Save. Spend. Splurge.

Ask Sherry: Incorporating or staying a Sole Proprietor and Laundering Cashmere

You asked, and I am answering every Friday once I have enough questions!

You can ask any question using the form here.

How do you launder your cashmere?

For my cashmere, I hand wash it if I am feeling in the mood, and very loving towards it, or otherwise (most times) I just put it in a little laundry mesh bag (for lingerie) and toss it in the wash on delicate, cold, no spin.

When it comes out, I squeeze it gently (no wringing, just squeezing flat as I can) to get all the water out, then lay it flat on some towels to let it dry, and flip it every few hours.

To speed up the process at the start, you can put a towel over it and another under it, and roll it very lightly but firmly squeezing (not rubbing to make it pill) like a swiss / sausage / sushi roll (pick your cuisine), and then lay it flat on another dry towel, flipping every 6 hours.

Is it difficult and expensive to incorporate your own company? Thinking of being a contractor and deciding whether it’s worth it or not since my hourly most likely will only be between $50-80. Planning to only work half the year or less so can take care of my soon to be toddler. Thanks in advance 🙂

OMG. I love these questions.

It depends on your province.

In Quebec, it is tricky.

Everything I am about to list, has to be done TWICE (once for the Federal Canada Revenue Agency, and another time for the Provincial Revenu Quebec), and all in French preferably because they do NOT have English forms, only French ones with Courtesy English translations. You also end up with 3 numbers to juggle, etc.

In other provinces, I think it’s all combined into one form (CRA handles it all), and you don’t need a separate provincial setup, but check to be sure, so it seems much easier.

My only experience is incorporation in Quebec (almost did it in Ontario but ended up choosing to live in Montreal).

A brief overview:

  • Go to the Registraires des Entreprises and register the company – if you do it in person, they have computers there and it’s easier. You need to also pick a name that is TRANSLATED into French, accents and all. THEY WILL CHECK.
  • Remember to make a note to file an annual declaration yearly with RE or pay a fine / fee if you’re late
  • Go to Revenu Quebec and set up your company with them, registering for an Identification Number & your NEQ number.
  • If you make over $30,000 in a year, you can also register for sales taxes (very beneficial, more on that later), but if you have UNDER $30,000, they will not give you the tax numbers
  • Filing quarterly sales taxes (if registered)
  • Filing quarterly prepaid income taxes for the year (based on current or past 2 years income calculations)
  • Filing salary remittances as an employer & employee (monthly or like I do, annually)

You can also do all of the above through a company and pay them $1000 – $2000 and they’ll give you all the papers pre-registered.

I can’t remember what my friend paid, but they have the company all set up (you don’t get to pick the name, it’s something like “Quebec #### Inc.”)

If you do it yourself, it costs less than $300 if I recall.

What is really tricky, is if you aren’t organized, you will forget to file quarterly sales taxes (both CRA and Quebec), file for your prepaid taxes (both CRA and Quebec), if you take a salary, you also need to do the HR calculations & remittances monthly, quarterly, or yearly, and not to mention the year-end taxes which are a beast if you don’t only take dividends.

You can hire an accountant to do all of this for you but they’ll charge $2000 minimum a year, plus bookkeeping fees if you don’t keep your own books as a freelancer, nor know how to do basic accounting (I like QuickBooks). The more time you take from them, the more they’ll cost you as they charge hourly.

In short, yes, it is not that expensive if you do it yourself and are inclined to do so, but it is a headache and a lot of paperwork in Quebec.

If you plan on only working half the year or less, and charging $50 – $80/hour, which is $100K – $160K a year or in your case, half the year it would be $50k – $80K, then I would suggest staying as a SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP (small business) under your name and filing taxes like that.

What you will miss out on being a sole proprietor is the sales tax breaks and the income tax breaks, choosing your salary, and being able to declare dividends and not take a salary.

1. Sales tax breaks – anything you buy for your business, if you are incorporated & registered for sales taxes, you can claim the taxes back against your income. If you are inventory-heavy, you will save a ton here.

Or you can also do the simplified accounting method for sales taxes, and remit a percentage of the taxes each year, and pocketing the rest, but you do not get to claim the sales taxes on your purchases. If you are a mostly inventory-free freelancer who doesn’t buy a lot (you sell your brain, not things and don’t have many expenses to claim), then this is the most lucrative tax method.

2. Choosing your salary – I get a major break in being able to choose my personal salary. All the money stays in my company, and I withdraw a salary (you can also do dividends which is less paperwork) which I then claim as my personal income from the company.

This is great because I can decide how much I get taxed in a year, rather than in a sole proprietor’s case, having to take the entire revenue in the year as income & being charged tax accordingly.

If no client is asking you to be incorporated, you don’t mind paying full income taxes on your revenue, don’t care much about the sales tax benefits versus the hassle of running a corporation, then stay as a sole proprietor and file it as a small business, personal income.

I have done both quite a number of times in my life, and being a sole proprietor is the easiest and most hassle-free method.

