Sunday, 22 April 2018

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New Smartphone Apps Help Canadians PAY LESS TAX

New Smartphone Apps Help Canadians PAY LESS TAX - 4.8 out of 5 based on 12 votes

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( 12 Votes )

“We all pay too much tax.” So says Philippe DioGuardi, the tax lawyer Canadians recognize from the television and radio ads that turned tax into a marketable topic. And why do we pay too much? 

According to Mr. DioGuardi, “It’s because we’re too busy, too disorganized, or maybe just too tired, to keep track of the bits of paper that we need to “vouch” the write offs. But every lost receipt is a lost opportunity to pay less tax.”

That excuse stops now, with the launch of DioShoebox and DioLog, two new smartphone apps that make it incredibly easy to “cappture” expenses and keep them safely sorted and summed up until they’re needed at tax time.

As a tax lawyer, Mr. DioGuardi has seen first hand the problems people face when they can’t produce the receipts necessary to file a tax return or, even worse, defend the return when the Canada Revenue Agency audits. No receipt adds up to no tax deduction, which means people wind up paying more to the Taxman than is necessary. DioGuardi Tax Law offices are filled with shoeboxes, shopping bags, and plastic bins crammed with wrinkled, ripped, and faded receipts that are a challenge to sort through, even for the experienced lawyers and tax technicians who work at DioGuardi Tax Law.

“If our staff find the task daunting,” says Mr. DioGuardi, “you can imagine how a small business person feels every year at tax time. They’re overwhelmed by it all. So they shut down and just don’t file.  Or they grab what they can and hope it’s enough to get them filed. Either way, they’ll wind up paying more tax than they than would have, had they filed with every legitimate expense.”

This hands-on experience inspired the tax lawyer to commission a suite of apps calculated to help taxpayers take control of their receipts and their taxes, using the tool that they have in hand every day – their smartphone.

The first app is called DioShoebox. Named for the receipt-filled shoeboxes of the DioGuardi clients, DioShoebox works with the smartphone’s camera to “cappture” receipts at the time of purchase and upload them immediately into a virtual folder inside the virtual Dioshoebox. The app comes pre-set with folders for common categories such as Gas, Parking, Mileage, Food and Entertainment, Computer and Office stuff. You can add custom folders for any other categories you choose. Upload a receipt, and the image is stored in the folder at the same time the expense is logged on an automatically-generated spreadsheet that keeps a running tally of all expenses ‘capptured’ to date in the folder. There’s also a master spreadsheet that shows the totals from each folder, along with the Dioshoebox grand total.

The folders can emailed directly from your phone to any email address, and also can be viewed and amended on your computer or ipad.

When it’s time to do taxes, the totals for each expense category are all ready tallied up and can be entered into the appropriate box on the tax return. There’s no need for a bookkeeper or other accounting middleman.

The second app, DioLog, is the companion app to DioShoebox. Linked to the GPS in the phone, DioLog tracks the kilometres from each trip, converting the kms to the tax-deductible dollar value as you drive. At journey’s end you can record a voice note for the trip, or type in the details, before you upload it to the special DioLog folder in the DioShoebox.

For small business owners, the benefits of these apps are obvious. But even the T4 salaried will find DioShoebox helpful for storing transit passes, the kids’ sports and fitness activity receipts, medical expenses, renovation costs, daycare…anything that is eligible as a deduction on a tax return.

With the help of any one of the many online tax return programs available, most taxpayers could use the DioShoebox totals to prepare and file returns on their own. For those not brave enough to file DIY, the DioShoebox totals make preparing the return fast and easy for a tax preparer. In the first four weeks there have been more than a thousand downloads of the apps.

“Watching your tax writeoffs add up in real dollars is the best incentive to keep 'cappturing' ”, says Mr. DioGuardi. “ With these apps, tax is no longer something you ignore until it’s time to file – or until the CRA comes after you to make you file. It’s in your control every day, every time you incur an expense or travel on business. DioShoebox has the power to change the way Canadians prepare for tax filing. File better. Pay less tax. It’s irresistibly simple.”

Obviously the apps are most effective when used every day. But if you’re behind in filing a few years, or you’re scrambling to get ready for this year’s tax deadline, you can still use the app to upload your receipts into DioShoebox and automatically generate the spreadsheet summaries.

These two apps can be of great benefit to taxpayers, says  Mr. DioGuardi. “Canadian taxpayers deserve easy access to trustworthy tax assistance. These apps put that help in their pockets.”

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Trust a tax lawyer to come up with the answer to the nightmare of sorting out tax receipts. The baggie, the box and the bookkeeper are finally history.

 

 

 


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