Personal Tax Return Checklist

Here at Danielle’s SOS Financial we are committed to providing you with the largest tax refunds you deserve and finding every tax deduction you are eligible for.

To make sure you don’t miss something, and to help you get every deduction and credit you can, we’ve prepared this handy checklist.

Essentials and General Items

  • Current contact information, including SIN numbers, of the entire family
  • Last year’s tax return
  • Last year’s spousal return
  • Last year’s notice of assessments for the entire family
  • Key life events in recent years – marriage, child, new home, etc
  • Child care expenses
  • Investment income T5 slips
  • Medical, dental and other private health care expenses
  • T2202A for tuition and education amounts
  • Public transit passes
  • Details on any matrimonial or child support payments, if applicable
  • Direct Deposit information, if changed from last year
  • TFSA statements and contribution receipts
  • RRSP statements and contribution receipts
  • Confirmation on foreign property holdings
  • Information on any property, stocks or other assets bought and sold
  • T4E for income from Employment insurance
  • Charitable donation receipts
  • Interest paid on student loans
  • Political contributions

Employees

  • T4s, T4As, T4RSPs, T4RIFs and other tax slips
  • T2200 for Home Office eligibility signed by employer
  • Home Office expenses: utilities, mortgage, stationary, other purchases, etc
  • If eligible for motor expenses, details on kms driven for work
  • Professional dues, insurance, union dues (not reimbursed by employer)
  • Moving expenses (not reimbursed by employer)
  • Tools purchases documentation for trades people
  • If commissioned salesperson, documentation for advertising, promotion, meals & entertainment and other expenses
  • New motor vehicle purchase details and other motor vehicle expenses
  • Legal expenses related to employment or child support amounts

Small Business Owners & Sole Proprietors

  • Software backup of bookkeeping records
  • Manual records of sales and expenses if books are not kept in a software
  • Partnership agreement, if applicable, along with profit sharing perentage
  • Vehicle expenses used in business – vehicle cost, mileage, maintenance, etc
  • Key contracts and agreements summary or soft copy of conracts
  • Details on capital assets purchased and sold during the year
  • Home office expenses, similar to employment section above
  • Inventory count records – last year and end of current year, if applicable

Rental Property Owners

  • List of units owned with address and ownership percentage
  • Expenses on each unit, categorized by expense type – such as, mortgage interest, real estate agent fees, utilities, cleaning fees, management fees, property tax, office expenses, etc
  • Copies of all rental agreements
  • Rental income details for each unit
  • Details on capital additions (greater than $500) categorized by unit

Bookkeeping vs. Accounting

Did you know we do both!

–Bookkeeping vs. Accounting–

If you’re a small business owner, you might be wondering if you need to get a bookkeeper or an accountant – or both.

And now that you understand the need for bookkeeping, you’re might be wondering, “How does it differ from accounting?”

Good question.

The words “bookkeeper” and “accountant” are often used interchangeably. However, there are some key differences that determine the main responsibilities of each role.

–Bookkeeping is a Subset of Accounting–

37883981_2140118849644035_5128132333710344192_n.jpgAn accountant, professional bookkeeper, or an employee of the business can do your bookkeeping.

If you’ve just started a business, chances are you’ll be doing the bookkeeping yourself.

This is no bad thing. When launching a new business venture, it’s crucial that you have an intimate grasp of your financial situation. What better way than to do the bookkeeping yourself?

Essentially, bookkeepers take care of the day-to-day financial work.

They keep detailed and accurate financial accounts and use this financial clarity to help make informed business decisions.

–Accountants are Financial Experts–

Accountants are usually qualified, registered members of a statutory association. So they often have titles like CPA (Certified Public Accountant) or CA (Chartered Accountants).

That’s how they can charge the big bucks.

These experts will use the accounts provided by the bookkeeper. They focus on analyzing the transactions to provide financial advice.

They’ll also use the information in the accounts to file tax returns and other reports.

Whereas bookkeepers handle the day-to-day financial tasks, accountants often step in on a quarterly basis to provide advice and make adjustments.

