Does Canada Revenue Agency Think You Are Self-Employed?

With the economy going the way it is practically everyone is becoming self-employed these days. According to Industry Canada’s Small Business Quarterly, the number of self-employment workers increased by 40,000 to 2.633 million from 2008 to 2009, an increase of 1.5 percent. But are you really self-employed? Yes, of course the guy who is paying you tells you, ‘its ok, you are self-employed’. He calls you a contractor and even has you sign a contract but does CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) think you are self-employed. It is an important question to ask yourself because you may end up being reassessed on the basis of your employment status. This would mean some or all of your deduction may be disallowed by CRA.Employment status directly affects your entitlement to EI (Employment Insurance) and CPP (Canada Pension Plan). If you are an employee, the payer is considered an employer. Employers are responsible for deducting CPP contributions, EI premiums, and income tax from amounts they pay to their employees. They have to remit these deductions along with their share of CPP contributions and EI premiums.Certain factors have to be considered when determining if you are an employee or self-employed individual. In all provinces or territories except Quebec, the following determine your employment status. When examining whether or not you are an employee or self-employed individual, the key question is whether or not your were engaged to perform services as a person in business on your own account, or as an employee.The intent of you and the payer when you both entered into the working arrangement is very important. Did the two parties (you and the payer) intend to enter into a contract of service (employer-employee relationship) or did they intend to enter into a contract for services (business relationship)? The best way to show clear intent is to have a written agreement- the terms and conditions of the work to be performed. Note: In a written contract, the parties may state that in the event of a disagreement regarding the contents of the contract, it is to be interpreted under the Quebec law (Civil Code), even though the contract was formed for example in Ontario (Common Law).Aside from the contract, you have to answer the following questions and if possible answer them in the contract. CRA uses these same questions to determine whether or not a business relationship existed.What level of control the payer has over the workerControl is the ability, authority, or right of a payer to exercise control over a worker concerning the manner in which the work is done and what work will be done. If the payer exercises a high level of control (especially on the worker’s daily activities) then an employer-employee relationship may exist. Some of the indicators that the worker is an employee are; the relationship is one of subordination; the payer controls the worker with respect to both the results of the work and the method used to do the work; the payer determines and controls the method and amount of pay; the worker requires permission to work for other payers while working for this payer; the payer determines what jobs the worker will do; the worker receives training or direction from the payer on how to do the work; and the payer chooses to listen to the worker’s suggestions but has the final word. Some of the indicators that the worker is a self-employed individual are; worker usually work independently within a defined framework; does not have anyone overseeing them; free to work when and for whom he or she chooses and may provide his or her services to different payers at the same time; can accept or refuse work from the payer; and the relationship between the payer and the worker does not present a degree of continuity, loyalty, security, subordination, or integration.Did the worker provide the tools and equipment used?If you own and provide tools and equipment to accomplish the work or have contractual control of and responsibility for, an asset in a rental or lease situation.Can the worker subcontract the works or hire assistants?If you have to perform the services personally and can not send a replacement then you are an employee. So the payer has no say in whom the worker hires.What degree of financial risk taken by the worker?If you made a significant investment in the tools and equipment along with the cost of replacement, repair, and insurance may place you at a risk of loss. There must not be any reimbursement by the payer for use of these tools and equipments supplied by the worker. With a risk of loss, you are taking high degree of financial risk.What degree of responsibility for investment and management held by worker?You had to invest capital to in order to get the contract. You manage your staff- you hire and pay individuals to help perform the work.Is there an opportunity for profit by the worker?You can realize a profit or incur a loss, as this indicates you control the business aspects of services rendered and that a business relationship likely exists.Let’s look at the above statements from a cash-flow prospective. For example, if John Doe is the employee above and makes $19.31 per hour. His latest paycheck has the following information:Gross Earnings $1057.22CPP ($ 46.24)EI ($ 18.32)FED Tax ($ 120.38)Take Home $ 872.28Now if John Doe was self-employed then this is what his cash-flow would look like:Gross Earnings $1057.22Fed Tax ($ 120.38)Take Home $ 936.84There is a definite advantage to being self-employed over being employed from a cash-flow perspective. The disadvantage is you have to create your own retirement plan (CPP) and a cushion (EI) in the event of a slowdown or shut-off of revenue.

