Blog

BC Employer Health Tax – General Information

As you probably know, beginning in January 2019, B.C.’s Medical Service Plan premiums are being transferred to businesses through a new payroll tax called the Employer Health Tax. It applies to regular employers with payroll above $500,000 and charitable and not-for-profit employers with payroll over $1,500,000. Pinnacle Professional Accounting has compiled the most relevant information…
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BC Employer Health Tax – Do I need to Register? How?

Do you need to register? If your company’s total payroll for 2018 was less than $500,000 and you anticipate that amount to remain under $500,000 for 2019, no action is required. If your total payroll was over $500,000 but less than $600,000 and the same is anticipated for 2019, you will need to register for…
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Using the Quick Method of Accounting for GST/HST Can Help Your Bottom Line

Many small businesses don’t realize they can save time and money by using the Quick Method of Accounting for GST/HST. The purpose of this method is to eliminate the need to calculate Input Tax Credits (ITCs) by simply remitting a portion of gross revenue. The Quick Method is available for most small businesses that have…
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GST New Housing Rebate

What is the GST New Housing Rebate? When an individual purchases or constructs a new home, or substantially renovates an existing home, the individual pays GST on the purchase price or on the costs of renovation. The GST New Housing Rebate provides a refund to the individual for a portion of the GST paid. The…
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New Rules? Federal Government Private Corporation Tax Consultation

Earlier this year, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced a new federal income tax initiative whereby the government would be working to “close tax loopholes” and amend existing rules related to the use of private corporations for tax planning in Canada. In July of this year, a number of specific proposals were brought forward. At that…
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CCA – What is it? And what do I do about it?

CCA: What is it, and should I claim it? When reporting income on your annual tax return, it is always advantageous in the short term to claim as many deductions as possible in order to reduce your taxable income, and in turn, your balance of taxes payable. However, there are some things to consider when…
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New Specified Corporate Income Rules

For corporate fiscal years ending after March 20, 2017, there are new rules to be aware of related to the small business deduction. Small business deduction The small business deduction is a tax rate reduction available to Canadian-controlled private corporations (“CCPCs”) in Canada on active business income. Generally speaking, these CCPCs have a reduction of…
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Things to remember when sending us your year-end files

When it comes time to send us your year-end files, it can sometimes feel like an overwhelming task to ensure that you have included everything needed. In an effort to simplify this process, we have compiled a list of things to remember. Make sure the bookkeeping is complete up to the year-end date This is…
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About Our 21 Day Turnaround Guarantee

Pinnacle guarantees to deliver your completed corporate yearend financial statements and tax return within 21 working days of receiving your documents. Why do we do this and how do we do it? Why Do We Do It? From the client’s perspective, studies show you appreciate quick turnaround of your work. As a business owner, you rely…
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Benefits of and how to Achieve a Great Work Environment

A friend of mine who just started a new job recently said something to me that got me thinking… He said, “It’s strange to walk into a workplace where everyone is so happy to be there.” This kind of took me by surprise – I really enjoy my job and the team I work with.…
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How to get $1,200 from the BC Government for your child’s education

How to get $1,200 from the BC Government for your child’s education In order to help families save for their children’s education, The B.C Government is offering to contribute $1,200 to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) through the B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant (BCTESG). The best part is, if you shop around, you…
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Can’t I Just Call Them “Casual Labour”?

Can’t I Just Call Them “Casual Labour”? Businesses in Canada are subject to a statutory requirement to withhold income tax, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI) premiums from their employees.  This places an administrative burden on employers that many will seek to avoid whenever possible.  This blog discusses the nature of casual employment…
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Paying Your Personal Income Taxes Online – Instructions

If you have a balance owing on your personal tax return, there is an easy way to pay – Online!   In order to make a payment, please locate your bank below and follow the steps. You may need to first sign up for online banking – contact your bank for help with this. If your…
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Review of your Tax Return by the Canada Revenue Agency

Review of your Tax Return by the Canada Revenue Agency Nobody likes receiving a letter in the mail from CRA.  And when that letter tells you that your return is being reviewed – well, yuck…. Each year, CRA selects tens of thousands of income tax returns for review as part of their Processing Review (PR)…
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Beginner’s Guide to Tax Free Savings Accounts

If you are like a third of Canadians and are unsure of how Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) work, this article will help clarify what they are, contribution limits, benefits, and how to use your TFSA. What is a TFSA? A Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) is a registered, general-purpose savings vehicle that allows Canadians to…
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Effective Collections