COVID19 Resources – Personal & Business

General Information:

The unfortunate reality of today is a lot of people are losing shifts, being laid off, etc because of COVID-19. If you require financial assistance at this time, you can find information below on ways the Federal Government is trying to help you through these tough times.
Dedicated EI Phone Line: 1-833-381-2725

Government of Canada Website Resources:

  • COVID-19 updates
    Current cases, risk to Canadians, monitoring, news and updates
  • Prevention and risk
    Social distancing, self-isolation, hygiene, how COVID-19 spreads, infection risks, false claims
  • Symptoms and treatment
    Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, about coronaviruses
  • Being prepared
    Planning, prescriptions, essentials, caring for those who are ill, communication
  • Travel advice
    Travel advisories, returning travellers, safety abroad
  • Canada’s response
    Economic and financial support, Government of Canada’s actions, Canadian collaboration

Personal:

Federal government programs

Albertans may also be eligible for financial supports through the federal government:
  • Provides up to 15 weeks of income replacement for eligible Albertans who are unable to work due to illness, injury or quarantine (self-isolation).
  • One-week waiting period is waived for people in self-isolation.
Emergency Care Benefit (launching April 2020)
  • Provides up to 15 weeks of $900 bi-weekly payments to workers without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children.
  • Eligible parents will receive $300 more per child with their regular May CCB payment.
  • Provides low- and modest-income Albertans with a one-time special payment in May of up to $400 for single people and $600 for couples.
  • The required minimum withdrawal from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) will be reduced by 25% in 2020 in recognition of the impact of volatile market conditions on many seniors’ retirement savings.
  • Protecting Alberta’s families and economies (March 18, 2020)

Business Resources:

COVID-19: Changes to our in-office experience – March 24th

We’re in an unprecedented time and the safety of our clients, our associates, and our communities are more important than ever before. On Wednesday March 18th, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Revenu Quebec (RQ) extended the tax deadline to June 1, 2020, which is welcome news for those who are adjusting to their new situations.

At Danielle’s SOS we are working tirelessly to make sure our clients get their refunds, while also getting access to government benefits and credits. As many other businesses, we are taking measures to help flatten the curve and practice social distancing, while continuing to serve you.

Drop-Off Only: Taxes can only be dropped off at offices as of Tuesday March 24, 2020. 

We made the decision to move to a secure, Drop-Off model across Canada effective today, March 24, 2020. This is to support the safety of our associates and clients by enforcing social distancing in our offices. If you typically meet with one of our tax experts to prepare your return, now you will simply bring your documents to our office and our tax experts will prepare your return without you having to wait. The tax expert will call you with any questions to complete your return. 

We can email you our personal tax intake by emailing us at admin@daniellesosbookkeeping.com 

We are doing our best to minimize any disruption while protecting your safety which remains a priority for us.

Bottom line is: we’re here to help and there are many ways we can get you the refund you really need at this time.

As this situation changes day-by-day, hour-by-hour, we will continue to evaluate how we can best help people get their refund, while we try to keep everyone safe.

Thank you for being a client of Danielle’s SOS Bookkeeping Services. We appreciate your understanding and support as we do our best to navigate through this pandemic.

 

How to send digital documents? 

All drop offs and digital documents can be scanned and emailed to admin@daniellesosbookkeeping.com

You can also share a Google Drive or Dropbox File with us

This applies to all personal and corporate clients! 

 

Bookkeeping & Accounting Clients: 

Our bookkeeping & accounting staff are still working remotely to continue to serve your business. 

Year end pickups will now be moved to a digital conversation. We will email you all your financial documents to review and explain via phone call all the numbers. 

Personal Tax Clients: 

Our personal tax specialists are going to be cycling through and working on all drop off files!

Points to remember:

We can pull all your government slips from CRA

Please send us additionally via scan or photo by email – Donation receipts, child care receipts, Medical receipts, union dues, 

 

Payments:

In order to assist our clients we will require payment on your invoices and this can be sent via e-transfer to admin@daniellesosbookkeeping.com, or via creditcard over the phone or by authorization through email. 

We are committed to looking for the safest and most effective ways to serve our clients and we appreciate your patience and understanding in this time of crisis. 

