5 Key Pieces of Effective Tax Optimization

There’s one thing that you can’t avoid no matter how hard you try, and that’s taxes. Tax adherence is a responsibility of every Canadian citizen, no matter how much money you make or what type of work you do. While you can never escape taxes entirely, you can take advantage of methods made to minimize them to reduce the burden on you and your family.

If you’re looking for ways to reduce the amount of tax you pay out to the government throughout your years, review these five components of effective tax optimization and keep them in mind for the future.

Income Optimization

There are a number of income optimization methods that you can utilize to help minimize your taxes. For one, you can engage in income splitting with your spouse to transfer the tax liability from the higher-income earner to the lower one. You can’t legally “split” your income amounts per se, but there are a number of ways to utilize this strategy without penalty such as: creating a spousal loan, contributing to a spousal RRSP, or establishing a family trust.

Tax Efficient Investments

There are a number of registered accounts that you can take advantage of to defer your taxes into the future. If you’ve maxed out on your limits, you need to find other places to shelter your money. An expert financial consultant can help you maximize your tax-efficient investments most effectively by strategically distributing your income and investments across your RRSPs, RRIFs, TFSAs, and a number of other tax-sheltered options like your life insurance policy.

Business Management

One tax efficiency strategy that can help you keep as much of your income as possible is expense management. Learning how to claim expenses correctly can increase your tax efficiency and reduce both your personal and corporate tax bill. Corporate clients can also take advantage of optimizing salaries and dividends, estate freezes, and other advanced methods to minimize taxes.

Tax Deductions

Another effective way to reduce taxes is to take advantage of all the possible deductions and credits on your income tax and benefit return. Deductions, such as retirement and CPP contributions, moving expenses, child care expenses, support payments, student loan interest, and tuition expenses can all be claimed for tax credits. In fact, there are over 90 deductions and tax credits that you can claim in Canada that will put more money back into your pocket each year.

Investment Strategies

Higher net worth Canadians that have a lot of money tied up in investments will often find that the tax on the interest can become substantial if they don’t have a proper strategy in place. A professional advisor can provide you with a number of strategies that can reduce your capital gains and lower your investment taxes to optimize your returns.

A professional and experienced financial advisor can work out the most effective strategy for your personal and corporate tax optimization. Their expertise ensures that your finances will adhere to the newest regulations and follow all legal practices to avoid penalties and unlawful misconduct.

Our experts at The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd. will enjoy crafting the best tax strategy for your particular needs to ensure that the best approach is taken to enhance your success.

Why Have a Contingency Plan for Your Business?

With all the recent news stories and financial experts discussing the potential of an upcoming recession, it’s hard not to get a little uneasy about the future of your business. Amidst all the red signs, do you sit back and hope for the best or do you start preparing in advance? The answer is simple — if you don’t have a plan already in place to help you stay afloat in stormy weather, it’s time you build one.

Having a contingency plan for your business can help you to mitigate any risks and react appropriately in the face of a setback, no matter what that is. To demonstrate our point, we’ll show you exactly why we recommend having a contingency plan for your business and how you can set one up today.

Minimizes Loss

A recession isn’t the only thing that could sink your business if you’re not prepared. A simple disruption like a power outage, a critical illness, an early death, or a natural disaster could reduce the production of your company and put you out of business. A contingency plan is designed to keep your company running and minimize loss, no matter the circumstance.

Keeps Everyone Calm

When a business-related disaster happens, people panic (naturally), especially if there are no specific instructions to follow. This can exacerbate the situation and impact the recovery time needed for your business to get back on its feet. Fortunately, a contingency plan can provide a clear plan of attack so that everyone knows exactly what they need to do and who to turn to for instructions. This ensures that your employees respond quickly and your business gets back to the status quo as soon as possible.

Protects Your Business

A contingency plan is similar to an insurance plan — it’s put in place to protect your business. It starts by looking at your main risk factors and what makes your business vulnerable. Then it puts policies in place to protect your business as much as possible from these risks. That’s why a contingency plan and insurance plan go hand in hand — your contingency plan helps you minimize the risk factors, and your insurance covers you when these unforeseen (or foreseen) circumstances do actually happen.