If you sell services (or anything, for that matter) and extend credit to your customers, collecting your receivables is something you likely need to do.  Making collections calls can be super awkward; we don’t generally like having to ask for money that is rightfully ours to begin with. It is uncomfortable for the asker and the askee… Here are…
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Why Contractors Fail

A presentation by the United States Surety Information Office (www.suretyinfo.org) indicates that the rate of failure of contracting businesses was 20-30% between 2002 and 2012. Given such a high failure rate, it is worth examining the root causes of failure in order to understand how to minimize the chance of failure. It turns out that…
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How to Create a Personal Budget (and stick to it)

With the ratio of household debt to disposable income climbing to a staggering 163% as of late, personal budgeting is of increasing importance to the financial health of Canadians. Creating a budget is one thing, but sticking to it is another story altogether. Here are some simple steps that will help develop, and more importantly,…
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Section 85 on Incorporation (or Transferring Proprietorship Assets to your Corporation)

Are you a business owner that is ready to incorporate? If you aren’t sure, take a gander at our blog entitled “Should I Incorporate My Business?” (Should I Incorporate my Business?).  If you know you’re ready, there’s something you need to consider which you might not have thought about – the transfer of your business from…
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Employee or Independent Contractor?

The Issue Payroll is a significant expense for most of our clients and, not surprisingly, they are often looking to reduce the financial burden represented by payroll obligations.  One way to do this is to convert employees to self-employed independent contractors (ICs).  Care must be taken when doing so, however, as expensive consequences can result…
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Building Your Balance Sheet – A Primer for Contractors Applying for Bonding

Many contractors face bonding requirements in the form of bid bonds and performance bonds. The companies that provide these bonds want assurance that they are taking acceptable risks when providing bonds. Risk assessment includes a regular review of a contractor’s financial statements and operations. Here are the key items to consider when preparing financial reports…
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4 Steps to Help You Achieve Work-Life Balance

Of course different things work for different people, but these steps could probably apply to most of our busy, distracted, multi-tasking, first world lifestyles. In a Harvard Business School survey, 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they work more than 65 hours per week. What…
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The Importance of Orientation

Pinnacle has the good fortune of having a new team member join us this month (welcome Melissa).  Something we have learned over the years as we’ve grown and shrunk and grown again, is how important a robust orientation for new team members is.  We know that the best people can choose to take their brain…
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Living Out Allowances

“Living Out Allowances” or “Subsistence Expenses” are a great way to get funds out of a corporation and into the shareholder’s hands on a tax free basis.  A number of our clients work in the resource sector – support services for mining, forestry, oil & gas, etc.  These clients can spend lots of time away…
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Commonly Reviewed Personal Tax Deductions by CRA

Another personal tax filing deadline has come and gone. Now is the time when you receive an unexpected letter from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), notifying you that they will be conducting a review of some of your expenses. The CRA reviews or audits hundreds of thousands of Canadians’ tax returns in a given year,…
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Superhero Extraordinary

Faster than the run in her nylons. Able to leap small children in a single stride. She’s the Working Mom.  We all have busy lives these days but as a working mom, you might feel like you are a super hero with all that you can accomplish in a day. Pat yourself on the back…
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American Selling Canadian Property

As a non-resident investor in Canadian real property, you are required to advise the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) within 10 days of selling your investment. Normally, this takes the form of an application for a Clearance Certificate since the person who bought the property from you is required to withhold tax and you want to minimize…
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We Don’t Love Tax Returns (we don’t even like them)

Funny?…but we don’t love tax returns (we don’t even like them) Accountant = tax return. Right? Wrong. We don’t love tax returns. I’m talking about the personal returns. The ones due at the end of April. With endless slips and receipts and schedules and forms and ever-changing rules. These returns are the “necessary evil” of…
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Pinnacle PAC is Hiring!

We’re looking for an Accounting Technician. We are a results oriented firm with a focus on fun, freedom, and flexibility. We believe people should live great lives. We are leading the transformation of our industry; the transformation of the practice of accounting – into an exciting, forward-looking, community-improving life choice for entrepreneurs, dreamers, financial wizards,…
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New Family Income Splitting Initiative

When the PMO announced the new family income splitting initiative there was a lot of excitement among families. You’ve probably heard a fair share of criticism as well (which is to be expected when there’s politics involved). But what’s really going on with the family income tax splitting? Is it going to benefit you? Maybe. Here…
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Can I Have My Annual General Meeting in Hawaii??

