Phone calls

I gave a client a surprise with my phone system today and felt it would be best to post this so others are also aware.

Calling without leaving a phone message

This surprises some people, but the “cost” in time for me to handle a phone message, a text message or a “missed” phone call (without voicemail) is essentially the same on a per call/text basis. If you call, it is more effective for you and for me to leave me a voicemail, even if you called my phone in error.

If you try several times without leaving a message, you are creating “snow” in your file obscuring your important calls. I can’t locate actual important phone messages in the logs if there is only one actual conversation out of every four calls. While I want to provide outstanding service, I am labouring under circumstances which make it difficult to achieve the performance that I want for you as I try to search for what is important to you.

Multiple text messages in a conversation

I am using a system for texting which has some older components. For example, linking the multiple texts into a conversation does not happen until after I process the messages.

If you have exceeded more than 4 texts in a single conversation, it is more effective for both of us to speak on the phone rather than texting.

Text messages are not “instantaneous”

This is a factor on how I work rather than a deficiency of texting; I put my phone down and don’t pick it up for several hours. Equally, I have to specifically “refresh” the screen to obtain the text messages.

That isn’t to say that text messages are better or worst than email – It is a question of the length of the queue. During peak timeframes, every 24 hours I receive about 300+ business emails vs 20 phone calls vs 6 text conversations. As the queues are separated, the shorter queue tends to be completed faster.

Texting “Pictures”

You can’t text me pictures. My client portal is better suited for receiving pictures and documents.

Telemarketing and Automated Calling Systems

Due to the way that my phone system works, Telemarketing and Automated (such as Call Back) Systems can’t get through my phone system to reach a person. Please be aware of this; You require a human calling back instead of a computer system.

Annual Closure

Please be advised that the business will be closed early at 4pm on March 3, 2021.

This is routine servicing request that was noted since the opening of the CRA and Revenu Quebec’s filing systems. This servicing happens annually. We will not be answering phone calls and emails will be queued during the interim. Self-Service options such as the Website and Client Portal will be unaffected.

We will reopen on Thursday March 4, 2021 as normal.

Items will be responded on our return on Thursday, however we will have larger than expected volumes as a consequence.

Change by the CRA for SIN printing

Previously, the CRA required us to print the SIN completely on our documents.

The CRA has now issued directions that we are now to mask the first five digits of the SIN on documents, much like they do with their notices.

See here for details

Accordingly, over the next few days, as I print documents, I will be updating the print instructions to start masking the SIN on everything that I print.

CRA now requiring Two Factor Authentication

The CRA is now requiring taxpayers to use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) in order to log into their computer systems.

The version of 2FA that the CRA uses is based on SMS or VoiceCall to a known phone number. That is, they will either text or call you with the access code. If you try to access the account too many times without successfully logging into the account, your account will be locked.

Clients are advised to ensure that their phone number is kept up to date at the CRA as I do not transmit phone numbers to the CRA when I file the tax return.

(Be advised that the 2FA that the CRA is using can be hacked by SIM swapping as well as when you lose your cell phone. Caution is advised.)

My employer is saying that I don’t need the T2200S

I have now heard from a few clients about their employer saying that I don’t need the T2200S to claim my home office expenses. Is that correct?

There are a couple of points that I would like to make about employers telling their employees that they don’t need the T2200S.

One, the employers do not have the right to instruct their employees on how they are to file the tax return. If they do, they are over-reaching their authority as an employer. No employer has the right to instruct their employees what they are to do outside of work, unless that behaviour reflects badly on the employer. Equally, by doing so, the employer is opening themselves up to being sued by their employees for providing bad advice if the method that the employer wants the employees to use isn’t to the advantage of the employee.

Would you be willing to commit fraud because your employer instructs you to do so?

Two, the CRA requires that you provide the T2200S later, if they then demand the T2200S from the employer to prove that you can claim the deduction. All that they have said that you don’t need the T2200S at the time of filing. They said nothing about requiring it later. They can ask for it up to six years after they issued the Notice of Assessment.

Finally, the CRA has privately indicated to tax preparers that we are required to ask for the T2200S before we file the tax return. Otherwise, they will charge us!

So I recommend that all employees ask their employer for the T2200S automatically if they were moved to working from home due to COVID-19 on or after March 15, 2020.