Gets You Back on Your Feet

Would you know what to do if a natural disaster destroyed your computer programs or critical machinery? A contingency plan ensures that your corporate records and intellectual assets are properly backed up so that your business can get back on its feet right away. What if you fell ill and couldn’t run your business — do you have a second in command ready that you trust? A contingency plan ensures your management team is adequately trained and prepared to step up and take over your business if you can’t.

Creates a System of Checks and Balances

Contingency plans also create a system of checks and balances. This is designed to prevent any problems that can arise during and after a crisis, such as operational errors and mismanagement. In the event that something does happen, it will provide the tools for you to evaluate and reorganize your company to prevent any future incidents from happening again.

When you need a contingency plan for your business, we’re here to help. At The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd., we can give you the advice you need to protect your business wealth and legacy no matter what speed bumps or setbacks arise. To learn about our professional business services, contact us today.


Self-Employed? Here Are 5 Tips to Help Nail Your Taxes

Being your own boss has its perks, but it also comes with additional responsibilities. Taxes, being one of them, can be particularly complicated and confusing when you’re self-employed. It’s wise to talk to a professional who can help you plan, organize, and submit your forms to avoid penalties from the CRA. If you’re in need of some financial advice, check out these tips to help you nail down your taxes when you’re self-employed.

Claiming Expenses

To receive the most significant return from your taxes, you need to learn how to keep track of your money, and what you can and cannot deduct. Even if you have an accountant, it’s absolutely necessary to learn tax basics and to properly keep track of all your invoices, contracts and receipts so that you keep your personal and business accounts separate.

To give you an idea of the types of expenses that you can claim, we’ve listed some that the CRA permits: wages, start-up costs, interest on loans, insurance costs, advertising expenses, business meals and entertainment, office supplies and equipment, professional memberships, phone and internet costs, as well as courier fees to be expensed, just as long as it relates to work.

If you work from home, you can also claim a proportion of your deductions for your mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance and utility bills. When it comes to filing, even the smallest expenditures should be submitted as you may be able to get a deduction for some of it.

Check the CRA Guidelines

Under the CRA, you can deduct any reasonable current expense that you pay to earn business income. That means if you’re a freelance reporter who frequently appears on TV, you are eligible to write off your new suit, tie, and haircut, just as long as the expenses fit the guidelines. If you’re not sure what type of costs will be considered for your business sector, it’s important to talk to a business advisor or accountant who can help you figure it out in order to avoid penalties.

Don’t Forget About HST

If your gross revenue exceeds $30,000 a year, you need to pay HST. If you’re not there yet, you don’t have to file your HST return with your taxes. If you’re one of the lucky ones whose gross income is more than $1.5 million per year, you’ll need to talk to an accountant about the best ways to file your taxes.

File on Time

You don’t have to wait till the end of the year to pay taxes; you can file every month if you prefer. It’s a great way to avoid the monstrous tax bill that you can expect at the end of the year. All you need to do is create an online vendor account for the CRA through your online banking and pay according to your tax bracket. If you do decide to pay yearly, make sure you meet the June 15th deadline to submit your taxes. Otherwise, you could receive a late-filing penalty, adding more salt to your wounds.

Hire a Professional

To make sure you nail your taxes this year, it’s worth it to put your trust in a professional financial advisor. An expert knows all the ins and outs of the tax system, the new regulations, how to avoid penalties, and how to get you the best return possible. Making a costly mistake on your own or missing out on some line items could prevent you from getting the return you deserve

When you’re ready to speak to an advisor who can help you get the highest return for your business, contact our team at The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd. Our team of highly trained wealth advisors can help your business get on the right track today and stay there well into the future.

Keeping Your Family Business Alive Using Motivation

Every company owner’s dream is that the family business will stay alive well after they’ve retired and gone; but it’s easier said than done to keep the business going, especially if you don’t have a proper plan in place. Regardless of your age, the only way to ensure that your business survives your exit is to create a succession plan. There’s no better time than now to learn how you can keep your family business alive with motivation and careful planning.

