Audit Defence: A Business Builder for Business Owners
The tax filing deadline for unincorporated business owners is June 16 and filing late will attract penalties and potential audits.
If there was one thing that was clear in engaging tax and financial advisors across Canada last week at the Distinguished Advisor Workshops, it’s that following filing rules and preparedness with proper documentation of actively earned income, passively earned investments, and valuation of capital assets is key to managing relationships with CRA and other regulators in a new global economy.
Compliance – whether with CRA rules or transparency required by financial regulators – is about the onus of proof, which is clearly on the taxpayer in their relationship with CRA. But increasingly, it is also on tax and financial advisors in providing sound advice to those taxpayers to mitigate their liabilities with the tax department. The most valuable insights and business building ideas gained by advisors who attended the DAW were broad and varied, but all the "a-ha" moments were around moving conversations with clients into a more holistic, long-term focus. For those who could not be in attendance, here are some of the more salient observations, summarized for your consideration:
Currency Fluctuations Hurt Seniors’ Net Worth: “Older, single clients are the hardest to help. We need to remind them about the soft costs of owning and paying for their U.S. properties at a time when currencies are fluctuating in value. We need to rethink our fee structure beyond preparing the tax return and more effectively begin the discussion on preparing and monitoring personal net worth statements.”
It’s About Your Business Continuity: “I didn’t think about the fact that my clients are concerned about my practice continuity.”
Business Valuation is a Key Issue: “Valuing shares of existing corporations being sold to family members is something I need to know more about.”
Solicitor-client Privilege is Golden: “Reportable transactions and the hallmarks around them is my business – I need to ask my clients about them, take good notes and then refer files to a lawyer as the ringleader to ensure solicitor-client privilege in managing relationships with CRA.”
Brokering Family Consensus is Important: “Preparing letters of intent with joint accounts, introducing family conferences for estate planning purposes to strengthen relationships with next generations, and helping clients understand duties and pitfalls to avoid in acting as a Power of Attorney. . .these strategies are important business building opportunities.”