If you make a lot of money, over $120K but want to smooth out that income over 3 years instead of getting slammed all at once with the taxes, I’d say consider incorporating if you are also organized, detail-oriented and careful.

Did that help? Shoot me another question if you need more detail.

I bought your book, read the advice about building audiences, but am still having issues. Halp! Are there any good sites to share my blog?

If you’ve just started, it takes about a year and a half of constant, consistent messages left on other blogs in your area (I’d say mid-sized blogs, not the super powerful ones) (to make them remember you because they keep seeing your name pop up), and interesting posts/images. Readers who go through the comments, will find you, and it takes time to build up.

You should also be working your social media networks like crazy, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and messaging / posting.

Your posts should also have rather interesting titles, not anything generic either.

I’d love to help you personally, but I don’t know anything about your blog or you so I can’t give any more insight. Email me please.

How long does it take for BlogHer to accept a request to be part of their publisher’s network? It’s been over a month, and I’ve heard anything.

Forever. FOREVER. I waited about 6 months. They will usually tell you if you are being rejected though, so don’t worry about that.

I’m sure you’ve done at post on this but can’t seem to find it in my wandering on your blog. I’m taking time off work (in my case the public/political sphere) to stay home with our little. I’m still in the new stages of mom-hood, spit up and breastfeeding are still on regular rotation. I can’t get on board with the cardigan sweaters and leggings most of the moms in playgroup seem to gravitate to but my former work blazers aren’t going to cut it but that’s where I feel more like “me”. Any suggestions for easy to clean but still stylish apparel to get through this phase?

I have not done a post on this, but I want to now. 🙂

You are just like me! I felt like a terrible slob when I wasn’t able to fit into anything. My stomach was all bloated, I was still carrying baby weight, I was exhausted…

In brief, look at the fabrics themselves and try:

  • jersey anything – jersey blazers, anything that can be easily spit up on and then thrown in the wash.
  • jersey wrap tops – they’re easy to pull down and nurse if need be
  • jeans – if you can fit into them, I wasn’t able to fit into my old jeans until much later, but try maternity skinny jeans if you can stomach them
  • maxi dresses – more of a summer thing but I lived in these things
  • jersey wrap dresses (faux or real) – you can wear these, and wear tights underneath, and a jersey blazer, with knee high boots for colder weather
  • nicer cardigans like circle ones that are knitted to wear over these dresses
  • tunic sweater dresses over leggings — if you cannot stomach any of the above options)
  • instead of a jersey blazer, try a leather moto jacket if that’s your thing; I found that I wore out my jackets a lot more because they were casual but still very ‘blazer’ to me
  • tunic popover blouses over thick ponte leggings (NOT YOGA PANTS) – if that’s all you can wear now after giving birth, go for it.
  • button up shirts over jersey wrap skirts with tights & boots, or jeans – if you can stand it

I’d also say, if your work blazers are not very corporate-looking, you can wear them over more casual things like that tunic sweater and leggings… why not? I do it all the time, although my blazers are in materials like flannel, thicker cosier wool but not that corporate season-less thin wool, and more casual in nature.

I’ll do a more comprehensive post on this today to go up in a few days if you’d like, with examples, images, etc. If you have any specifics you want me to know about your situation to cover, let me know in the comments or send me another note with more detail.

Still have a burning question?

You can ask any question using the form here and all of my previous Ask Sherry posts are here.



  • yettie

    Thanks for the timely gist on incorporating / sole proprietorship.

    I actually just incorporated in January for my spouse and I. This is my second time incorporating and my first time using a lawyer (legal website) because I didn’t want to miss out on anything. Total costs came to just under $900 and apart from the items you listed, I also got shareholder register and a couple of other docs. Not sure if that’s just an Alberta thing though or because we were setting up a company with more than one owner.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      No that sounds about right, $900 – $2000. I would say they charge about that here if you go through a lawyer and use their professional services.

      We did it ourselves by reading everything and it was about $150 at the end.. it was fairly easy to incorporate and set up. Everyone was very helpful.

  • Lindsay

    Thanks for the response to my question on early mom fashion! If you wanted to do a post with visuals, I would LOVE it but what a great start.

    I held it together pretty well during the pregnancy but postpartum has been a brain falling out, not sure how to dress for this new body, settling into my style phase. My work environment was incredibly conservative, and almost everything I have for work is super conservative and dry clean only. I’m largely rebuilding from scratch on the weekend/casual attire most of it got the boot pre-pregnancy since we moved and changed climates so I need to buy new (or new to me).

    Thanks again, great ideas! The search for a moto jacket is on!

  • M

    Just a clarification, you can still claim expenses on sales tax for GST as a sole proprietor. You register for a GST number if you expect your income or your income goes above the 30,000 mark. When you file your GST, the option to claim the GST paid is still there. It depends on how you work it. So if you are inventory heavy these numbers are claimed but not included in your end income/expenses at tax time. The number looks remarkably like a corporation number in some ways. If you were to own a business that required staff, you could still run it as a sole proprietorship but the remittances are still required. Your GST and Payroll Number to CRA would be the same in most respects.

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