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Personal Finance - Does My Accountant Need This?

Posted by Derek Isaman on

I get this question a lot; more often in April when that personal tax filing deadline is fast approaching. This is a great question, and the answer is more difficult to determine then many people may think. Rather than going down the Google rabbit hole of trying to find what deductions and documents relate to you (which may or may not be reliable), why not give us a call! Each of us has a unique life which leads to unique deductions and unique document requirements. With that said, over the many Aprils I’ve been in this business, there are common themes that pop up every year. I have detailed them below to help you prepare for a stress-free April!

I’ll get a few calls every week that go something like: “I just topped up my TFSA, what do you need as proof?” or “A friend told me that I should save all of my monthly portfolio statements for my accountant at the end of the year.”

In both cases, the answer is: we don’t need it. But there are just as many things people don’t think of providing to us that we need. So, I am here to give an answer to the age-old question.

Things you think we need, but we don’t:

  • Anything relating to a TFSA
  • Monthly investment statements
    • If you cannot get an annual summary or if you are not provided an annual tax package, yes but, in most cases, a quick call to your advisors can get you this paperwork. With a summary, we don’t need the monthly statements and as a bonus, you won’t have to book keep your investments saving on your accounting fees.
  • Individual prescription receipts
    • Instead, get a summary of prescriptions from your pharmacy. Again, this ensures that you get the maximum deduction as no purchases will be missed and it saves time and cost of us adding them all up.
  • That shoebox of receipts
    • Yes, it is true that you need to keep these as back up documents for the CRA. However, to save cost on your tax return why not provide us with a summary? Stay tuned for our T1 planning checklist, as it will come with a template for tracking various expenses. If you are unsure if an expense qualifies, you can highlight it on the sheet and add your question there. This process allows us to make sure that only applicable expenses are included without billing you for the time it takes to sort receipts or hound you for more information. (PS. If you have kids and they want to earn a little extra allowance, sorting receipts is a great chore!)

Things no one thinks about providing, but we need:

  • House sale documents
  • Details on moving
  • Birth certificates for children born this year
  • Details on any change in your marital status
  • Political donations
  • If you are changing accountants: your most recently filed return

Stay tuned for my next segment – WHY does my accountant need that?

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