Mother’s Day History

I have four children, so Mother’s day is a really important event for our family. As I write this, my kids are anxiously awaiting our matriarch to come down the stairs so they can shower her with love and gifts. Honoring our mothers should be something we do every day, so I started wondering why it became an official holiday.

Did you know that the celebration of motherhood can be dated back to the ancient Greeks? They would hold festivals to honor the mother goddess Rhea. While I’m sure many mother’s out there today would happily embrace a comparison to a goddess, this isn’t actually the roots of our modern day celebration.

The most likely starting point for today’s incarnation is Christian festival known as Mothering Sunday that was celebrated in the UK and other parts of Europe. It was a time during Lent when the community would return to their “mother church” for a special service.

By the early 1900’s, the celebration shifted towards our mothers and children would demonstrated their appreciation by presenting moms with flowers and gifts. Some form of honoring motherhood is practiced in almost every culture and for good reason; Moms rock!

Happy mother’s day to all our friends, staff, customers and family. You deserve to have an amazing day.

Fort McMurray Residents get Help From Calgary Registries

Along with the rest of Alberta, we at Calgary Bookkeeping are saddened by the terrible devastation that is occurring in the Fort McMurray area. We commend Service Alberta and the Association of Alberta Registry Agents for moving quickly to come up with a plan for how we can do our part to assist the thousands of Albertans who have been affected by the tragic Horse River Fire. Starting over without identity and ownership documents is challenging. Here is what we can do to help:
  1. Clients who need a duplicate of their vehicle registration, Alberta driver’s licence or ID Card can go to any Registry Agent to get an expedited duplicate at no charge. Service Alberta is advising that these can be produced in about 3 days and they can be delivered to a temporary address. In recognition of the fact that many people who were displaced by the fires did not have adequate time to gather identity documents, Service Alberta is allowing Registry Agents to verify client identity through viewing of photos and signatures and knowledge verification of information on the motor vehicle database.
  2. Clients who require Alberta Health replacement cards can visit any Alberta Health processing office. Registries Plus is a processing office for Alberta Health, which means we are able to look up a Health number, provide a temporary card and order a replacement card on the spot. Alberta Health Care services are always free of charge for all eligible Alberta residents.
  3. Birth certificates can also be ordered free of charge for any Albertan affected by the Horse River Fire. These documents can be delivered to any address that the requester provides.
  4. Land title ownership documents can also be ordered with no government fee when required by Albertans affected by the Horse River fire.
If you have been affected and have relocated to Calgary, please come see our parent company at Registries Plus in NE Calgary. We are here to help.

Canada helps small business exports with new $50-million program

podium-freeland-Phil.Froklage@communitech.ca_Chrystia Freeland, our new Minister of International Trade, just unveiled a $50-million program to help small businesses increase sales abroad. The program is called CanExport (read more here). This five-year program is designed to match export and development expenses with grants from $10,000 to $100,000.

“Something I want to say to all the small businesses here is, I am your Chief Marketing Officer,” Freeland said. “My job is to help every company in Canada export its services and its goods.”

There is a lot of really great news with this announcement. It show’s Canada is committed to increasing its economic standing from its 11th-place global ranking. It also shows there’s support for our startup communities. What’s not clear is the extent to which this program will actually create jobs.

Many technology and manufacturing companies have depended on labor from markets other than Canada to produce its goods. Will this program simply fund development in these other markets to the tune of $50M, or will it encourage more home-grown jobs. Time will tell.

To be eligible for this program, companies must have fewer than 250 employees and generate between $200,000 and $50 million in revenue. Unlike many other development programs, like the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SRED) incentive, this one doesn’t target any specific industry like tech, though tech was referenced a number of times in her speech.

“The companies who we really want to help are exactly the kind of companies who are incubating here at Communitech; who are just getting started,” she said, adding “. . . we have to go global really, really fast in order to succeed.”

Many Albertans have been uncertain about having left-wing parties at both the provincial and federal level. Particularly in light of issues like Energy East. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, one thing we can likely agree on is that an 11th-place ranking is a terrible economic position for our country. Programs like this are an encouraging sign that we’re prepared to take action to build a stronger economic future.

No more license and registration reminders in the mail?

Many Albertans are confused about what the cancellation of mailed-out renewal notifications means for them when it comes time to renew their plates or driver’s licences.

The Government of Alberta recently announced that Albertans will no longer receive Operator and Vehicle Renewal Notices in the mail. Cancellation of mail our reminders is expected to save the Alberta Government $3 million per year. Seniors over the age of 70 get an extra year and will continue to receive reminders until April 2017 and persons with disabilities will receive mail notifications indefinitely.

As far as renewing your operator licence, it is important to remember that your licence always expires on your actual birthday, not on the last day of your birthday month. Simply come to Registries Plus with your expired licence and we will issue you a new one for $84.45. Keep in mind that your old licence will have to be surrendered and destroyed. You will be issued a temporary licence which does not contain your photo. You are allowed to drive with the temporary licence, but you will need to make other arrangements for photo ID, so please plan ahead.

For your vehicle renewal, we can also do this renewal by looking up your motor vehicle file in the motor vehicle database, provided you can show us valid government-issued photo ID (in most cases, your driver’s licence). We can also renew a vehicle registration for a person who isn’t present as long as the person who is coming into the office has either the previous vehicle registration certificate (valid or expired less than 90 days) or a letter of authorization from the owner of the vehicle. If the person coming into Registries Plus doesn’t have a letter of authorization, we will not be able to make any changes to the registration (i.e. address), but we can still renew the registration.

