Our COVID-19 Procedures

In light of the increasing restrictions for the COVID-19 quarantine, these are our procedures for eliminating, reducing, and tracking potential infections.

Meetings

All in-person meetings are now cancelled.

Individuals who previously were scheduled for an in-person meeting are encouraged to make use of the video-conferencing service. This allows you to experience the meeting, similar to being present, but without the risk.

Individuals who want to drop off papers are encouraged to use one of the following alternative methods:

  1. Electronic submission through my client portal, using your computer or using your phone/tablet app to photograph and upload,
  2. Delivery by the Post (Registered or XpressPost Service recommended; Notify me of the tracking number when mailed,)
  3. Drop at door (By Appointment; Ring doorbell; Leave at door and step back; We pick up from door before you leave.)

Individuals who need to sign papers are encouraged to use one of the following alternative methods:

  • Electronic signatures, and
  • Mailing papers for you to sign and mail back.

What happens if you come to the door…

All persons presenting at the door are logged to identify potential cross-contamination should it later be required.

What happens to paper received…

We are unable to process any thermal papers safely (credit card slips, debit card slips, or the like.) If you have these papers, please leave at home and ask us for direction on how to process safely. (Note that thermal paper will fade rapidly if you apply a highlighter. The sterilization process has a similar effect.)

All paper will be processed through a UV Sterilizer for one hour. The reason is to attempt to prevent cross-contamination of papers. This is logged.

Paper is then scanned. This is logged. Original client papers are then sealed to prevent further cross-contamination.

The logging is to identify potential cross-contamination points should it later be required.

I want to know whose paper was scanned before mine…

That is confidential. It will be released to the appropriate authority in the requirement to stem a pernicious infection.

If you are infected, please advise your attending medical practitioner (or have your family advise them,) that your papers were processed at my office. Your attending medical practitioner will inform the appropriate authority who can request the release of the information. We will work with the appropriate authority to ensure that all potential people at risk are identified and their safety is assured.

Phoenix T4 Slip Error

I just noticed this error on a government T4 slip. This is for T4 slips for employees posted overseas. The primary worker who may be affected are members of the Diplomatic Corp. Individuals working in private industry such as the Oil Sector may also be affected.

Background

The definition for province codes for T4 slips may be found by checking this following web page. If you check the instructions for Box 10 – Province of Employment, the government has standardized all the codes.

These codes reflect the same two character provincial abbreviations used by Canada. The only two exceptions are:

  • US – for employment in the US, and
  • ZZ – for other, meaning that the employee worked in a country other than Canada or the United States, or if the employee worked in Canada beyond the limits of a province or territory (for example, on an offshore oil rig).

Problem

Phoenix has used the code EX instead of the authorized codes.

All government workers who work outside of Canada (principally the diplomatic corp,) will probably have their T4 slips registered at the Canada Revenue Agency with this wrong code in box 10. As a result, any person who downloads these tax slips will likely have a problem with importing the tax slip into their tax return, if you use tax software.

Past Estate Planning now creating issues

A previous common practice of putting children on family properties is now causing conflicts with current laws.

Situation

What has happened in the past is that children would be put on the title for the family properties for the purpose of moving the properties to the children seamlessly for estate purposes. The thought was that the children then could take over the family property, generally a family cottage, with little hassle when the parents are no longer able to manage the property.

Conflict with tax law

Doing so creates issues with tax law. This maneuver is an attempt to circumvent the deemed disposition of the property on death. While the parents can “gift” the property to the children, the property is deemed to have been sold at fair market value at the time this occurred. If this did not happen (and the tax department actually keeps these details on file,) then the capital gains can be significant.

Another problem is if the property is sold after the addition of the child, but before the child receives the full ownership of the property. For example, if the child was put on the title when they became of legal age, then the property is sold decades later, the child isn’t aware that they have to declare that sale on their tax return. This has been required in Canada for the past few years and there are several people who have discovered that they didn’t declare the sale when they should have. Or the child wasn’t called into the meeting to handle the sale of the property to the new owners, rending the actual sale at risk!

Property ownership issues

It is equally possible that the parents may have financial difficulties while the child has been put on to the property title. As a result, the municipality and/or mortgage company may seek redress from the child for outstanding debts that the parents were unable to pay. This is a concern that all individuals who are on title should be aware of as it does impact their personal credit risk. Lenders are increasingly wary when people have their name on multiple titles.

Conflict with estate law

Another issue that has come up is the conflict with estate law, specifically probate. While this isn’t an issue in some jurisdictions, others have indicated that they consider the placement of children on title for the purpose of transferring the property outside of probate is possible fraud. I am not presently aware of any court cases which have settled this situation, but it is another risk that people should be aware of.

This article touches on some legal matters which is better addressed with your legal adviser to provide specific and personal advice for your personal situation. It is only an introduction to the matter and is not intended to replace legal advice from a lawyer or other member of the legal profession.

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.