Your business is very important to us and we will continue to do our best to answer your questions and address your concerns. 

 

 

Sincerely

Danielle Pilon – CEO & Owner

Danielle’s SOS Bookkeeping Services Ltd

11804 45 ST NW Edmonton AB T5W2T4

Phone: 587-754-2910

Can I Still Get Life Insurance After a Heart Attack?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that people with a history of illness like heart disease would have a more difficult time getting approved for life insurance than those who are healthy. But the key word here is difficult, not impossible.

If you’ve had a heart attack, knowing what to expect when you apply for term life insurance will greatly increase your chances of getting good coverage.

What Do Insurance Providers Need to Know?
The key is being open and honest when dealing insurance companies. Don’t withhold information from them, as they will probably require a medical exam anyway, in which everything will come out. You should be prepared to answer the following questions:

  1. When were you diagnosed?
  2. Do you have any underlying issues that caused the heart attack?
  3. How often do you visit your doctor?
  4. What treatments were recommended to you?
  5. What treatments have you had? (Including surgery and medications)
  6. Has your condition improved since first diagnosis?

What If I Have Had Multiple Heart Attacks?
If you have a more serious form of heart disease and/or have had multiple heart attacks, it’s still possible for you to get approved for coverage. You just have to be aware of what your options are. You may not end up with the amount of coverage that you want, but some companies do offer standard or regular term (in some cases substandard) life insurance policies for people with this kind of health history. If traditional coverage is not available, a high-risk life insurance policy or graded benefit term may be necessary.

What Kind of Rates Can I Expect?
Every person’s case will be different, so it’s impossible to say exactly what rates you will be offered. However, for an idea of what you can expect, let’s look at an example.

Kyle is a 43-year-old man who has had two minor heart attacks in his lifetime, although not in the past several years. He is also a non-smoker, which puts him in a better light with insurance companies, and his most recent medical tests show that his condition has improved.

Due to this he will be able to get a life insurance policy, though because he has had multiple heart attacks he may only be offered regular rates or substandard rates rather than regular plus or preferred.

For a $150,000 policy with a 20-year term, Kyle will likely be offered rates between $35 and $70 per month. On the other hand, if Kyle decides to apply for a $100,000 policy for only a 15-year term, the rates he is offered will likely decrease by $10 to $30.

As you can see, it is possible for people to get life insurance coverage after a heart attack. The key is knowing what to expect before you apply.

5 Things Millennials Need to Know About Life Insurance

Being catapulted into the adult world is a shock to the system, regardless of how prepared you think you are. And these days, it’s more complicated than ever, with internet access and mobile devices being must-have utilities and navigating tax forms when they aren’t as “EZ” as they used to be.

Maybe you’re still living with your folks while you get established. Or maybe you’re looking forward to moving out of a rental and into a house or to tie the knot. Life insurance might be the last thing on your list of things to deal with or even think about. (You’re not alone.) But here are five things you might not know about life insurance—that you probably should.

1. Life insurance is a form of protection. If you Google “life insurance” you’ll get a slew of ads telling you how cheap life insurance can be, without nearly enough information about what you need it for. That’s probably because it’s not terribly pleasant to think about: this idea that we could die and someone we care about might suffer financially as a result. Life insurance provides a financial buffer for the people you care about in the event something happens to you. Think just because you’re single, nobody would be left in the lurch? Read the next point.

2. College debt may not go away. Did someone—like your parents—co-sign your student loans through the bank? If so, the bank won’t discharge that debt upon your death the way that the federal government would with federal student loans. That means your parents, or others who signed the paperwork, would be responsible for paying the full balance—sometimes immediately. Don’t saddle them with the bill!

3. If you don’t know anything about life insurance, it’s probably better if you don’t buy it off the internet. It’s what we’re used to: You find the thing you need or love on Amazon or Ebay or Etsy, click a few buttons, and POOF. It arrives at your door. But life insurance is a financial planning product, and while it can be as simple as a 20-year term policy for less than a cup of coffee each day (for real!), going through your options with an insurance professional can ensure that you get the right amount for the right amount of time and at a price that fits into your budget. And many people don’t know that an agent will sit down and help you out at no cost.

