Frequently Asked Questions

Do you prepare personal income tax returns and what is the cost?

Yes. The cost is based on the amount of time required to complete your return. The more complex your tax situation is, the more time is required. We meet with all new clients to obtain an understanding of your needs up front and will provide you with a fee estimate before we start our work. You will be asked to complete a tax questionnaire each year to identify any changes in your tax situation. We will also keep you informed of any changes to tax legislation that may affect you. Every tax return prepared by McColl Turner is reviewed by a Chartered Accountant to ensure accuracy.

I’m a Canadian that has US income.  Do I have to report the US income?

As a resident of Canada, you are taxed on your income from all worldwide sources, subject to Canada’s tax treaties with other countries. Employment income and investment income (including capital gains) from the US would be subject to tax in Canada. Pension income from the U.S. would also be subject to tax in Canada. U.S. Social Security is subject to tax in Canada, with the exception that at least 15% of the amount received is tax-free. Tax withheld in the US from these sources of income may give rise to a foreign tax credit in Canada, which will reduce your Canadian tax payable.

Are you taking on new clients?

Yes. McColl Turner is a growing practice of Chartered Accountants and we are available to serve the needs of the business community, not-for-profit organizations and individuals in Peterborough and the surrounding area. Please call our office to make an appointment to meet with one of our Chartered Accountants today.

What is the difference between a CA and other accountants?

There are three types of designated accountants in Canada: Chartered Accountants (CAs), Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) and Certified General Accountants (CGAs). To add to the confusion, CAs became part of a new designation, Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) in November 2012.

In Ontario, to perform an assurance engagement (which includes audit and review engagements) the accountant must hold a public accounting licence which is currently only obtainable by CAs. The extensive training and practical experience obtained by CAs makes us well positioned to provide accounting, tax and other business advisory services.

Who at your firm will be providing me with services?

At McColl Turner, we have the experience you require and can trust. Our pool of resources, which includes staff levels ranging from technicians to registered students to CAs, ensures that our services are provided in a cost-effective manner. Our assignment scheduling takes into consideration the complexity of the work and our clients’ needs. No matter what level of staff is assigned, the firm assures you that the partner remains your principal contact and reviews our work prior to release of any statements or tax returns. Our people are our number one resource and the entire team is committed to delivering high quality service to ensure our clients achieve their objectives.

How long do I need to retain financial records?

As a general rule, you must keep all of your records and supporting documentation for a period of seven years. For the purchase of assets or investments, information relating to the purchase price must be retained for seven years after the date of disposition. For more information please refer to CRA guide RC4409(E) – Keeping Records.

Do you prepare estate tax returns?

Yes we do. When a person dies, there is a terminal return that must be filed. This is a regular T1 individual income tax return that is filed for the year of death. Along with the income earned to the date of death, it also reports the deemed disposition of all assets of the deceased at the date of death. There are also elective returns that may be able to be filed to reduce the overall tax burden. In addition, a trust return may be required. A trust return reports income earned by the estate from the date of death of the individual until the time that the assets have been distributed. There may be one or more of these returns required depending on how long it takes to wind up the estate. McColl Turner is able to assist you with the completion of both the terminal and trust returns.

How do I pay a tax instalment?

There are three acceptable methods for making instalment payments. Two of these methods base your instalment payments on the amount of tax that you owed last year. The third method allows you to base your instalments on what your projected tax liability will be for the current year.

When they mail their reminders to you, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) uses a method wherein your first two instalments are based on the second preceding year, and your last two instalments are based on the immediately preceding year, with the total requirement being equal to your tax owing for the preceding year. You are within your rights to instead pay four equal amounts totalling your tax owing for the preceding year. This second method will be preferable if it results in reducing the payments required earlier in the year.

Both of these methods will be highly unfavourable to you if your prior year tax liability was unusually large, and not a good predictor of how the current year will look, because you may have had an unusual and non-recurring event in the prior year that resulted in a large tax liability. Where this is the case, you can pay instalments based on what you think you will owe for the current year. If you do adopt this approach, you run the risk that your projected liability is too low. If this is the case, you will be charged interest for not making the proper amount of instalment payments.

When we provide you with an instalment recommendation in the letter that accompanies your tax return, we will have considered which instalment method will be the best for you. As you will see from the foregoing, our recommendation may differ from the notices that CRA sends you. Where this is the case, we recommend that you follow our recommendation.

I really need to do some estate planning. Who should I see?

Our tax practice leaders Marilyn Feige and Kaz Nesbitt are well versed in many of the aspects of estate planning. Naturally, their focus is on reduction of income taxes payable, both by your estate at the time of your death, and by your heirs on the income from their inheritance.

Kaz is a member of the Peterborough Estate Planning Council (www.estateplanptbo.com). As such, Kaz is a firm believer in the virtues of a multi-disciplinary approach to estate planning.

Estate planning can be a complex process, requiring expertise in many areas beyond taxation, such as insurance, philanthropy, and of course law. The key to successful estate planning often lies in the commitment to team work among various professional advisors, with each professional recognizing that every team member is vital to the success of the project.

How may I make a payment to McColl Turner?

We accept payments by cash, cheque, debit or INTERAC E-transfer (please contact our office for E-transfer details).  As well, if you bank with Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank, Kawartha Credit Union, CIBC or Desjardins you may make your payment using online banking, telephone banking or at an ATM.