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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
    Posts
    2

    Smile Starting up in British Columbia, business number? taxes? claiming expenses?

    Hi everybody! I've been reading lots of posts, love these forums and this is my first time posting here. My husband and i started with 4 hives this year, up to 8 now. We are planning on expanding in the next 3 years or so to the point where we can sell bees. We don't want to get into honey production unless we have to. This is my first year beekeeping but my husband has lots of beekeeping experience (worked for commercial beekeepers for years in the past) and has always wanted his own beekeeping business. This is a sideline business for him, but full-time for me. I am in charge of the 'books' and the business end of things but have never run a business before and don't really know where to start.

    1. What kind of business liscence do we need to get? is there a different kind for farm based businesses than for regular businesses?
    2. Farm status? can you get farm status if you don't own the land that the apiaries are on? what are the benefits of having 'farm status'--i've read online that you can get a better rate from bchydro (tier one rates), and lower property taxes (wouldnt apply to us because we don't own the land that our bees are on), and marked gas (that would be super helpful especially if we put the bees up into the fireweed in the mountains)
    3. we are expecting financial losses for the first few years while we build up, as we spend money on bees and equipment. can my husband claim those losses against his regular income tax at his day job?
    4. what kind of records should i be keeping? for now i've just been throwing all the receipts for bee-related expenses into a file in the filing cabinet!! there's got to be a better way of doing this
    5. are there any books, websites, online courses about the business side of beekeeping that you would recommend for a newbie like myself?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Skiff, Alberta, CA
    Posts
    611

    Default Re: Starting up in British Columbia, business number? taxes? claiming expenses?

    Quick answer, go find a decent sized farmer near you and ask for the accountants name. An accountant that does farm taxes is critical and will have all of your answers. First step probably get a gst/business number.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,451

    Default Re: Starting up in British Columbia, business number? taxes? claiming expenses?

    I may be wrong but don't believe you need a GST..business..number unless you are receipting $40,000 a year or more.

    Farm status is based on the land. It assesses the property value at a lower rate. The land owner applies and runs the farm. We certainly have no benefits on gas,electricity,water but you can get blue gas. However there are significant fined if you use a blue gas vehicle for anything other than direct farm work...no picking up kids, no personal shopping,no vacations etc...just point to point farm work.
    For farm status you also need have sales in your first year...the amount depends on the acreage of the farm.
    With farm status you can tight off expenses against sales...no problem with a loss but you must have gross sales.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Skiff, Alberta, CA
    Posts
    611

    Default Re: Starting up in British Columbia, business number? taxes? claiming expenses?

    You won't get your gst back without a number. I would assume you wouldn't burn enough dyed fuel to save much. In Alberta we only save on the federal taxes on the fuel.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Starting up in British Columbia, business number? taxes? claiming expenses?

    sounds like we don't really need farm status right now. we know of people who rent their land and have farm status, so i'm guessing that when we pay honey rent that we would technically be able to qualify, but we're not at the point where it would make a big enough difference to bother with the paperwork.

    https://www.bcac.bc.ca/bcac-news/bc-...m-rate-and-pst this is a link that tells a bit about the hydro rate for farmers in bc. kindof a big deal especially when they're going to be increasing rates by 25% in the next few years.

    i'll ask around for a good ag accountant, thanks for the tip.
    Last edited by island girl; 07-03-2014 at 02:47 PM. Reason: sp

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,451

    Default Re: Starting up in British Columbia, business number? taxes? claiming expenses?

    If you place your hives on someone's property they have to show the required gross income. They can lease additional land and if the lease is for approved agricultural production then the owners of that land can apply for farm status. Farm status is tied to land use and affects assessed property value and related taxes etc. It is not tied to the lessee.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    563

    Default Re: Starting up in British Columbia, business number? taxes? claiming expenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by island girl View Post
    https://www.bcac.bc.ca/bcac-news/bc-...m-rate-and-pst this is a link that tells a bit about the hydro rate for farmers in bc. kindof a big deal
    It's not as big a deal as many seem to think, unless you are large consumer of electricity. Regular tiered rates are 7.52 at tier 1, 11.27 at tier 2. If you qualify for the farm rate, it's a flat rate at 9.01 cents, so roughly halfway in between. I tallied it for our consumption here over the time since we moved in last August, and, it'll make virtually no difference to our annual Hydro bill to be on regular residential rates, or farm rates. Bills will be a bit smaller in the winter, and a bit bigger in the summer, ends up to be pretty much a wash for us. It would be a whole different story if we had a barn with a milking parlor or such.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    664

    Default Re: Starting up in British Columbia, business number? taxes? claiming expenses?

    You will want an gst/hst number before you make any large taxable purchases. Most of what you sell is zero rated(honey, livestock), so you will be claiming the the taxes you pay on gods and service for the business and getting that back. Beekeeping IS a farm business as far as CRA is concerned - I don't think you get to choose that it's not. In Ontario, once your farm business makes more than $7500 in a tax year you also have to get a farm business number and register with one of the farming organizations. I am not sure if BC had a similar setup.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Starting up in British Columbia, business number? taxes? claiming expenses?

    It's provincial fuel taxes that are saved in Alberta. 9 cents per litre. The additional 6 cent diesel discount was discontinued last spring.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,451

    Default Re: Starting up in British Columbia, business number? taxes? claiming expenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    It's not as big a deal as many seem to think, unless you are large consumer of electricity. Regular tiered rates are 7.52 at tier 1, 11.27 at tier 2. If you qualify for the farm rate, it's a flat rate at 9.01 cents, so roughly halfway in between. I tallied it for our consumption here over the time since we moved in last August, and, it'll make virtually no difference to our annual Hydro bill to be on regular residential rates, or farm rates. Bills will be a bit smaller in the winter, and a bit bigger in the summer, ends up to be pretty much a wash for us. It would be a whole different story if we had a barn with a milking parlor or such.
    I contacted hydro and fortis today. Hydro has the rate differential, fortis only has the PST deducted. I think hydro also has PST deducted. There is a form to fill out. For hydro you also need to send them a copy of your bc property assessment showing farm status. For fortis you need the form plus your your farmer identity card. For the card you need your property farm status on the bc property assessment. With the card you can have PST excluded on many purchases.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

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