Focus on Next-Generation Leadership

Did you know that less than a third of family-owned businesses stay alive through the second generation? If you plan to pass off your business to your son, daughter, niece, or nephew, you need to start engaging them now. Successful family-run organizations immerse their children in the business at an early age. From working in the field to bookkeeping to sitting in on decision-making meetings, getting your family involved and teaching them every aspect of the business will give them the leadership skills and pride needed to carry your business into future generations.

Foster Healthy Family Dynamics

If your family barely sees each other or is riddled with conflict, the odds of your children wanting to assume your business will be slight. To keep your family business alive, you need to be motivated to strengthen the family bond and the interconnections. This includes communicating regularly, participating in their lives, and finding shared values among you and your children. The greater the bond, the more likely your children will feel passionate about being part of the family business.

Start Succession Planning Early

If you want to see your legacy carried on, you need to nail down the particulars of your succession plan early on. This way you’ll have plenty of time to prepare and groom your successors to take over the business. If you were to pass away before creating a detailed plan, your family would be left trying to figure out what to do with the business and figuring out who would run it.  This can lead to conflict, confusion, and costly tax burdens, which is something no parent wants to leave behind. Instead, you should meet with a professional advisor who can start putting your succession plan into place earlier rather than later.

Involve Your Family in Planning

Having a succession plan is one thing, but including your family in the process is another. For instance, let’s say you think your university educated, ambitious daughter is the perfect candidate to take over your business, so you put her into your succession plan. But what happens when you find out years later that she has other plans for her future which doesn’t include following in your footsteps. Meanwhile, your youngest son is motivated to learn and grow your business starting now. If you don’t talk to your children in detail about their goals, ambitions, and future plans, you may choose the wrong successor. Communication will allow you to find out who is willing to continue your legacy after your gone so you can groom them well ahead of time.

If you want to keep your family business alive, you need the motivation to get your family ready to take on your legacy and get your succession plan in order. When you’re ready to start planning today to create the future you dream of tomorrow, contact our team at The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd. We can help you to make smart choices to ensure a successful sale or transfer of your business from one generation to the next.

Where are You in Your Entrepreneurial Life Cycle?

Do you know what stage of the entrepreneurial life cycle you and your business are currently in? Most entrepreneurs have no idea, but it’s an essential business detail to consider. If you know what stage you’re at, you can use the information to determine when to push for more growth, when to keep your finances tight, or when it’s time to sell or exit. To help you get the most out of your business, read on to find out where you and your business sit in the entrepreneurial life cycle.

Stage One: Growth

During the growth cycle, you’ll be looking at ways to expand your operations and move your business forward. In this stage, your company is likely not very profitable just yet or is trying to multiply.  This means you’ll be attempting to get new contracts, meet new clients, and build more capital. In this cycle, you’ll also have to spend significant time marketing and promoting yourself through multiple channels, taking on more high-risk, high-reward projects, and maintaining the confidence needed to push your business to the next level.

To stay afloat, you’ll need to find ways to invest in your business to accommodate the growth, whether it be through seeking additional loans or hiring new staff members. These mechanisms will help ensure your company is both stable and profitable.

Stage Two: Stability

During this stage, your business is becoming more established and is generating stable returns, but you’ll need to stay focused in order to keep your finances tight and avoid falling into debt. Luckily, there shouldn’t be a shortage of financial options if you need them but it’s wise to make sure that you don’t push further than expected.  Stay realistic about your levels of success during each phase; if you attempt to overextend yourself, you’re likely to make a mistake.

It’s crucial at this stage more than ever to have a professional on hand who you can seek advice from and who will put in place safety nets to weather any shortfalls. Remember — it only takes one big speed bump to push your business off the “stability rails.”

Stage Three: Fine Tuning

At some point in your entrepreneurial cycle, you’re bound to hit a roadblock that puts your business at risk.  When this happens, it can feel as if everything is crashing down around you. That’s why it’s incredibly important to stay level-headed, stomach the risk, and do some fine tuning to get your business back on track. In order to do so, you may have to surrender some of your equity or take on some options that carry a higher level of risk than you are used to.

Stage Four: Exiting

Eventually, every entrepreneur will reach a point when they’re ready to retire, sell the business, or walk away. That’s where succession planning comes into play. A good succession plan can make sure that the transfer or liquidation of your business goes smoothly, that your legacy is protected, and that your family and stakeholders receive financial security.

