Are you a Real Estate Agent in York Region? In this busy real estate season, do you struggle with filing your own paperwork on time to avoid government penalties? Do you have a solid handle on your financial position? Did you know The Montana Group offers excellent bookkeeping services for Realtors?
In a May 9, 2014 Financial Post article I was surprised to learn that in the first quarter of 2014 the number of people selling real estate reached 108,706 according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. That’s one realtor for every 245 Canadians over the age of 19! The article also mentioned that there were almost as many people selling houses as making them. So what else do I know about Realtors and Numbers?
From my customers that are real estate agents I know that;
- They are frequently pressed for time,
- Their own paperwork isn’t as big a concern as their buyers’ and sellers’ paperwork is to them, and
- To those that haven’t been in the business very long, they hate the surprise of large amounts owing for personal tax and HST.
For some I do their bookkeeping quarterly, then calculate and netfile the HST for the same period. They receive Profit and Loss statements quarterly to review. This helps them keep an eye on their expenses and sometimes alerts them to some expenses that they didn’t submit receipts for, or are missing. It’s easier to request or print an online receipt within two or three months of purchasing, than twelve or fourteen months later. With the quarterly customers there are no surprises at year end. The tax returns are filed on time and the shock factor regarding the amount of HST due is kept to a minimum. For these Realtors, there is peace of mind.
For other real estate agents it’s a once a year project. With this currently being a sellers’ market the good agents are staying extremely busy and their paperwork is the least of their concerns. So if you’re a real estate agent what can you do to make the process smoother for yourself and the person that helps you with your HST calculation and personal tax return?
1) Get in the habit of putting all your receipts in the same location – whether it’s an accordion file folder, or one desktop folder for online purchases or scanned receipts.
2) Separate your receipts by month. When separating you expenses and receipts by month you’ll be able to see if the monthly broker’s report is missing along with any other monthly charges.
3) When you get your bank or charge card statements highlight which ones are for your business and put them in the monthly folder.
4) Set aside time in your schedule to make sure you have the receipts for the expenses you’ve highlighted on the statements
5) Consider a quick training session in software like QuickBooks online or the free version of Wave. This is cloud based software.
6) You can enter receipts for anywhere, anytime. Pull them out of your wallet, glove compartment or purse and enter them while waiting to meet a client. And get a little stamp that you can mark when the receipt is entered. That way there is no confusion when you run across the paperwork again, or get interrupted, and don’t know whether you’ve entered it or not.
7) If you use software it can be shared with whoever does your personal tax return and HST remittance calculation. The availability of sharing makes it easier for everyone.
You want your numbers entered accurately and in a timely manner. There’s nothing worse than working the long hours for those commission cheques then paying penalty and interest because you didn’t file with Canada Revenue Agency on time, or you couldn’t locate the receipts and your taxable income was more than it should have been.
If you’re a real estate agent that has a system that works well for you I would love to hear from you. Or, if you are in need of help or find the process tedious and time consuming, we are here to help! You can reach us by phone or email, leave a comment right here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.
Until next time,