Key Advice To Small Business Owners During These Challenging Times By Frank Bilotta

Small Business Canada

With over fifteen years in public practise providing tax consulting services to owner-managed businesses and their shareholders, and seven years of previous experience in the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) business audit division, Frank Bilotta brings a unique perspective to clients at SBLR.

Frank has advised privately-held enterprises and high net worth individuals in various industries, to ensure they minimize their tax exposure and enhance profits, as well as assisting them with CRA assessments and disputes, estate planning, commodity tax, and succession planning. 

Frank’s specialized knowledge and expertise in the area of owner-managed tax consulting is in high demand. He works closely with clients to identify opportunities for minimizing corporate and personal tax exposure, focusing on corporate reorganizations, estate planning, and representing clients on tax objections and appeals.

What is your key advice to small business owners during these challenging times? And what steps should they take to keep their small business afloat during the current crisis?

From a tax perspective, business owners need to plan for things such as: their eligibility for available government subsidies, credits and grants; loss utilization; disposing or writing down obsolete assets to provide tax deductions; amalgamation/windups to eliminate unprofitable business entities; and managing employee/employer payroll tax  by using strategies such as salary deferral planning and non-cash benefits.  All of these have the potential to minimize a business’s tax burden and, therefore, provide cash flow liquidity.  It is a matter of identifying and planning for strategies that are the most suitable for the particular business to help in its recovery.  However, short and long-term tax planning is also crucial to a comprehensive business plan.  Business owners need to establish a business plan that addresses current and ongoing cash flow needs and sets the roadmap for the business’s recovery and growth.  Business owners should be taking a deep-dive into all aspect of their business, including:

  • Reviewing business lines and products to determine which are profitable versus unprofitable, and which will be in demand or discontinued as a result of the new “normal” that the pandemic has created,
  • Reviewing opportunities for new business lines/products that the pandemic has created, and the potential new business they could provide (”re-invent your business”),
  • Reviewing how products or services are being delivered to the market place to get up to speed on technology and new customer habits,
  • Reviewing and eliminating expenses which are not necessary for the  business, for example, if working from home is an option, consider getting rid of excess office space, and
  • Investing in marketing/business development to attract customers and stay current with their needs.

What is important is that the business plan must be continuously reviewed and adjusted to the changing circumstances that the market faces.  This may take a substantial amount of time for the business owner and may require professional advisors’ assistance, which owners should not shy away from.

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