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An Online Health Food Store Supplies More Info For Consumers on Natural Products Like Health Drinks

Online Health Food Stores have become a one-stop shop for health drinks and all natural foods that you can’t find in typical supermarkets or even retail health food stores. While it’s difficult these days to determine what items are really healthy and “natural” by looking at labels, online health food stores often have far more in-depth information available to consumers. Many times, products like health drinks may have only one natural ingredient, but still be labeled, “natural”, which does not always mean they’re healthy. This can be confusing for health conscious shoppers who want the highest quality nutrition.Online health food stores are often much more thorough in describing the true nature of their health drinks and other products. They go to great lengths assuring customers that things like preservatives, isolated vitamins, artificial dyes or sweeteners are not included in their all natural foods and health drinks. They investigate the manufacturing facilities and processes to be certain that products are processed at low temperatures to maintain the whole food structures and live enzymes inherent in truly natural ingredients. Unfortunately, some of the so-called health drinks and all natural foods at typical stores are devoid of nutrients because of the processing and pasteurization in the packaging processes.There has never been a better time to discover a new way of shopping for healthy products. Here are a few examples of things you will find at an online health food store that may appear the same as typical store bought items on the surface, but are vastly different in the way they are processed:* Vitamins – At the online health food store it is more likely these are whole food vitamins, not isolated vitamins, which will give you more effective absorption of nutrients directly into your cells.* Natural low carb and high fiber foods – These are not fake-food substitutes, but real, all natural food formulas prepared with long-term results in mind.* Health drinks and teas – Not enhanced bottled waters or candy colored sport drinks, but herbal beverages with whole food ingredients and live enzymes.* Alkaline Foods and Drinks – Unlike overly processed foods and drinks that create an acid ash in the bloodstream, alkaline foods and drinks support a healthy pH balance, so you can avoid health problems such as bone weakness and arthritis.* Nutrition for athletes and pregnant women – Concentrated with many pounds of natural ingredients to produce one pound of finished product, these online health food store products provide more power in fewer calories.Many of the all natural foods and health drinks from an online health food store are likely to contain ingredients that have been grown on small farms or even in the wilderness, without the use of harmful pesticides and chemical fertilizers that are robbing our foods of real nutrients. This is far different from mass-produced products made with so-called “natural” ingredients that have been manufactured on giant factory farms with artificial fertilizers and dangerous pesticides.If you wouldn’t use it in your own garden, then you probably won’t find it in products grown for all natural foods and health drinks at an online health food store. You would be surprised to know how many non-organic foods, and even some labeled as “natural”, have been grown that way. The United States Department of Agriculture defines organic food as produced by a farmer practicing soil and water conservation. In addition, they must make use of renewable resources in order to protect the environment for future generations. These are the types of all natural foods and health drinks that you will find at a reliable online health food store.Today, some people avoid healthy lifestyle choices because they think the cost is too high or that alternative choices will rob them of modern day conveniences. However, it is important to realize that modern technology can bring those conveniences to anyone with Internet access. If you can Google, you can find an “online health food store with all natural health drinks”. Don’t fall into the unfortunate trap of not making the switch because you believe that you can’t afford all natural foods and health drinks without making major sacrifices. It won’t matter if the weather is bad or if you don’t have time to get to the market. It’s easy to order health drinks and other items from an online health food store with more detailed information on what you are buying than you could ever get from a typical store.As consumers, we know that it is time to restore ourselves with nature. The quick fix and shortcuts that have rooted us in our everyday lives no longer serve us well, if they ever really did. This is not a passing fad. It is a wake up call that you see more and more as online health food store owners are leading the way for a green generation to discover a better way of shopping for truly all natural foods and health drinks.