I have a client who for years has held the Annual General Meeting for her corporation on Maui. She and her husband are the sole directors of the corporation (although I’m not sure her husband even knows where the office is, but that’s another matter). Every year she asks me the same question……”Can I write…
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Some Perks of Small Town Living

When I was in highschool in my sleepy, sole-industry, freezing cold, tiny little town in North Eastern Ontario, I couldn’t wait to graduate and move to a city. I was no longer stimulated by knowing so much about the people who surrounded me and seeing the same street signs over and over. Graduation came and…
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Personal versus Corporate Ownership of Rental Properties

We are often asked by clients whether they should own rental properties personally or own them through a corporation. Our advice is usually to own properties personally when rental income is nominal and when there are only a small number of properties. The advice usually changes as more properties are added to the rental pool…
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Hockey Is Back

Hockey is back! Don’t you just love it? Almost at the quarter pole for the 2014-2015 season and we have seen plenty of surprises already. As an avid Canucks fan the biggest surprise of the year has been the performance of the team. Currently sitting one point out of first place in the league. Now,…
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Going Paperless in 3 Easy Steps

I thought we were going paperless. So why were we still using so much paper? Almost 10 years ago our office implemented “paperless” files. The decision arose partly out of a concern for the environment but mostly from the realization that we were spending a lot of money on: Storage – physical filing cabinets, office…
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If You are Anything Like Me (Insights on the New CRA App)

If you are anything like me, you need a reminder if you are going to get anything done on time.  Fortunately for me, there aren’t any consequences to missing my hair cut appointment – save for looking like a bit of a hippy. Dealing with CRA is a different ball game.  If you owe CRA…
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The Best of Both Worlds – Minimize Tax? Maximize Income?

Many small businesses face a common dilemma regarding financial reporting. They want to minimize tax, which means reporting low income. But they also want to keep their banker happy, which means reporting high income. I often need to counsel clients that they can’t have it both ways. Or can they? Construction contractors can have it…
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Money Math vs Money Psychology

As an accountant and personal finance geek there are some things that people do and say about money that drive me crazy. That’s because often times people’s actions and thoughts on money issues make absolutely no sense mathematically. Examples include being happy about getting an income tax refund, carrying a balance on their credit card,…
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The Canada Revenue Agency’s Audit Politics

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has recently come under heavy scrutiny for what critics are calling “politically motivated audits”.  In the most recent high-profile case, the CRA is auditing a left-leaning think tank – a move which many are up in arms over because of the appearance that the conservative government may be influencing the…
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What Now? Thoughts on goal-setting, achievement, and being unnecessary

I’m typing this from Crete.  Where I will spend the next 5 months, or longer.  The Mediterranean Sea beckons mere steps from my apartment, the smells and sounds of new adventures and experiences entice.  And something is not right.  My world is in a state of turmoil, my mind is racing, I am anxious, worried,…
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Eight Apps That Could Make Your Business Run Better

In the last few years, there has been an explosion of new technology in the business application environment. I recently attended a conference where some of these software applications were on display. One speaker at this conference likened the recent “app explosion” to the Cambrian explosion of roughly a half-billion years ago when life on…
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Working Remotely

Recently, I moved from Castlegar to Kelowna and began working remotely again. The transition to a remote office was smooth this time as I had a prior stint with it a couple years ago. Undoubtedly there are some obstacles to overcome, but for me, the benefits definitely outweigh any minor inconveniences. Learning to work remotely…
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We’ve Got Our Heads in the Cloud

People sometimes think that we accountants are aloof or difficult to talk to. You might even say we have our heads in the cloud. Here at Pinnacle, we have to confess that we have had our heads in the cloud lately. It’s not what you may think though. We are talking about cloud computing, or…
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Just Around the Next Bend

This past weekend the boys of Pinnacle PAC (Chris Brien and Jeff Ross) and FileCo Services Inc. (Doug Johnstone and Schuyler Holoboff) embarked on a journey akin to that of Frodo’s journey to Mt. Doom (or Valhalla Provincial Park if you prefer the real name). That similarity prompted Doug to start calling Chris “The Hobbit”.…
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Tax Refunds – Not so great?

April 30 is like Christmas Day for many accountants. It means that the weeks of working late nights and weekends are behind us and we are now free to finally enjoy spring. Many non-accountants are usually happy as well because they receive a refund once their tax returns are filed. However, an income tax refund…
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Pinnacle’s Recommended Reading

Pinnacle PAC knows that leaders are readers. The Pinnacle Team endeavors to constantly nurture our minds, expand and enhance our services, and remain thought and practice leaders in the accounting industry. We have assembled an ever-growing list of books that we feel are worthy of your time and attention. 1. The Emyth Revisited – by…
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To Play or Not To Play – NHL Players and the Olympics

With the 2014 Winter Olympics underway in Sochi there has been a lot of hype around this year’s men’s ice hockey team. Who made the team; who didn’t make the team; were the players even going to end up going? Lost in all this is the fact that this is the last Winter Olympics that…
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Purchase of shares of a professional corporation

