Cleaning can be a bit of fun, a lot of exercise, and a lucrative business. But when tax time comes around, you need to report your cleaning income and pay taxes to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The good news is you can deduct expenses from your income to lower your tax liability. You can also use other methods to cut your bill at tax time.
Claim Cleaning Supplies
As an independent cleaner, you can deduct all the money you spend on cleaning products, mops, and other supplies you use to clean your clients’ homes. This deduction directly lowers your taxable business income. Imagine that over one year you spend $500 on supplies and earn $12,000. The CRA only considers $11,500 as taxable income, which means you owe less money to the government. It’s important to keep track of all of your business expense purchases by saving the receipts to ensure the maximum deduction. Digitizing receipts and accounting records helps you easily store those documents and keep them organized for tax time.
Track CRA Mileage Deductions
If you drive to clients’ homes, you can also claim motor vehicle expenses on your taxes. To claim this deduction, you need to track the distance you drive for business purposes, such as driving to a client’s house or driving from one client’s house to the next, and the total mileage you drive for the year. To figure out the amount of time you use your vehicle for business use, divide the distance you drive for work by your total annual kilometres driven. The result is the percentage you use your car for work. You can claim that percentage of your annual vehicle expenses, such as fuel, insurance, etc, as business expenses. That also helps reduce your tax bill. Mileage apps such as TripLog let you automatically track your business mileage using integrated GPS for easy recording, and the app integrates with your QuickBooks software to automatically transfer the data into your accounting records to save time on data entry.
Use Tax Prep Software
If you do the hard work of tracking your expenses through the year, tax prep software can help you pull it all together. Most software works on a question-and-answer basis. It asks questions, you answer them, then it fills out your tax forms based on those answers. As an added bonus, you can write off money you spend on accountants or business software.
Hire Your Kids as Home Cleaners
To further reduce your tax bill, consider hiring your children as a CRA business expense. In many cases, children who work for family businesses are exempt from minimum age requirements, but it’s a good idea to check the local laws in your area. For example, children under age 16 can’t run dangerous machinery, such as floor polishers. If you’re already giving your kids an allowance to do chores around the house, you may as well bring them to work, pay them, and reap the rewards of another deduction.
Remember the Home Office
The home office deduction allows you to write off a portion of your home expenses based on the size of the office relative to your home and how often you work there. If you spend most of your time cleaning other people’s homes, you typically don’t qualify for this deduction. To claim it, you must spend the majority of your work time in the office. There is an exception — if you meet clients in your office regularly, you can claim this deduction. If you eventually hire other cleaners and spend most of your time in your home office behind the scenes or meeting clients, then you may qualify for this deduction.
With a bit of preparation and information about business deductions, tax time doesn’t have to be messy. If you keep these tips in mind, you can streamline tax filing and reduce how much you owe. QuickBooks Online can help you maximize your tax deductions. Keep more of what you earn today.