If you have any questions about these changes, pop into Registries Plus #20 150 52 Street NE anytime 7:30 – 6 Monday – Friday or 9:30 – 5:00 on Saturday or call us at 403 272-5513. We look forward to serving you!

Calgarian defrauded $20K in CRA scam involving iTunes gift cards

On April 11, 2016, Calgary Bookkeeping posted a blog called How to Spot Fraudulent Activity At Tax Time. We saw this from CBC News Calgary and thought it was worthy of re-posting.

Calgarian defrauded $20K in CRA scam involving iTunes gift cards

A Calgary woman has been defrauded in a Canada Revenue Agency scheme to the tune of almost $20,000 involving iTunes gift cards, Calgary police said in a release Thursday.

The woman got a call Wednesday morning from a man claiming to work with the tax agency, stating an arrest warrant had been issued for her due to unpaid taxes…. Read more.

 

Missing a check from the CRA?

direct deposit

Are you missing a check or do you have an uncashed check from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)?

Maybe you’ve moved or maybe one of your kids mistook your CRA check for a scribbling book. Whatever the reason for not having your check, the good news is that it’s still money owed to you by the CRA and these checks never expire.

The CRA has convenient processes for getting replacement checks and for things like cashing checks from someone who might have died.

They also offer direct deposit services so you can avoid check related issues. To learn more about direct deposit or how to recover missing checks, vist the CRA website here.

Personal finance getting easier thanks to CRA

Proof of incomeFor most people, visiting the Canada Revenue Agency website isn’t a daily or even weekly occurrence. In fact, it’s probably associated with a lot of pain for most people because who likes to think about paying taxes. However, the CRA website is actually doing a lot to make things easier for us when it comes to managing personal finances. I don’t imagine this post will convince you to replace your Facebook time with CRA browsing, but there are a few things you should take a peek at.

My Account

We bank online, we shop online, we play online, so why not manage our taxes, refund and employment records online? This is where the My Account service comes in. One you register for your My Account, you’ll be able to track your refund, view and modify your returns and check your benefits, among a range of other things. Learn more

Proof of Income Statements

Banks, employers, lenders and a range of other organizations will require proof of your income from time to time. This use to require letters from employers, bank statements, notice of assessments, T4s, etc. The CRA will now supply you with a PIS right from your My Account. It’s a huge time saver and much more convenient that traditional methods. Learn more

My Payment

CRA is now making it easier to make payments online. Now you can pay using Visa debit or Interact Online. Available with Scotiabank, RBC, TD Canada Trust and CIBC. Learn more

MyCRA Mobile App

This app is specifically for individual taxpayers. It lets you securely access and view things like:

  • Notice of assessments
  • Return status
  • Benefits and credits
  • TFSA and RRSP contribution limits
  • Home buyer’s plans.

You can also manage online mail, contact information, direct deposits and request at PIS. Learn more

How to spot fraudulent activity at tax time

Albertans should always be on guard for fraudulent activity, but especially during tax season warns the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).Fraud

Taxpayers should be vigilant when they receive communication by telephone, mail, text message or email from someone claiming to be from the CRA.

As the filing deadline for the 2015 income tax returns approaches, the public needs to be aware that there are many kinds of fraud whereby scammers claim to be from the CRA. These attacks are more common just before and after tax season.

These scams range from emails advising people to click on a link to receive a refund, to threatening or coercive messages that scare individuals into paying a fictitious debt to the CRA.

Push back from the victim can sometimes be met with threats that the matter will be escalated to police or other actions from the CRA that would damage the person’s financial situation. The scammer’s hope is that the tax payer will be frightened into complying.

It’s important to know that the CRA has strict policy and legislation to follow in terms of what it can and cannot do at tax time. Knowing this can help you spot fraudulent activity. For example, the CRA would never:

  • Threaten you with an arrest or with time in prison
  • Ask for information about your passport, healthcare card, or driver’s licence
  • Request personal information to be sent by email
  • Email you a link requesting you to fill in an online form with personal or financial details
  • Send you a link to your refund by email or text message
  • Setup an in-person meeting in a public place to take a payment
  • Demand immediate payment by prepaid credit card

If you suspect you’re being a victim of fraudulent activity, immediately contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcentre.ca or call toll free at 1-888-495-8501.

If you receive any questionable communication from the Canada Revenue Agency hang up and either call your tax professional or Canada Revenue Agency directly as follows:

Personal tax: 1-800-959-8281

Business enquiries: 1-800-959-5525

Here is the link for more information about the different types of fraud from the CRA’s website:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/menu-eng.html

Trade Name Registration Price Reduced

Trade Name or Partnership – Now Just $50

toolbox1

It goes without saying that many Albertans are going through some tough financial times these days. Many people who have found themselves out of work are choosing to go into business for themselves. At Registries Plus, we want to be the first to congratulate you and help you on your way. To make it more affordable for you to start your own sole proprietorship (trade name) or partnership, we have reduced the cost to just $50 plus gst.

We can normally do a Trade Name or Partnership registration for you at the counter while you wait – no need for an appointment. If you want us to do a NUANS search to see if the name you want to use is available, the cost will be an additional $45 and it can take up to 2 hours for the results to come back to us.

We believe that Alberta’s “can-do spirit” is what makes our province great and we want to be part of your success story. Make Registries Plus the first step on your road to success.