The Montana Group – Offering Bookkeeping Services for Realtors

Newmarket bookkeeping services for realtorsAre 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,


Canadian EI (Employment Insurance) and Family Members

Canadian EI rules for familyWith the T4s being processed by CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) and PIER (pensionable and insurable earnings review) reports now being mailed, this is the time of year when CRA questions if there is a conflict with EI and Family Members.

Last week a client of mine received a PIER report requesting that he pay the employee’s EI that wasn’t deducted on the earnings shown on the T4, and the employer portion of the EI. When preparing payroll in the summer of 2013 he didn’t deduct EI from his daughter’s earnings, but the T4 showed insurable earnings and no contribution.  His question to me once he received it was “Why do I have to pay EI on my daughter. She’s only 14 and I don’t have to pay it on my wife?”

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QuickBooks Tips and Shortcuts


Whether you’re trying to catch up on your 2013 bookkeeping in preparation for 2013 tax returns, or have decided this is the year to do the bookkeeping correctly, I thought sharing these QuickBooks tips & shortcuts might make your life easier.


General Key
Cancel ESC
Display information about QuickBooks F2
Close QuickBooks ALT + F4


Activity Key
Account list, display CTRL + A
Delete cheque, invoice, transaction, or item from list CTRL + D
Invoice, create CTRL + I
Use item list, CTRL + U
History of A/R or A/P CTRL + H
Memorized transaction list, display CTRL + T
New invoice, bill, cheque or list item CTRL + N
Memorize transaction or report CTRL + M
QuickReport on transaction or item list CTRL + Q
Go to register or transfer account CTRL + G


Moving around a window Key
Previous filed SHIFT + TAB
First item on list or previous month in register CTRL + PAGE UP
Last item on list or next month in register CTRL + PAGE DOWN
Close active window ESC or CTRL + F4
Beginning of current field HOME
Ending of current field END

On the weekend I was cleaning out some files and came across some QuickBooks correspondence. It seems I’ve been a QuickBooks ProAdvisor since August 2000.  I’ve seen some great improvements over the years, and some that I wish they had never touched.  So whether it’s an older version you’re working with or QuickBooks 2014, I’m hoping the tips and shortcuts make your recording of transactions a little easier.

As always, I’d love your feedback. Have questions or need help? I’d love to connect with you. You can reach me 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,


Living Gluten Free and Your Canadian Tax Dollars

gluten freeAs we prepare for the avalanche of paperwork and questions regarding 2013 Personal Tax Returns, educating the customer is one of our primary goals.  As the trend to living gluten free continues, it is a lifestyle choice for some and a necessity of life for others.  So how do living gluten free and your Canadian tax dollars possibly affect you or someone you know?

According to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), persons who suffer from Celiac Disease (gluten intolerance), are entitled to claim the incremental costs associated with the purchase of gluten-free (GF) products as a medical expense.

So what does incremental cost mean? It is the difference between the costs of a GF product compared to a similar non-GF product.  An example would be the purchase of a loaf of bread.  If the price of a GF loaf of bread is $6.79 and a non-GF loaf is $3.59 the incremental cost would be $3.20. ($6.79 – $3.59).

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QuickBooks Check-up Service – Are You Audit Proof?

financial auditAre you doing your own bookkeeping or currently paying someone to do it on your behalf? Have your ever questioned whether everything is done correctly and whether you could survive a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) audit?  And if it is being done correctly, have you ever wondered if there are possible additional deductions or expenses being missed that could help you reduce your tax liability, whether corporate, personal or HST taxes? Then maybe this is the time to book your QuickBooks Check-up Service.

With more than 25 years combined experience using various QuickBooks versions and editions, plus more than 25 years of preparing personal tax returns, we feel confident that our QuickBooks Check-up Service will help you.  Just like your car maintenance and dental appointments it’s better to do preventative maintenance than emergency service. You can then spend time doing what you do best in your business, and move forward with confidence and peace of mind.

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Payroll – In-House or Service Provider?

PayrollAs payroll calculations and T4 preparation become more specialized each year, clients frequently ask the question; should we do payroll in-house or should we subscribe to a service provider? As owners and bookkeepers try to make sense of the ever changing rules regarding taxable benefits and T4 reporting, there are a number of considerations.

If you want to keep the payroll in-house you can use the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA)  payroll deductions online calculator, subscribe to desktop payroll software like QuickBooks or Sage, or use one of the cloud based payroll systems.

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Changes to QuickBooks 2013 Payroll Expiry for 2014

QuickBooks 2014 ChangesQuickBooks has changed the payroll automatic updates cut-off at the calendar year end, December 31st, if your QuickBooks version is not the same year as the new calendar year. So, for example, if you subscribe to the monthly updates, including payroll, and you’re working in QuickBooks 2013, the payroll expiry date no longer extends to June 2014.

You will now either need to download or install QuickBooks 2014 or manually download the 2014 Canada Revenue Agency payroll updates from the QuickBooks website.  Either way, the update is effective to June 30, 2014.

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Gifts for Employees – The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Way

bigstock-close-up-of-man-hands-holding--47323045You want to reward your employees for their hard work and loyalty during 2013.  Here are ideas and tax issues you need to be aware of when giving gifts to employees and the CRA way of accounting for those gifts.

1)    Gift – Award or Reward

  • A gift has to be for a special occasion such as a religious holiday, a birthday, a wedding, or the birth of a child.
  • An award has to be for an employment-related accomplishment such as outstanding service, employees’ suggestions, or meeting or exceeding safety standards. It is recognition of an employee’s overall contribution to the workplace, not recognition of job performance.

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2 Ways Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Can Help You!

CRA HelpLast week I spent two intensive days learning about all the 2013 tax updates.  As to be expected, a lot of the information dealt with the changes implemented by the Federal and Provincial governments for the 2013 tax season and proposed changes for 2014.  But instead of dwelling on the tax dollars we all need to pay, I thought I would share 2 ways the CRA might be able to help you when something has gone off the correct path.

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CRA Announces First Time Donor Super Credit (FDSC) for Individuals

Maureen Burleson - Certified Professional BookkeeperIn 2013 the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recognized the need for additional support for charities by introducing the First-Time Donor’s Super Credit (FDSC) in the budget.  This non-refundable FDSC will help supplement the Charitable Donation Tax Credit (CDTC) for individuals.

I am sure you have noticed the Grand Prize Lotteries advertised on TV, fundraisers seeking donations outside high traffic stores and the general mailing and social media requests – ‘Tis the season for giving.  And while some of the giving is in hopes of winning a new home or a flashy car, others purchase and donate with the intention of the good cause they believe in or have been affected by.  The general concept is giving to help support the community or international not-for-profit charitable organizations.  With cut-backs on all fronts donations is helping keep some of the doors open for the smaller organizations. And it is in response to this that the CRA made this allotment.

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