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Illinois HIPAA Health Insurance Plans – What You Need to Know About the IL HIPAA Regulations

The Illinois HIPAA health insurance laws are designed to protect the health care rights of all Illinois residents and prevent “job lock”. If one is eligible for an IL HIPAA health insurance plan then the plan will be issued on a guaranteed issue basis and all pre-existing conditions will be covered immediately from day one.The state of Illinois is one of the most important ones in the whole continental United States. It is home to 12,831,970 people and its population has increased by 3.3% since the year 2000. All this changes have led to regulation from the Federal Government, specifically Health care regulations. The state of Illinois like many others, offers low cost health insurance for many people, however there are many more that cannot be covered because they are non eligible or they simply think that the type of state funded care is not comparable to one that they can buy by them.In August 26, 1996 the Federal government passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that changed the health care insurance company world drastically. The act calls for insurance companies to improve efficiency in the health care system delivery by standardizing electronic data interchange and to protect confidentiality and security of health care data through setting and enforcing standards.While one of the most important aspects of the HIPAA laws to remember if you are an Illinois resident looking for health insurance (or really a resident of any of the 50 states since HIPAA is a Federal law) is that HIPAA allows for guaranteed issue coverage if one meets certain criteria. Speak with a qualified health insurance agent or financial planner for more details on the specific HIPAA requirements.Complying with all requirements of this law will require providers and all entities within the health care industry to make significant changes to their computer information systems, business practices and procedures. If companies did not comply with the regulations they would be subject to heavy fines up to $25,000 a year! The deadlines for this law were divided into the electronic standards (October 26, 2002) and the privacy standards (April 14, 2003).Within the state of Illinois the same provisions under federal law apply. The state of Illinois published new rules that would ensure standardization of electronic patient health, administrative and financial data, and unique health identifiers for individuals, employers, health plans and health care providers, and protecting security standards for individual’s intimate information. The HIPAA’s regulations can be viewed as an “administrative simplification” which is composed of four parts.Standard for Electronic Transactions: This section out of the four is the one that mandates for computerizing the health care industry. Prior to this they would find many ways to implement and manage all their customer information. It includes health plan claims, health plan eligibility, enrollment and disenrollment, payments for premiums and claim status. An example of the electronic standard transaction would be the health care companies adopting codes such as coding systems that describe injuries and types of plans.Unique identifiers for employers, providers and health plans: This part of the plan just makes sure they providers and employers can exchange private and valuable information with each other error free. They require employers to adopt an employer’s tax ID, or employer identification numbers. Although the plan calls for this, a final Health Plan identifier has not yet been finalized.Security Rule: This third section of the plan provides a uniformed level of protection for information about any individual that is private and transmitted electronically. It requires entities and health care providers to ensure the confidentiality and availability of an individual’s information and to protect against any hazards or the security of such information.Privacy Rule: The last section of the act may be the most important one for the health care industry to follow and for the customers to know. This section of the plan just makes sure that any individual’s private information is not shared unless is needed by the coverage agency, even if the information is saved in electronic format. The rule also has a basic set of national privacy standards regarding what insurance companies must do with the information and the patients. The national privacy standards include but are not limited to the following: give patients new right to access their own medical records, restrict access to medical access by other people (not the patient), provide that all patients are notified of covered entities’ privacy practices, establish criminal as well as monetary sanctions for the improper disclosure of private information and establish business associate agreements with business partners that safeguard the private information.HIPAA regulation is one of the most important pieces of legislation regarding Health Care laws in the last decade. To the Federal Government and the state of Illinois is not only important to provide Americans with plans that can assist them with their health insurance needs, but they also want to protect Americans with their privacy and allow them to trust their health insurance entities.

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