If you are a doctor, dentist, or other professional and are considering purchasing a practice, you are likely contemplating a purchase of shares. And you should read this blog. There are a number of ways to structure a purchase of shares, but in this blog I will discuss three options:  Purchase the shares of the…
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New accounting designation in Canada

There is a new accounting designation in Canada – Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). Historically, there were three national accounting bodies in Canada – CA, CGA, and CMA. Over the years, having three separate accounting designations in Canada has created some confusion among Canadians as well in the international community. For this and other reasons, the three bodies…
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When Should I Take My Canada Pension Plan (CPP)?

Thinking about your CPP? Mainstream media outlets have run many stories in recent years telling of the large number of Canadians that will reach retirement age in the near future. Many of our clients fit into this category and we are often asked when they should start taking CPP.  A quick recap of the issue…
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Bookkeeping versus Accounting

I have a Bookkeeper! Do I really need an Accountant? Two of the most frequent questions we are asked are: Explain the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant. If I have one do I need the other? (The answer is usually yes.) They are great questions. Because we work so closely together, the boundaries…
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Lease or Buy A Vehicle?

We are often asked by clients whether they should lease or purchase their vehicles (either outright or using a loan). We have tried to distill the decision down to a few rules of thumb. In general, leasing is more expensive than buying because the leasing company accepts a portion of the depreciation risk. The advantages…
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Private Health Services Plans

Do you own a small business corporation in Canada? Do you and your family receive wages from the corporation and have medical expenses? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, you may want to consider the benefits of a private health services plan (PHSP). What is a PHSP? A PHSP can be…
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Weighing In On the NHL

The National Hockey League (NHL) lock-out this past year lasted 119 days. It resulted in the cancellation of 510 regular season games, including the All-Star Game and the outdoor Winter Classic. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman estimated that as a business the NHL was losing between $18 and $20 million a day. He also estimated that…
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What Would Happen If….

We all spend time as kids imagining how our lives might be when we grow up.  And then we grow up and we find ourselves imagining what might happen if… In business, those daydreams can often turn into guessing games, red herrings and assumptive goose chases.   But with some imagination and calculation, business owners can…
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Accounting and the Construction Industry

One of our major areas of expertise is the construction industry. Many of our clients operate successfully in this industry, and we help provide tools for them to succeed. Construction companies have some unique challenges and opportunities – from a tax perspective as well as from a general business perspective. In this industry, it is…
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Supporting Our Local Economy

I will preface this blog post by saying that I LOVE our town.  I was born and raised in a small town in Northern Ontario and found my way to the West Kootenay in the Summer of 2009.  I feel like I was meant to be here and could never imagine leaving. One of the…
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How Much Is My Business Worth?

How Much Is My Business Worth? As a small business owner, you probably wonder from time-to-time how much the business you’ve built is worth. There is no easy or straight-forward answer to the question “How much is my business worth?” It may be worth more to you than it would be to someone else –…
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Working ON the Business in Las Vegas

Who would believe that you could spend a productive weekend in Las Vegas working ON your business instead of IN your business? Five of us spent last weekend in Las Vegas attending the “A Day With the Disrupters” event sponsored by the VeraSage Institute. VeraSage challenges people to break free of traditional practice methods that marginalize…
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Personal Services Business

Is your corporation a personal services business? If you are the sole individual working in your corporation, you may be carrying on a personal services business (“PSB”). More and more small corporations are being labeled as personal services businesses by Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”). The results of this can be disastrous. Personal service business What…
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Americans Doing Business In Canada

Being close to the border, we get lots of calls from Americans who plan to do business in Canada.  Here are some of the basic issues you need to understand. Canada – US Tax Treaty A tax treaty exists between our two countries to address tax issues.  The treaty defines, among other things, the jurisdiction…
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Why Do We Offer Free Consultation?

Why Do We Offer Free Initial Consultations? Many professional firms offer “free initial consultation” to the public as an enticement to get you in the door. It’s part of their promotional strategy to attract new customers. We offer free initial consultations for a few other reasons. First, we want to get to know you. We…
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The Importance of Cash Flow Management

Cash flow is the movement of money into and out of a business or project. Cash flow is imperative to the success of any business. However, many small businesses owners don’t fully understand how important it is to estimate, track, and analyze cash flows. If cash flow is not managed correctly, a company may run…
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New In Town

Hi!  I am Lisa Debolt and I moved here about a year ago from the Okanagan.  After a few weeks of job searching I was lucky enough to find a position here at Pinnacle PAC, as the Director of First Impressions. Ironically I wasn’t sure what to make of my first impression of Castlegar.  I…
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Automobile Expenses Made Easy

