Income tax laws are extensive and can be confusing for an individual starting a business. This chapter does not cover all the tax ramifications of a new business; however, it provides some guidance on complying with the laws. An accountant or tax lawyer should be consulted when you are dealing with income taxes. Income taxes have a direct and potentially significant impact on the cash flow of your business.
Income Tax Forms
Each type of legal entity is required to file a different type of income tax form.
- Corporation. A corporation is considered a taxable entity and is required to file a federal T2 Form and possibly a provincial tax return.
- Partnership. A partnership is not a taxable entity. It is treated as a conduit through which taxable income is passed to the individual partners for inclusion in their respective tax returns. A partnership may be required to file a T5013 Partnership Information return. A partnership is required to file a return if:
- at the end of the fiscal period, the Partnership has revenue plus expenses of more than $2 Million, or
- has more than $5 Million in assets, or
- the partnership has a corporation, trust or another Partnership as a partner.
- Sole Proprietorship. A sole proprietorship is considered to be a component of the individual’s personal T1 tax return. The tax form required is the T2125.
Allowable Business Deductions
As a rule, you can deduct any reasonable current expense you paid or will have to pay to earn business income. The expenses you can deduct include any GST/HST you incur on these expenses, less the amount of any input tax credit claimed. Some common deductions are as follows:
More specific information can be found on the CRA website.
New corporations do not have to make instalment payments until your second year of operation. Generally your instalment requirement will be based on your last year’s taxes owing, so if you didn’t owe tax in your first year, then you don’t have to make instalments in your second year. Additionally, if your taxes owing were under $3,000, then you also don’t have to make instalments. If instalments are required, individuals need to make payments on a quarterly basis, and corporations monthly (in some cases quarterly is permitted). Should you have an instalment requirement but don’t pay your instalments, the Canada Revenue Agency will calculate instalment interest owing on your next notice of assessment. This interest is non-deductible for corporate tax purposes, so if you cannot pay your instalments you should consider borrowing the money to make your instalment payments, as the interest on the borrowing would be tax deductible. If your instalment interest ends up being more than $1,000, then the CRA may also charge an instalment penalty in addition to the interest.
Instalments can be paid in many different ways – CRA My Payment, online banking, pre-authorized debit, credit card, cheque, wire transfer, or in person at your financial institution or at a Canada Post outlet with a personalized remittance voucher.
Estimates are filed using:
- Corporate Remittance form T7DR
- Individual Remittance form INNS3
Proper tax planning is essential in order to make the most of the income tax laws. You will probably need to develop a relationship with a qualified professional who has experience with the taxation of your type of business. Tax planning is not a one-time shot right before the return is due. Tax planning is a year round endeavor requiring communication from both you and your accountant. Proper planning ensures that there are no surprises when the return is filed.
Provincial and Foreign Taxes
If your company will be doing business in more than one province/territory or country, it is essential that you familiarize yourself with the tax laws and filing requirements of those jurisdictions as each has its own rules and regulations.