A while back, I wrote an article about tax auditors not knowing your business. In today’s post, we will look at the CRA’s appeal department’s knowledge of the restaurant business. I wish I could say that Appeals Officers are better equipped to deal with restaurant tax audit issues, but I can’t. Continue reading “CRA Appeals Officers Don’t Know Your Business”
A little while back, I was the main source for an article in a Globe and Mail about the taxation of tips in Canada. I’ve written about taxing tips before, here and here. In this post, I’ll give an update and discuss two problem areas that most restaurateurs need to know about. Continue reading “More on the Taxation of Tips”
A restaurateur approached me just after he had received notice that his bar was going to be reassessed for HST on unreported sales. This was a fairly typical situation that many bar and restaurants find themselves in after an audit. There is always a way to “fight” or appeal these cases, at least in part. So, I took the case. Continue reading “Another Tax Appeal Home Run”
I started writing this blog in September, 2009. At that time, there was very little useful information about restaurant tax audits in Canada (or anywhere). In the 42 articles that I have written so far, I have tried to fill this gap with practical information geared towards restaurateurs. Based on the comments I’ve received from a number of readers, I think I have succeeded. There still isn’t much useful information about restaurant tax audits, other than what you will find in this blog. That’s a shame, but it keeps me motivated to continue helping as many restaurateurs as I can.
It was kind of fun trying to come up with a decent headline for today’s article. Tips are in the news a lot, lately. Servers, and others who receive tips, don’t like handing out a portion of their tips to other co-workers and especially not to the “house” (management). Now, we find that they don’t like “tipping out” to the big house, either! It’s not like we didn’t know this, but apparently, the CRA is just starting to take notice!
A few months ago, Dining Date Night began offering customers a 30% discount at various restaurants in Toronto. In order to get the discount, a customer books a reservation on a website and pays a $10 fee to Dining Date Night. When the customer visits the restaurant, 30% of the total bill (before taxes) is deducted as a discount. This type of promotion is relatively good for both the consumer and the restaurant that provides the discount, because the restaurant can restrict the hours when reservations may be taken.
I’ve written a couple of articles about Groupon on my sister blog, Canadian Restaurateur. This is part of a series that will cover accounting for Groupon certificates, setting up your Point of Sale (POS) system to properly track coupons and discounts, using QuickBooks to enter Groupon transactions, examining the tax treatment of Groupon certificates (this one), and finally, determining whether your restaurant should consider Groupon.
Many restaurant owners use their automobiles for picking up supplies for the business, researching other restaurants, and making trips related to the restaurant’s operations. In Canada, individuals are able to claim a reasonable portion of their automobile expenses against their employment income from the business. Even if you don’t draw a salary, you’re still considered an employee, by being a director of the company.
I’m certainly not saying that all, or even a significant number, of CRA’s tax auditors are corrupt, but this story in the Montreal Gazette highlights some very interesting issues surrounding restaurant tax audits.
The corrupt tax auditors seemed to focus on restaurants, knowing that they could “justify” large reassessments, unless the owners paid them bribes. In at least one case, the auditor asked for the bribe before auditing the restaurant! Finally, the auditors could just as easily make a restaurant appear to be reporting all of its income as it could make it look like they were evading large amounts of tax.
An RCMP investigation of Canada Revenue Agency employees has resulted in three former auditors being accused of shaking down restaurant owners for cash.
There are about 80,800 restaurants in Canada (CRFA), and about half are audited every four years. That’s a lot of restaurants being audited, and you just know that the majority of them receive reassessments at the end of each audit.
Rather interestingly, there are only about 10 significant court cases involving restaurants that had been audited using the mark-up method. How can this be?