Career Focus – Contacting Service Canada, One Way or Another

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I recently had to contact Service Canada about a Career Focus grant one of my customers wanted to apply for. Since there was no telephone number on the online application to call regarding questions and clarification on some questions I had, I searched online for a number for Career Focus. No number was listed, but the website said I could get assistance at my local Service Canada storefront location. Now considering the government wants to eliminate cheques to us by only using direct deposit, email us for tax follow-up and allow us to search for our personal and business history with them online, the concept of traveling for information seems pretty old school to me. But I packed up my documentation and questions and drove to my closest Service Canada location.

As soon as I said why I was there to the person at reception I was told they couldn’t help me, but they would locate a phone number to call. After about 5 minutes he called me to a bank of phones and said he had someone on the telephone line that could help me. The person at the other end said he could only answer a few questions if the application was in paper format. I said, once again, that I just needed some questions answered pertaining to the eligibility requirements. It is irrelevant whether the application is online or paper. After confirming I was calling from York Region Ontario, he proceeded to clearly answer 50% of my questions. He then told me he would transfer me to another number for clarification on the other questions; and that number related to filing the application online only. So in hopes of saving others valuable time and aggravation, here are the numbers for Career Focus support, along with frequently requested Government of Canada numbers.

Career Focus provides funding for employers and organizations to design and deliver a range of activities that enable youth to make more informed career decisions and develop new skills. It’s basically a grant for hiring youth between the ages of 15 and 30 (inclusive).

Applying in paper format 1.800.935.555
Online Application 1.866.945.7342

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Businesses and unemployed youth are struggling enough without the additional burden of convoluted application forms and no one to answer their questions. Hopefully this information will help.

As always I welcome your feedback. If you have additional direct contact information that you would consider sharing, please send it to me and I will be happy to post it – just click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Or, you can leave your information in the form of a comment right here on the site.

Until next time,

Maureen

CRA Taxes – Know Your Rights

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We’ve filed a large number of personal tax returns in the last few months, and customers for the most part have received their Notices of Assessments. But something else could be coming in one of those brown envelopes in the next few weeks – a request from the CRA for documentation or additional information. So whether the demand relates to personal or business taxes – know your rights.

Usually at this time of year Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is looking for receipts to substantiate deductions and credits. The most common are: Continue reading

Tenant & Landlord Rent Receipts – What you Need to Know

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I covered this topic briefly a few years ago but all through this past tax season numerous questions and situations continued to arise as to what is acceptable and what to do if audited by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) when it comes to tenant and landlord rent receipts. Here is some information on what you need to know and what you will need to supply if requested.

Since the credit varies by province I will address what the CRA across Canada requires and then for the province of Ontario only. Continue reading

Lying to Revenue Canada about Foreign Property or Investments?

Revenue Canada and Foreign InvestmentWhether you’re preparing your personal tax return for 2014, or having a tax professional do it for you, there’s a possibility you might be lying to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It’s so easy to skip, or say ‘No’ to the question on the information page – Did taxpayer own foreign property at any time in 2014 with a total cost of more than CAN $100,000? Foreign property is not limited to real property such a condo in Florida that you use for personal and rental purposes.

Specified Foreign Property (SFP) includes: Continue reading

3 Questions to Ask a Prospective or Current Bookkeeping Provider

bookkeeping expert NewmarketThis is the time of year when many small and medium size business owners decide they need to get a better handle on their bookkeeping. Perhaps you want to get your 2014 bookkeeping up to date and you don’t want to do it yourself, or you want to start 2015 with a professional taking care of your bookkeeping needs so you can focus on your business. As you move forward into the New Year, here are 3 questions to ask a prospective or current bookkeeping provider:

1.  Do you offer fixed price invoicing?

Fixed pricing is an agreement between you and your provider which details what and when you the customer, will supply your provider with information. It also details what the service provider will do with that information. Whether it’s: Continue reading

3 Problematic Responses to Probing Bookkeeping Questions

bookkeeper NewmarketIn the last few weeks I’ve had an unusually large number of inquiries about hiring us for our accounting, bookkeeping and tax services. And as much as business owners need to ask numerous questions (which I strongly encourage), I also have a responsibility to ask numerous, sometimes probing questions. This ensures that I can help them make informed decisions and give them a sense of direction if something is not correct. Here are 3 recent questions that I asked and the problematic responses. P = Problematic. Continue reading

Tax Audit from Hell? – Part 2

bookkeeper NewmarketA couple of weeks ago I thought this would be part two of a three part series, even though it was originally planned for two. But thankfully it appears we’re on the final leg of this very long and stressful journey. Let me take you back as to why this has been the tax audit from Hell.

In my previous blog, I finished with the auditor’s request for a 2011 personal breakdown of expenses and income. And, the income wasn’t just related to T4s and Child Tax Benefits. It related to every deposit made to all of their bank and investments accounts along with that of their children for all of 2011. The auditor wanted closing balances of all their accounts at 2010 and opening balances for 2012 which included but wasn’t limited to: Continue reading

Are you Prepared for an Audit from Hell? – Part ONE

bookkeeper NewmarketIn early May 2014 I received a call from a long-time client of mine. They just received a call from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) saying they were being audited for the year 2011. My client is sharp. He didn’t panic or get angry, but simply asked “how do I know who you really are based on a telephone call?” And, “I want your request in a letter before I do anything further”. My client also contacted their CA as they weren’t sure who was to do what, and what was to happen next. Little did we know this would become the Audit from Hell for both my clients and me. Continue reading

5 Tips & Tricks for QuickBooks Online (QBO)

QuickBooks Online Pro Advisor NewmarketIn the past month I’ve spent numerous hours training new and transitioning clients in QuickBooks desktop and QBO. While some are new to either version, I’ve found those transitioning from the desktop version to the online version experiencing a bit of a culture shock. To ease the transitioning hiccups, here are 5 tips and tricks for QBO to make the entering and retrieving of information go a little smoother.

1. In order for you to allocate the GST/HST in QBO you must first set-up Sales Tax. You do this by selecting the Sales Tax tab from the menu bar and follow the on screen guidelines. QBO then automatically adds two default accounts; GST/HST Payable and GST/HST Suspense. You cannot allocate a payment amount directly to the GST/HST Payable account. But, you can allocate it to the GST/HST Suspense account. If you can’t easily relate to the word Suspense you can rename it to something that will be more familiar to you i.e. Clearing. Continue reading

Time to Move from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online (QBO)?

QuickBooks Pro Online Advisor NewmarketI don’t know whether it’s customers getting into the fall routine, and their business mindset from disappointing summer weather, or the marketing Intuit is doing, but I’ve received a lot of inquiries from new and current customers about QuickBooks in the cloud. The question being; is it time to move from QuickBooks desktop to QuickBooks Online (QBO)? Continue reading