owe money to the CRA.  Luckily there is a program that may help to eliminate the penalties associated with late filed returns.  In order to qualify, you must meet ALL of the following conditions:

     * The disclosure must be voluntary. You must take action before CRA does.  If they have contacted you, it is too late.

     * A penalty applies to the disclosure.  You are aware that you owe tax and that there will be a penalty due to late filing. You cannot use this program if you do not owe tax.

     * The information and returns are at least one year overdue.

     * The information is complete and accurate.  This means that you only get one change to make full disclosure. 



You are free to give your employee's gifts twice per year and at a maximum of $500 each without it being taxable to the employee.



The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program is a federal tax incentive program designed to encourage Canadian businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to conduct research and development (R&D) in Canada. The program is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), which delivers SR&ED tax incentives in a timely, consistent and predictable manner, while encouraging businesses to prepare their claims in compliance with Canada’s tax laws and the CRA’s policies and procedures.

The benefits of the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive Program are twofold. First, it lets you deduct SR&ED expenditures from your income for tax purposes. Second, it provides you with an SR&ED investment tax credits  investment tax credit (ITC) that you can use to reduce your income tax payable calculated under Part I of the Income Tax Act, if any. In some cases, the remaining ITC can be refunded. this happens very often in small/mid sized businesses and the result is a hefty refund - the government's way of encouraging continued R&D in Canada.

I can help you with these claims.



The rule of thumb is that an expense is deductible if it is reasonable and incurred in order to earn business income. The amount you can deduct in a given year depends on whether the expense is considered a current expenditure or a capital expenditure.  Current expenditures do not have a future benefit and occur on an annual basis, ie, office supply purchases, rent, travel expenses etc.  Capital expenditures refer to purchases of assets that have a useful life extending beyond one year - ie, an automobile, a computer system, leasehold improvements, equipment, etc.  These expenses are capitalized to a company's balance sheet (ie, they appear as company assets on a balance sheet) and are written off over the course of a few years  - this is called amortization / depreciation of capital assets.



If you behind in filing taxes, please keep the following in mind:

it is NOT illegal to owe CRA money, but it IS illegal not to file your taxes.

It is VERY important to file your taxes. CRA has a lot of power. They can garnish your receivables, freeze your corporate bank accounts, put lien's on assets etc.

If you have not file, you should.  You should also make every effort to be nice to your collections officer and work out the best payment plan you can before they start enforcing their powers.






Copyright 2019 Rita Zelikman