No matter where you are in your entrepreneurial life cycle, it’s important to plan for your future by making sure you have an exit strategy in place. When you’re ready to get serious about your financial future, reach out to us at The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd. We will leave no stone unturned to create the best tax, compensation, and succession plan that is tailored for you, your business, and your family.

4 Things to Consider Before Selling Your Business

Have you been thinking about selling your business? There are some things you should determine first before you make any decisions, or you could risk selling for the wrong reasons or the wrong price, which can jeopardize your future wealth and security. Here are four things to consider before deciding to sell your business.

Is the Timing Right?

Timing is essential when you plan to sell your business. To determine if the timing is right, you need to look at the current state of your business and the overall market.  For one, you want to sell at the top of your game, not when your business is on the decline. When you’re profitable, not only will you become more valuable to a buyer but you will also have the power to set yourself up for financial freedom. Market timing is also important. If the market has been declining, you should likely wait until things begin taking a turn to sell.

Is My Business Valuable?

Buyers are not going to be interested in a business that has decent revenue but zero profits. If you’ve pumped your company full of tax write-offs or are highly leveraged, you will likely appear less profitable to a potential purchaser. Before you decide to sell, make sure you take these factors into consideration and spend time structuring your business to be more attractive to buyers.

Do I Have a Tax Strategy?

By the time most business owners decide to sell, it’s far too late to implement a tax strategy. Without one, you could end up paying hefty taxes to exit your business. To avoid any tax repercussions and maximize your sale proceeds, it’s best to set up a well-thought-out tax strategy ahead of selling your property.

Are There Alternatives to Selling?

If you’re not sure whether selling is right for you, or if you’re feeling pressured to sell because of poor performance, you should evaluate your other options first before selling. You may be able to leverage some of your capital, pass on ownership through employee stock options, sell as an asset and retain ownership, or take on silent investors. Regardless, it’s wise to talk to an advisor who can help you make a better-informed decision that is right for you.

At The Beacon Group at Assante Financial Management Ltd., we provide practical solutions designed to help you make smart choices about your business to gain wealth and prosperity now and into the future. Contact us today if you’d like some advice on your unique situation.

6 Common Myths About the Canadian Tax System

No one is exempt from paying taxes in Canada! Surprisingly though, many Canadian citizens aren’t’ fully aware of how the tax system work – they have a general knowledge and know how much they are taxed – but they don’t really understand the details. Many people actually believe common myths that have been kept alive for decades. Here are some of them.

If I’m In The Second Tax Bracket, I Pay 20.5% Of My Income

In Canada, the way taxes are calculated is somewhat complicated. If you make less than $46,605, you are taxed at the low rate of 15%. But those in the second tax bracket will be taxed at 15% up until $46,605 and then at 20.5% for the remaining amount up to $93,208.

This incremental approach also applies to the remaining tax brackets. So, for instance if you make over $202,800 you would pay:

  • 15% for the first $46,605
  • 5% between $46,605 up to $93,208,
  • 26% for income between $93,208 and $143,489
  • 29% for income between $143,489 and $205,842
  • 33% for income over $205,842.

If I Pay Federal Tax, I Don’t Have To Pay Provincial Tax

Every Canadian is expected to claim tax for both. In all provinces and territories, except Quebec, the Provincial and Territorial Tax rates for 2018 are calculated in the same way as the Federal Tax Rate. The only difference is that the exact tax rates used will vary by province. You can find the current rates here.

I Can Transfer Termination Pay To My RRSP For Free

Unfortunately, if you lose your job and are issued termination pay, this amount will also count towards your income. Only if you’ve been employed by your company since before 1996, can you be able to transfer any of the termination pay to your RRSP at a tax-free rate.

My Bonuses and Rewards are Not Taxable

The above are considered employee benefits that are indeed taxable and need to be added to your income. This includes any personal bonuses, trips, prizes, and awards. Luckily, most taxable benefits will be included in your statement of employment, but if you’re not sure what exactly qualifies, make sure to talk to a professional who does.