4. Social fundraising only goes so far. This relatively recent phenomenon has everyone thinking that they’ll just turn to GoFundMe if things go awry in their lives. But does any grieving person want to spend time administering a social fundraising site? The chances of going viral are markedly slim, and social fundraising sites will take their cut, as will the IRS. And there is absolutely no guarantee about how much—if any—money will be raised.

5. The best time is now. You’ll definitely never be younger than you are today, and for most of us, the younger we are the healthier we are. Those are two of the most important factors for getting affordable life insurance coverage. So don’t delay. The key is taking that first step.

4 Ways to Get Financially Fit in Your 40s

Many people in their 40s are facing an uncomfortable fact: They simply aren’t where they’d hoped to be financially. Fortunately, all their life experience can help correct for past mistakes.

“There’s a different trigger moment for everybody,” says Jay Howard, financial advisor and partner at MHD Financial in San Antonio, Texas. “But regardless of when it comes, people find themselves looking down the barrel of a gun as they consider retirement.”

One challenge is that it’s impossible to advise 40-somethings based on tidy “life stage” demographics. Some are just starting families, while others are sending offspring to college. They’re married, single, divorced, and just about everything in between.

But for those still grappling with financial instability, these four principles can help in moving forward with confidence:

1. Acknowledge what you’ve done right. 
It could be one great decision sandwiched in between some fails, or just a single good habit that can mitigate the impact of a host of wrongs.

Take the example of Kiera Starboard, a 46-year-old controller at a San Diego software firm. A mom to two adult sons and a teenage stepson, she always made having sufficient life insurance—both term and permanent—a priority, the result of her previous training as a financial advisor. “Even if it was tight, I made the payments,” she says. “It was a priority for my family’s sake, and for my own peace of mind.”

Unlike the 40% of Americans who have no life insurance, Starboard was protected when the unthinkable happened last August. Less than two years into her marriage, her husband, Steve, was killed while riding his motorcycle to work—one month after they purchased a small, additional life insurance policy to supplement his employer coverage.

“To have had to deal with financial stress on top of everything else, it would have been unbearable, incapacitating,” says Starboard. “My stepson and I are certainly in a much better position today than we would have been, had Steve and I not followed the advice I used to give to others.”

2. Take action to shore up the decades ahead. 
For many, the hardest part can be learning to put your own long-term future first—sometimes for the first time in your life.

“I see people focusing on their kids’ college savings, and not enough on retirement or an emergency fund for themselves,” says Starboard. Many advisors point out that kids can borrow for college if necessary, but no one can borrow for retirement.

The most important step is clear, says Howard: “You must have a written financial plan, period. Because that plan will dictate what you must do to be successful for the entirely of your life.

“The financial plan is your road map,” he continues. “In it will be your portfolio requirements, your savings goals, and your insurance-related needs.”

Finally, make sure your plan takes inflation into account, commonly estimated at 3% a year. Says Howard, “Inflation is the silent assassin that eats away at your nest egg.”

3. Apply the hard-fought wisdom you’ve gained.
“Treat the numbers determined by your plan—such as monthly savings—as bills that need to be paid,” advises Howard. When money comes in, it’s easy to start thinking of a new kitchen or a trip to Tulum. “Just be patient and keep the bills paid.”

Using that wisdom also applies to the big stuff. As the executor to her husband’s estate, Starboard has held back making any major decisions. “In a prior loss, I committed to real estate transactions and other things prematurely. At the time, it really felt like the right thing to do but my grief clouded my perception. I had a painful, expensive learning lesson.”

4. Focus on your shining future—really.
Forward thinking is an essential part of your financial plan, says Howard. “Get help really envisioning what kind of retirement you want. For each aspect, really drill down. For instance, where do you want to live? Do you want to be near your grandkids? Will you have the money to go see them? How often? It’s not just financial planning, it’s life planning.”

If all that forward thinking feels presumptuous, Howard recalls the eminently quotable Yogi Berra, who once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.”

And finally, remember the simple refrain: it’s never too late.