If you’re a tax specialist working in Canada, chances are you’ve taken the In-Depth Tax Course. The three-year program boasts a 40-plus year history and is considered the country’s pre-eminent tax offering. Three years ago, the program was given a makeover to place a greater emphasis on competencies and add more overall rigour, an expanded technology component and government guest speakers.\nStudents from the redeveloped program recently celebrated their accomplishments in graduation ceremonies in Ontario, B.C. and Quebec. \nMICHELLE CHAN, CPA, CA\nManager, Tax, PwC\nToronto\nWhy this program?\nGiven my career selection, it’s probably safe to say that I am genuinely interested in tax. So taking the In-Depth seemed liked a natural decision to supplement my work. It also doesn't hurt that the course was highly encouraged and paid for by my employer.\nBest lesson?\nThroughout the In-Depth, we were grouped with people from all over Canada practising in different areas of tax and with different backgrounds. Having this diversity taught me the importance of reaching out to peers and leveraging other people's experiences and knowledge pool.\nBest memory?\nMy best memory of the In-Depth would be the graduation ceremony. It felt a little surreal that I was finally done.\nAdvice for new students?\nIf you’re so fortunate to get someone from the CRA in your study group, take advantage of it and ask them as many questions as you can.\nWhere to next?\nFor now I’m going to take advantage of the additional hours I’ve gained that were previously spent on extra-curricular learning. Once that wears thin, I may look into participating in one way or another in helping deliver the In-Depth. Only time will tell where that takes me!\nKARL HENDRICKSON, CPA, CA\nManager, KPMG Enterprise Tax\nLethbridge, Alberta\nWhy this program?\nI was drawn to the In-Depth for a number of reasons. First, both my friends and colleagues recommended the program for the knowledge and skills I would obtain. I also realized that I wanted to have a deeper knowledge of tax and In-Depth was noted as covering the widest range of tax topics and resources.\nBest lesson?\nThe most valuable thing I learned was how to research. I’ve always been a strong researcher but the program provided me with a solid foundation of how to navigate the Income Tax Act. I learned what additional resources are available to help me find the answers I need.\nBest memory?\nThe group project. I remember sitting down with our group for the first time and hearing how everyone’s experiences were very different. It was interesting to see how everyone took a different approach to solve a similar problem. At the end of the day the solution was the same, however, the path to get there was not.\nAdvice for new students?\nTake the entire program seriously. There are a lot of concepts, ranging from personal tax planning to large international public company topics. Do your best to understand the concepts even though you might not see them every day. You’d be surprised how often having a basic understanding of the concept will serve you in your career.\nWhere to next?\nThe sky’s the limit! After taking the program I know I can do anything and I have new skills and knowledge that will serve me well. I’m going to take a break from studying for one tax season, and then, who knows? As for career goals, I plan on using these new skills and knowledge to help me become a partner with KPMG.\nLEAH PLUMRIDGE, JD, MBA\nAssociate lawyer, Couzin Taylor LLP & Ernst & Young LLP\nVancouver\nWhy this program?\nThere is a symbiotic relationship between accountants and lawyers practising in tax. As a law student, I received plenty of training in statutory interpretation and looking for the 'grey area' in a particular set of facts. The In-Depth provides an opportunity for lawyers to expand their toolkit and an opportunity to network with accountants who are at a similar place in their careers.\nBest lesson?\nThis is a tough one. Anything by Mark Kaplan (who teaches international tax). In truth, I found the third year in-residence portion of the program to be most relevant and timely for my international tax practice.\nBest memory?\nI really enjoyed returning to Whistler year after year to meet with the same people who were taking the course. It’s a great opportunity to get to know your colleagues across the country.\nAdvice for new students?\nArticles and summaries can become dated quickly and may not cover all of the nuances of a given fact scenario. You’ll hear this over and over again, but it really is imperative to read the Income Tax Act rather than relying on summaries to make sure you understand the advice you’re giving.\nWhere to next?\nI’m practicing as a lawyer with Couzin Taylor LLP and provide international tax advice with Ernst & Young LLP. I will likely take additional CPA Canada offerings which complement my practice, such as the In-Depth International Tax Course.\nDARLENE SHAW, CPA, CA\nSenior manager, Tax, Collins Barrow NS Inc.\nHalifax\nWhy this program?\nThe In-Depth is recognized as the pre-eminent training program for tax practitioners in Canada. Clients and potential employers view completion of the course as the best indicator of a practitioner with substantial knowledge of Canadian tax issues and solutions. Given the existing economic climate, a practitioner with this body of knowledge is very sought after, both in public practice and in industry.\nBest lesson?\nHaving the body of knowledge provided by this program to avoid tax pitfalls while still taking advantage of good planning strategies will set you apart as a valued business advisor.\nBest memory?\nYear one in-residence. By stroke of luck, all of the ladies in my year one in-person study group managed to get located in Whistler for their in-residence. Travelling from the east coast, we all flew to Vancouver the day before and kicked off in-residence unofficially with dinner, drinks and lots of laughs. We had a fantastic time the entire week, made great friends and shared incredibly fun times. Not one instance stands out — the entire week was amazing.\nAdvice for new students?\nMake friends and have fun! You will meet many people from various backgrounds and industries. The connections you make with fellow practitioners are ones you will continue to draw on in the future, both personally and professionally. Above all, enjoy the experience!\nWhere to next?\nHaving worked for many years in the field of U.S. tax, completion of the In-Depth allows me to expand my skillset and join fellow cross-border specialists at Collins Barrow in serving our clients’ unique needs.