The Employee Stock Options I Purchased are Tax-Free

This is another common myth. If you purchased company shares at a price less than fair market value, the difference should be included in your income. And if this pushes you into a new tax bracket, you will be required to pay taxes at the new rate as well.

All Investment Incomes are Taxed the Same Way

Having a tax strategy is crucial because not all investment incomes are equal and all are taxed differently. It is recommended to allocate assets which generate revenue and are heavily taxed into tax-sheltered investments. Having a professional on your side to help you create a plan that will reduce your taxable investment income, can help put more money in your pocket and keep your tax bracket at an affordable level.

Understanding precisely what contributes to your income and what you can do to reduce your taxes can improve your wealth portfolio. At The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd., we can help you do just that. By creating an effective tax plan, we can help you to increase your personal wealth and provide you with the support you need to achieve your financial goals. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Effective Ways to Advertise Your Small Business

Looking for a way to grow your client base and improve the revenue stream of your small business? Advertising can dramatically accelerate the success of your business, and there are many different methods and tools you can use to do so. Let us show you some practical ways to advertise your small business and obtain better results.

Creating a Customer Profile

If you’ve not yet established a client profile, this should be the first thing you do before advertising. When you manage a business, you need to understand who your target client is and how you can connect with them on an emotional level. Without knowing who to focus your marketing efforts on, your advertising will not be beneficial, and you will most likely struggle to attract new clients. To pinpoint your target audience, you need to describe the specific person who will buy from you consistently and then identify their characteristics, values, social environments, demographics, and desires. Once you’ve figured this out, you will be able to piece together an advertising plan that will speak to your target audience.

Social Media Marketing

One of the most effective ways to advertise your small business is through social media marketing. This will involve finding the platforms that your clients use – do they love Facebook? Snapchat? Instagram? Pinterest? Once you have an idea of where your clientele spends their online time, you can advertise to them directly by creating posts and ads that direct them to your website or products.


Google AdWords is also an effective form of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for small businesses. Advertisers pay to have their ads and copy placed on pages that are appropriate to their keywords. The algorithm sets the ads where it determines it will be most relevant to achieve the most number of clicks. It’s scalable, measurable and faster than Search Engine Optimization (SEO).


More people watch YouTube now than any television network out there. By creating videos about your product, you can target your “ad” to a query that matches your products and services. Using their advertising platform (TrueView ads), your business can target ads to your ideal viewer. One of the main benefits of using YouTube is you only pay when people have watched your video for more than 30 seconds or when they engage with your ad by clicking on your call-to-action.


If you’re looking for a more traditional way to advertise, then newspaper advertising placements are the way to go. Despite what the common perception is, newspapers are still very popular, whether people are reading the digital or print versions. Choosing to use print or digital placements will depend upon your target audience. If you run a business that focusses on attracting older clientele, for example, print versions may be more useful.

Event Sponsorship

You can sponsor an event in your community to promote your company. However, make sure that the target audience is relevant. For instance, if you own a business that markets to seniors, it’s best to sponsor a type of event they commonly frequent. But it doesn’t have to stop there; you can also use this strategy to reach a new market or demographic and to extend your current customer base. Event marketing allows you to get creative and engaging with your marketing efforts, but be sure not to break the bank on huge events before you’re sure they will provide value to your business!

At The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd., we can help you make better choices with your business finances. Contact us today!


5 Ways to Be a More Confident Workplace Leader

Confidence is important to have no matter what line of work you’re in. It highlights your competence, your self-value, your leadership ability, and so much more. A lack of confidence means you’re stuck inside your comfort zone and afraid to look beyond it. This happens to a lot of us since it’s where we feel most at ease and safe, free from the frightening risk of failure. Teaching yourself to be, and remain confident, can have a drastic effect on both your personal and professional life. When it comes to the workplace and your professional career, it can make or break your success. Confidence is a massive component of building trust in others to follow your lead. Thankfully, if you struggle with your self-confidence, there are many ways for it to be improved upon. Here are five ways to develop your skills and become a more confident workplace leader.