Automobile expense rules can be really complicated, especially for company owned vehicles because of the limitations on depreciation, lease and interest expenses and the need to think about taxable benefits that might accrue to the driver of the vehicle. Automobile expenses tend to require lots of administration and present significant tax risk because CRA views…
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Snowbirds

You may be the envy of your neighbours as you spend your endless summer days working on your chip shot instead of chipping away at the ice on your driveway, but did you know that by flying south for the winter you may be increasing your income tax compliance obligations? Residency You are a resident…
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Renting a Portion of Your Home

Are you considering renting out a portion of your home? There may be some tax implications to consider – both for now and in the future. Principal residence exemption Often, when you sell your “principal residence” there is no resulting tax implication. This is because of the principal residence exemption, which allows an adjustment to the…
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Home Office Expenses

We often get asked about how to deal with home office expenses for your incorporated business. While there are a few different options, here’s the best way we’ve found to do it. If you have a separate and distinct part of your home you have devoted exclusively to business use, you can deduct home office…
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Should I Incorporate My Business?

Most small business owners eventually face the question of whether or not to incorporate their business by creating a limited liability company or “corporation”. Owners of small business corporations enjoy preferential tax treatment in Canada in the form of lower corporate tax rates, tax-free status on sale of small business shares and access to certain…
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Pinnacle is Hiring!

We are looking for qualified accountants (CA, CGA, CMA, CPA) to join our network.  We are seeking individuals interested in real work-life balance supported by a dynamic public practice career.  We guarantee personal income equal to or greater than urban practices and partnership/ownership opportunity.   We are also looking for Accounting Technicians.  Candidates must have:…
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Help Wanted! Pinnacle PAC helps local businesses recruit

Pinnacle PAC is helping several of our clients recruit. Our clients are looking for individuals with awesome abilities, which definitely include stellar Microsoft Office skills (especially Excel and Word), dynamite organizational habits and fabulous self-direction.  Skillsets which would be really useful include things like Simply Accounting and/or Quickbooks experience, calendaring, invoicing, accounts payable/receivable experience, cash…
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Value Proposition

Your Value Proposition What sets you apart from your competition? We recently held an offsite retreat and one of the objectives was to try to better understand our “value proposition”.  By understanding our value proposition, we can refine our service delivery and personal accountabilities to make our organization more valuable to its customers. Michael Lanning,…
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Fostering a Positive Work Environment

After spending a few years working in Human Resources, I’ve come to realize that the key to retaining staff members is fostering a positive work environment. A positive work environment, in turn, fosters a team who is comfortable with each other and understands one another enough to help work flow as seamlessly as possible. In…
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T4/T5 Season

I have worked two previous summer jobs at accounting firms in the past, but I have never had the pleasure of working through a tax season… until now. During February I’ve been working on preparing the T4’s  for Pinnacle’s corporate clients and it has made me realize something…the most work is gathering the information.  It…
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Downtown Art Farm – Spring is Coming!

Despite the way it looks outside right now, spring is on its way. Plans are afoot to begin another gardening season at the Downtown Art Farm, our outdoor art gallery and community garden in downtown Castlegar. We are excited to announce that we are now officially incorporated as a Non-Profit Society.   If you are…
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Business Retention and Expansion Project in Castlegar

City of Castlegar helping businesses succeed I read in the  Castlegar News  a Business Retention and Expansion Pilot Project has been proposed for Castlegar.  It sounds really cool, although I wasn’t entirely sure what such a program would be like.  I thought I’d investigate a little further, so searching the name, I came up with the…
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Working Remotely

We’re sitting in the airport waiting for our flight home after a week out of the office for leadership training.  Doug and I have been learning to work remotely over the last couple years.  It sounds great in theory, but I am recognizing and despairing how tied I am to my traditional tools and habits.…
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Team Building – Part 1

The Pinnacle Team recently did a self-assessment to find out the strengths and weaknesses of our team dynamic.  The exercise was inspired by Patrick Lencioni’s book – The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. In his book, the author describes the five attributes that characterize a highly functioning team.  He also provides an assessment tool for…
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Pinnacle PAC to Succeed Brian Brown, CGA

Pinnacle Professional Accounting Corporation announces the succession of Brian Brown, CGA in Castlegar, BC upon Brown’s retirement. Pinnacle Professional Accounting Corporation would like to announce that they have agreed to succeed Brian Brown, CGA as he retires from his 32 year long service to the Castlegar area. Brian will continue to prepare personal income tax…
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