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Real Estate Investing: Corporations & Office Papers

Updated: Oct 7, 2023

I talk about this in my E-book, but for a quick guide here's a brief explanation of our corporate structure.

We have 4 corporations. The first is our personal Partnership between Rob and I. This is the one we started with that holds a couple properties. Then in 2019 we hit a ceiling with the number of units we could have and so we met with our lawyer and accountant to figure out the best structure for us. Together we decided on creating 2 more corporations.

Crucially, each corporation functions as an independent entity, separate from your personal identity. This means that debts and liabilities are borne by the corporation itself and not tied to your name, unless you're required to provide a personal guarantee for the corporation. This principle underscores the importance of these two new entities we introduced: The Holding corp and the Operating corp.

The Holding corp's primary role is property ownership, while the Operations corp is tasked with managing day-to-day activities, including vehicle ownership, trailers, employee management, contractor liability insurance, and more. Essentially, all operational aspects are conducted through the Operations corp, while the Holding corp handles property acquisitions and engages the Operations corp for construction and renovation projects. Basically, the Holding corp does nothing but collect rent and tells the Operating corp what to do.

The fourth is my personal real estate corp meaning the corp that holds my license and any activity I do as a real estate agent. & That's it!

Now things are done differently in Canada and in the US, and can also differ from one province/state to the other. Consult with your team of accountants and lawyers to find out what would be the best structure for your situation.

As for how we organize our quarterly papers, we have a file rack in our home office to sort our receipts and expenses. Every time we have a receipt, bill or rent come in, we print a copy, make a note on it with the date, the properties' PO number and the corp its held under and file it on that rack.

At the end of the quarter, the papers are sorted in labelled folders. We have a folder for each month and for each corp, so 3 folders per corporation. The corp’s statement for each month is printed and added in it's corresponding folder. We go through the statement & receipts, make sure everything is there. Then the receipts are sorted in order they appear on the statement, stapled together & placed in their folder.

When everything is sorted, we hand over our folders to our bookkeeper. From here it's his job to log everything in his software, produce the necessary reports for CRA and summarize what we owe in HST. Then he'll send us his bills for the work he did (he compiles the hours he spends on each corp and will bill each corp separately). We'll pay it from the corresponding accounts, print the invoices, note the corps they were paid from, put them in the rack and we'll see it again at the next quarter!

I hope this helped - comment below on how this differs from your corporate structure or filing system.

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