Accountant Tips Fort McMurray

Welcome to Pinkney Tax Services – part of your community. Having been a trusted source for accounting services for almost 20 years, we get asked a lot of questions – send us yours!

Our chartered accountant will be sure to weigh in to answer your general questions. We look forward to meeting you to discuss your needs.

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Pinkney Tax Services

Visit us today.

Click here for directions.

Unit A, 9903 Franklin Avenue

Fort McMurray, AB T9H 2K4


Are tax shelters important to my business? Are they legal?

We have been asked by CRA to warn our clients of various scams starting with an unanticipated phone call supposedly from CRA. The script sometimes varies but they are interested in getting your social insurance number immediately, and eventually some of your cash. If you get any such calls please ask for the name of the caller and their phone number, and then phone us. We can quickly tell you if CRA is looking for any kind of information from you. CRA does not start a case by phoning a tax payer. Do not give such callers any personal information.

The Tax Shelter schemers have pretty much disappeared leaving behind disappointed clients who after paying  them thousands to reduce their income tax, now discover that they owe CRA thousands more. CRA has  pushed these folks into the background, where they are now under constant CRA attack. It took a while but it certainly appears that the old saying, “If it looks too good to be true, then it likely is not true.” If one or two supposedly tax shelters are still lurking around and approach you, please feel free once again to contact us for the CRA “take” on such operators.

Part of the job of an accountant is to discuss ways to minimize your tax load. Pinkney Tax Services takes a well-rounded approach to advising our business clients in terms of tax strategy, business consulting and investment.

Canada Revenue Agency Review

What is the process if my return is selected by Canada Revenue Agency for a full or partial review?

CRA is well aware that Fort McMurray residents have the highest average incomes of any city in Canada, and they want to be sure that taxpayers claiming the Alberta tax rate and Fort McMurray residency, are entitled to such benefits.

If you are a client of Pinkney Tax and selected for review by CRA we will give you all the support possible, and we serve as your representative with CRA. It is therefore important, the first time you visit Pinkney Tax that you designate us as your official representative, which then permits us to talk to CRA on your behalf. Just give us a call and Roz or Olga will be at your service and they will tell you what information they need to act on your behalf with CRA. Normally you can fax or email us the requested information and you do not even have to come downtown to our offices. In most cases the review process is a simple one.

Amending Tax Returns

We regularly amend previous tax returns, for both current and new clients. In some cases it is simply a case of an existing client coming in with another tax slip that was just received, or overlooked when they filed with us a week or two earlier.

However sometimes adjustments can be very complicated, and take considerable time. We see cases where a person comes in for the first time, often in trouble with CRA. In order to save money they filed themselves, or used their neighbour down the street, their Aunt Sally who worked in a bank once, or people who claim to be tax preparers working out of their homes. These issues can involve substantial amounts of money for the taxpayer. For us such cases are often more work than doing a new tax return, as we have to first clear up the existing mess, and then basically prepare one or more previous returns. In some cases we file amendments for multiple years, resulting in additional refunds of thousands of dollars.

If you have a question about a previous return please bring it in, and we will look at it as soon as possible, and give you our opinion. If however we amend your return or work on it, you will be charged an appropriate fee.

Tax Shelters Continued

Over the past few years we have seen an increase in Gifting Tax Shelter schemes, which due to CRA surveillance and pressure are now apparently on the decline. The promoters of such programs claim to have lawyers and chartered accountants who are involved with their scheme and guarantee that you will receive a tax refund much greater than a normal charitable donation entitles you to. They normally explain that their lawyers and accountants are using “tax loopholes”, and they will protect you from CRA if you are reviewed on this matter. One large accounting firm in Ontario is now the target of a lawsuit as a result of issuing a supporting statement, which they would say the promoter of the scheme misused.

We regularly receive communication from CRA informing us that we should warn our clients that shutting down such schemes is one of their major goals. They are attacking these programs, and from what we can determine, they are enjoying increasing success in shutting down such schemes. Every year we have people come in who have invested in such schemes which CRA has ruled do not meet the criteria for a legal donation. In such cases CRA has demanded their refund be returned in full, with penalties and interest. In some cases the CRA demand comes two or three years after taxpayers receive their refund, so the interest is substantial. Of course we have never heard of a promoter returning the original “donation” to the taxpayer.

CRA now requires that taxpayer returns using such schemes must be paper filed, meaning that their refund claim may not be addressed by CRA for many months, and their tax filing is held in abeyance for as long as two years for review. Each year we see CRA successfully attacking more of these claims, to the detriment of the taxpayer who has been attracted by the promise of a significant refund.

Because of our high wages in Fort McMurray these promoters certainly tend to target our taxpayers, often coming into the city and renting a hotel facility for their presentations, as tax time approaches. At the same time a few individuals living here in Fort McMurray have promoted these schemes, as a source of additional personal income.

We do file tax returns for people making these claims, but we do require that they first sign a waiver acknowledging that we have advised them that we do not believe the schemes are advisable, that they may be successfully challenged by CRA and we will not provide our normal support if they are challenged by CRA.

We would suggest that the old saying “If it seems too good to be true, it likely is”, may apply to this situation. We have included on our website one of the CRA warnings for your perusal.

Click here for a complete list of our services. Call or visit us today.

Pinkney Tax Services

Click here for directions.

Unit A, 9903 Franklin Avenue

Fort McMurray, AB T9H 2K4


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