Taking Business Accounting Courses? A Quick Guide to Canadian Taxes

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“The nation should have a tax system that looks like someone designed it on purpose.”—William Simon, 1977

In Canada, our tax system is a cause of stress to many. Professional business accountants (PBAs) are the experts who intervene, helping run-of-the-mill Canadian business owners check all the boxes they need to stay on top of their taxes.

If you become a PBA professional, clients will expect you to be able to tackle their taxes with skill. Canadian taxation is a topic thoroughly covered in the best PBA programs, so you can rest at ease—if taxes are a mystery to you, there’s plenty of time to prepare.

Here’s a quick guide to help you begin getting your grasp on Canada’s tax system:

Professional Business Accountants are Income Tax Experts

Income tax is perhaps the form of taxes you’ll encounter most during your PBA career—and one form you’ve likely already had to navigate. The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) collects taxes from the income of every citizen (as well as businesses and individuals who aren’t citizens, but “residents” for taxation purposes).


The familiar first page of a Canadian income tax return form.

The familiar first page of a Canadian income tax return form.

If you’re a Canadian PBA student, you’re responsible for filling out an income tax return each year, which lists your taxable income, deductions, and tax credits to determine how much you owe the government. With the right insight, practice, and ethical standards, you can build a career on helping others do theirs.

PBAs Sort Out Sales Tax (GST, PST, HST)

If you become a PBA for a business involved in sales, you’ll need to ensure it’s giving the government its dues for every product sold. Most Canadian provinces collect sales tax through a model called HST (harmonized sales tax), a combination of GST (goods and services tax) and PST (personal sales tax). BC sales tax does not currently involve HST—it’s comprised of 5% GST and 7% PST applied to all taxable goods and services.

Sales tax is a Canadian institution: it’s been around since pre-Confederate times.

Sales tax is a Canadian institution: it’s been around since pre-Confederate times.

If you’re already good with numbers, the right business accounting courses will make you a pro at calculating sales tax. You’ll get hands-on training in everything from cost-accounting to statistics to financial management, which you’ll need for a PBA career in the thriving sales and service sector.

Prepare for Property Tax with Business Accounting Courses

When you graduate from a business accounting program, you’ll be eligible for careers in a variety professional environments alongside a wide variety of working Canadians. Whether in a home office, restaurant, or corporate sky rise, every single business owner needs to manage their property taxes.

Taxes on residential, industrial, and commercial properties fund a large part of every Canadian municipality. There are two types of property taxes: firstly, the annual tax levied on the value of a property (land plus buildings), and secondly, the “land transfer tax” added to sale prices when properties are put on the commercial market. For that reason, these taxes play a large part in the work of PBAs hired by real estate businesses.

Business Tax: Central to Professional Business Accountant Careers

Recent figures show there are approximately 1,138,760 registered businesses (RBs) in Canada. As well as being responsible for taxes on payroll, GST/PST, and any importing/exporting of goods and services, these businesses must also report corporation income tax.

Business tax is a professional business accountant’s bread and butter.

Business tax is a professional business accountant’s bread and butter.

Corporate tax levies prices on the business’ income and expenses, through a special T2 corporate income tax return. PBAs are essential to this work! They help businesses register and report their relevant numbers to the government, and to pay their dues in installments.

It’s easy to understand Canadian taxes when you know where to start. And the right professional accounting business college will help you on your way, turning this understanding into a secure, lucrative career you can be proud of.

Are you interested in becoming a professional business accountant?

Visit Stenberg to learn more about our training programs or to speak with an advisor.



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