Batten down the hatches. It’s tax time

You’re in the eye of the storm amid a swirl of slips, forms and receipts. Chart your way through tax-time turbulence with these updates and resources.

Whether you work full time in tax or offer tax services as part of your general practice, these CPA Canada resources will help keep you high and dry at tax time.


  1. Updates on CRA eservices
    By improving its electronic services, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) continues to make it easier for tax preparers to manage clients’ personal tax filings.

    “Tax preparers registered for EFILE are really going to like the CRA’s new ReFILE service,” says Bruce Ball, a tax partner with BDO Canada LLP. ReFILE lets tax preparers amend their clients’ previously filed returns online and get the amendment processed much faster than by submitting amendments on paper, he says. “You’ll also get immediate confirmation of the request’s receipt.”

    CPA Canada’s latest tax webinar outlines a raft of CRA service improvements, including new features in Auto-fill my return and the ability to EFILE and NETFILE multi-jurisdictional returns.

    Bonus: Watch for the CRA to roll out even more service enhancements in the months to come. For an idea of what might be in the works, read this CPA Canada tax blog “How Can the CRA Do Better?”

  2. Your own virtual tax library
    General practitioner Neil Handrahan says CPA Canada’s Tax Suite is a crucial tool, especially at tax time. A partner with Bradley Handrahan Chartered Professional Accountants, Handrahan relies on Tax Suite’s combination of news and research for income tax, GST/HST and provincial taxes. “It allows me to query a range of different subjects and ensure the tax positions we recommend will stand up,” he says.

    Handrahan also appreciates Tax Suite’s practice tools. “Tax summaries, for example, let you quickly input your client’s info and get a snapshot of their tax position, making it easy to test the results of different options.”

    Bonus: Keeping current with tax changes is hard enough at the best of times. Tax Suite’s daily email alert keeps you up to date on the latest tax news.

  3. T1 returns: Line-by-line advice
    When he needs a deep dive on the T1 tax treatment of particular items, Handrahan uses EY’s Guide to Preparing 2016 Tax Returns. It provides “clear answers on what is and isn’t included on each line of the T1 return. The level of detail is fantastic,” he says. “If you do any personal tax returns, this is the guide to use.”

    Bonus: The book is available as an easy-to-use, searchable database, and the information doesn’t stop at 2016. As many as four years of previous editions are available, so helping clients catch up with their older tax returns is less of a scramble.

  4. Special tax topics
    Safe income. Income from Canadian-controlled private corporations. Buying and selling businesses. Taxes on death. CPA Canada’s comprehensive tax elearning courses can help you get up to speed quickly on these special tax areas.

    “Our elearning courses aim to help people who have some knowledge of these areas better understand the most important concepts and developments,” says Vivian Leung, director, Tax Education, CPA Canada.

    Bonus: A new module on tax and ethics will help you apply key ethical concepts to tax-related issues.

  5. Protect your practice and manage risk
    Alleged tax-related lapses are the No. 1 reason CPAs get sued, so ensuring that your tax practice risk is well managed should get top priority.

    CPA Canada’s Tax Risk Questionnaire can help you assess your tax practice management policies and processes. The questionnaire links directly to commentary and practice aids in the Tax Risk Management Guide.

    “Together, the questionnaire and guide can help you identify the risk management processes you need to avoid common pitfalls and improve quality,” says Gabe Hayos, vice-president, Taxation, CPA Canada.

    Bonus: Your use of the questionnaire could help generate more aids for controlling tax risk. CPA Canada plans to use the anonymous data gleaned from completed questionnaires to identify best practices and develop more resources for tax practice management.

While you can’t escape tax-time turbulence any more than you can change the weather, these resources can help you efficiently and effectively ride out a stormy tax season. Find more tax resources for preparers of 2016 tax returns.

Editor’s note

The next issue of Member News will land in your inbox on Monday, May 8, 2017.