What to keep–a look at what is needed to show compliance with the “Tax Man”

To date this year, I have prepared 190 tax returns – T1 Generals, T2 Corporate and 1040 US tax forms.  It sure adds up.  And quick.

The spring time for me is brutal.  Thousands of receipts are queried by these hands and eyes.  Coffee is good for this. Especially when you punctuate the day with chocolate covered espresso beans!  I digress but in my defence it was a blog about coffee that brought me to this – tax season.

Tax-season will be upon us shortly.   All too soon my phone will ring and the appointments will be set. My clients will arrive with bags, boxes and envelopes.  Some will have tallied the mountainous receipts but mostly they are in order.

The receipts are in order because they have been here before and know the drill.  It takes a few times with new clients to get that they need to keep the receipts.  Of course some receipts are easy to reappear like the dentist and chiropractors.  A quick phone call, the fax number passed on and the receipt appears here in my office.  Others are elusive and take time to make it to my desk.

For some, all I can say is “Sorry, if you are audited then you will owe. If the receipt dose reappear, then we can adjust the tax return(s) for the year and claim the expense or credit.”  Sometimes the client walks away never to return.  Most take the lesson and begin the process of keeping the correct receipts.

So then during the year I get the call, is this receipt worth keeping, can I claim it.  If yes, they then keep it and safely.  It is important and will possibly reduce the tax liability if they do have taxes owing.

But what do you really need to keep for our compliance? And why compliance?

Compliance is the new buzz word with governments.  It a state of being that we are following the rules as set by the elected ruling party.

Now the funny thing that I see is that the elected ruling party inherits a slew of civil servants to set up new rules with the new ideas of governance. As these new rules must be legal, the language is the language of lawyers and because it deals with finances, the language of the accountants are added to the mix. For most it is confusing. Some days it confuses me too, but I can get over it!  Part of my hardwiring is figuring out intricacies like a puzzle.

My clients are teachers, counsellors, artists, retailers, retired, new immigrants, and corporations. Some are just simple folk, not educated nor are they well enough to maintain compliance with complex rules. Really, it is the people that I enjoy the most.  The stories of travel, new jobs, new businesses, loves and losses.  And I enjoy helping them though the rules of taxation.

Thanks for reading this.  I will be adding more in the coming weeks as I begin to prepare for tax season.

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