What do people want…

Last month, I had a couple referred to me by a financial support services company. The company provides financial services to employees of their client, but have realized that their knowledge is in financial services, not taxes, so refer tax issues to me.

The couple had been reassessed for the prior year (that is, 2017) by the CRA for missing income and asked support services if this was normal. Support services took one look at the returns and referred the couple to me. Which was good for the couple.

Not only was the prior year reassessed, but the previous year was also reassessed, AND the current return (2018) was heading into the same problem.

I spent 2.5 hours with the couple, going over the returns in person, explaining what was happening and what I was seeing and what fixes that I could see. (While I could detail the problems here, the end result was that the returns were wrong.)

A few days later, we had a chat by phone, and they will be coming in to sign the corrections later this week. Yes, they owe a large amount, but the fixes that I have put into place finish the problems. Both 2017 and 2018 was fixed, and the final bill would be slightly less than the bill for 2017 as prepared by the CRA. We agreed not to touch the 2016 as the changes didn’t warrant touching.

As I explained to them, if you had owed the amount at the beginning when you filed, you would have been happy. The only reason that you are unhappy is because you found out the problem two years later. And, while everyone likes a refund, what they really want is no problems.

A correct tax return, even if you owe, is better than one that causes grief.

Why you should not email documents…

I have had several people prefer to use email to send me documents. This has created issues for most of them. Here are some issues for you to be aware of:

  • Everything that you send by email can be read by everyone in its path. And email does not travel in a straight line – People are surprised to realize that most emails being sent from Ottawa, ON to Ottawa, ON usually travel either through Michigan or New York State.
  • Email may be mis-directed or mis-typed. I had one people call wondering where their tax return was at. Turns out that they emailed their papers to someone in South Africa.
  • Replying to a previous email can route the reply through a filtering system which strips out attachments. Your documents are not received.
  • Replying to a previous email, then adding additional versions of my email address results in both emails being identified as spam and the email by-passes my in-box.
  • Replying to a previous email can result in the email being identified as non-urgent or from a conversation which has now expired. The email by-passes my in-box.
  • Sending emails about taxes may result in the email being identified as spam and by-passing my in-box.
  • Emails can expire. This means that your email isn’t seen.
  • I am a bulk receiver for emails. This means, no matter what I do, it is entirely possible that your email will not be on my screen by the time I look at the emails.

I have tools which ensure that your documents are received and logged as received. All clients can use them. Those tools prevent all of the above problems.

Client Story – Court delays payment to the tax department

I had a client who was handling his father’s estate. Unfortunately, the estate was in dispute and the court issued an order that no payments were to be made by the executor until the dispute was resolved.

While the courts had ordered that no payment was permitted, the courts did not order that the taxes were not to be filed. Accordingly, we ensured that the tax returns were timely filed to the tax department. But we were unable to pay the resulting bill.

When the dispute was resolved and the court order lifted, then the bill, with interest was paid. However, given that the interest was the result of the court order, I negotiated with the tax department to waive the interest. I was successful in those negotiations, resulting in a little more money to go to the surviving children and grandchildren of the deceased. The executor was pleased.

I just want to thank you for referring me to Tim Parris. He’s an amazing tax specialist!!! He not only did my 2018 return, he went back and corrected returns for the last 3 years, and my refund basically covered his services for this year’s return. He’s very well organized and well worth the price.

I would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone.

K.A.