Embrace Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Rule number one is to remember that no one is perfect. If you’re always comparing yourself to others and feeling inferior based on your weaknesses, then you’re doing nothing more than directly damaging your confidence level. It’s important to know that your weaknesses are not your downfall – it’s your attitude towards them that is. Instead, you should embrace your strengths and find others who can assist you with areas that don’t fall under your expertise. This is what good leaders do; they don’t waste their time struggling with things they know they’re not good at. Working with a team that pools together different strengths (and delegating tasks accordingly) is what being a good leader is all about.

Find a Life Mentor

Everyone needs a mentor – even the CEO. Having an executive coach on your side can help you to keep moving towards your goals and drive you to achieve what you are capable of. A mentor can also educate you on things that you’re not aware of. They can provide you with the knowledge and insight you may need to make better-informed decisions, which is a major factor in becoming a more confident workplace leader.

Make Employee Engagement a Priority

A common reason that leaders lose their edge is because of bad relationships with their employees. Negative work relationships often damage the confidence of both the employees and the leader, putting a damper on the success of the business. Learning how to engage and communicate more effectively with your staff can help you to build back the levels of confidence needed to achieve bigger and better things.

Engage in Training and Development

Some of the most successful leaders out there have become more confident just by gaining access to the latest and most effective management skills training materials. Through programs that are tailored to meet the specific needs of managers and workplace leaders today, you can learn what specific areas you need to improve upon to become more successful with your team.

Read More and Don’t Stop

Reading inspiring leadership and success stories is one of our favourite tactics for developing new methods to become a more confident leader. There is an endless amount of reading material floating around the internet which you can easily find and study in your spare time. Not only will reading more about other leaders’ successes keep you inspired, but the act of reading more in itself will help you continue to develop your vocabulary, your cognitive skills, and your overall perspective on leadership.

If you’ve been thinking of ways you can improve your confidence as a leader, then you’re already on the way to achieving your goals. Merely developing a plan and putting it into action demonstrates that you’re ready to do what it takes– so keep it up!

Tips for a More Productive Summer Workplace

Ah, the warm breeze, brighter days and packed patios lined with patrons sipping back cold refreshing beverages make summertime truly the best time of year. It can also be the worst when it comes to productivity in the workplace. With all of the temptations that come along with the improving weather, it can be challenging to keep your staff motivated and focused on their work rather than the time that’s left until they can head outside to enjoy the weather.

To help minimize those distractions and keep your staff focused, here are some tips for a more productive summer workplace.

Show Your Appreciation Frequently

Showing appreciation for your employees on a regular basis is really an important part of maintaining their morale and building a positive environment at work. Showing recognition for a job well done, offering a handshake, sharing their idea with the team, or even providing some tasty perks like coffee and treats are all small meaningful ways to achieve this. Also, consider combining your gratitude with a few outdoor activities, such as a staff BBQ or patio drinks to celebrate a successful milestone or deal.

Take Some Meetings Outside

Sure, this might not be as practical to do each and every time, but once in a while – on those particularly glorious sunny days when your staff seems extra preoccupied – try to switch up the scenery by hosting a few meetings outside. Getting out to enjoy a bit of the sunshine and fresh air will boost their mood and energy levels and will help inspire their creative juices.

Create a More Relaxed Work Environment

Unless you have any special guests or events that require a strict dress code, establishing a more relaxed atmosphere at work is another great way to create a more productive summer workplace. You could create a more casual dress code for a few months – maybe June until October – where staff can roll out their lighter, comfortable items like jeans, sundresses, golf shirts, etc. Of course, you can also create some guidelines and boundaries for their attire in order to make sure everyone knows what flies and what doesn’t.

Set Summer Hours

As Canadians, we know that once the warm weather arrives, we’ve got to take full advantage of it since we only have a short window of time to really enjoy it. So why not create some summer hours to allow your employees to enjoy more of the great weather? You may even find that productivity increases with this adjustment since staff can get into the office and work more efficiently with their time, rather than pretend to be busy until 5 o’clock finally rolls around. If your hours are 9-5, maybe making the day 8-4 during the summer will encourage a more productive work environment as they would get out earlier.

If you feel that the workplace morale and productivity seems to take a serious dip during the summer, try implementing some of these tips. Keeping your staff focused and happy is often easier than you think – so don’t be shy to try something new and switch things up.  Your productivity and business will always greatly benefit from employees who feel appreciated and enjoy going to their workplace.