The Big Pictures

If you haven’t suspected as much, it is very important to your long term financial well-being to keep every possible cent in your pocket and away from the government. Legally, of course! We all love having “free” healthcare, paved roads, airports, and almost free schools, so most people don’t mind paying their share. But those things are going to happen whether or not you take advantage of every tax savings opportunity available to you or not. We can help you make the decisions that affect your finances for years to come.

As a common example, we’re still surprised by how many corporations we see who are paying thousands of dollars in accounting fees and paying the same or more tax than they would if they weren’t incorporated at all. Wouldn’t you be happier if someone could prove to you that those fees are well-spent? We can. And we routinely advise people not to waste money on our fees if it’s not in their best interests.

The Big Picture is different for nearly every single taxpayer, and that’s one of the things we love about what we do; there’s no cookie-cutter approach to tax planning, and the correct answer to about 90% of the questions we get asked is, “It depends!” If you’re going to make the best financial decisions, you need to know what it depends on, and why. Some really important Big Picture questions we hear all the time:

  • Is it better to use a TFSA or RRSP?
  • How much should I put in my RRSP before the deadline?
  • Should I incorporate my business or leave it as a Sole Proprietorship?
  • Wages or dividends?

The answer to all of those questions is, “It depends.” Well, maybe not the wages/dividends one; recent legislative changes make dividends almost always worse than wages, and once the accounting community catches on, dividends are going to become an endangered species in the world of small corporate tax planning.

We stand in front of our work.

Whenever we’re not 100% sure about how to deal with certain rare situations that arise (no one knows the entire Tax Act), we will take the time to find out how to complete the work properly. It seems obvious to us that the best possible way to stay out of trouble with CRA and complete your taxes as optimally as possible involves getting it right the first time. Sometimes it’s frustrating, but we would rather delay than get it wrong.

We do our work with the highest possible level of integrity.

This isn’t always easy, because what you want and what CRA wants are usually diametrically opposed. So we focus on making sure your taxes are optimized without doing anything that would come back to haunt us in a subsequent audit. To this end, we avoid certain types of clients. If you’re uncertain about whether you’re on our Avoid List, you probably are; we aren’t going knowingly let you lie or cheat. Ever.

We stand behind our work.

When we do make a mistake that causes you a fine from CRA, we will pay the fine. To be very honest, it’s happened several times, and we just HATE paying them, but when it’s our fault we’re relatively happy to do it, because we feel quite strongly that even though no one is perfect, you shouldn’t have to pay for our mistakes.