The venture is new, but there’s no time for easing into things at Taylor Tax Services in Elmira: tax season is only weeks away at this point. Owners Shelly and Scott Taylor have both been dealing with income taxes and small business accounting for more than 25 years. The couple worked together at an accounting firm in Waterloo for many years when last year Shelly moved to work for Witmer Accounting in Elmira.
Denise Witmer, who owns and operates Witmer Accounting Consulting Ltd., has several different services she offers to her clients. A few months ago Witmer elected to sell the tax component of the business to the Taylors, giving them tax clients and a few bookkeeping clients.
“She started talking about selling her tax services business after realizing that her duties to her other companies were taking a back seat during the busy two-month tax season,” said Shelly.
The Taylors saw the business as an opportunity to be able to be connected to the community a little better.
“It is what we like to do, as crazy as it might be during the tax season of March and April. Helping people with their businesses is what I do. I have helped businesses all across Canada with help and advise on taxes and we want to help some local businesses,” said Scott.
The Taylors also purchased the Witmer’s business phone number as not to confuse former clients with a new phone number. They have relocated the business to 28 Pintail Dr. in Elmira where there is a locked mailbox outside for clients to drop off forms.
“Denise does not want to do taxes any more, and she did not want to get those calls: she made the phone number part of the purchase offer,” said Shelly. “It makes the transition easier for the clients with the phone number being the same.”
The business currently does income tax and tax return filing and also helps out some clients with their bookkeeping on a monthly and quarterly basis, filing of HST returns, payroll remittances and the like.
“We know that everyone has different concerns when it comes to their taxes. If you are an employee and you just got your T4 and your other various forms from the bank or charitable donations you may be interested in contributing to a RSPs and we can help them with their calculations,” said Scott.
If their clients have a small business, the Taylors make sure the income statement for the year is organized and complete – they know everything that should be included in terms of reasonable and allowable expenses on the form before it is sent off to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
The Taylors are expecting to be able to complete a tax return within 48 to 72 hours, depending on the amount of information provided by their clients.
Anyone wishing to bring their income tax forms to the Taylors can start to bring them now, said Scott, but Revenue Canada is not processing tax returns until Feb. 13 so anything that is sent in before that date just sits there.
“We have found that we do not want to start processing anything until the first week of March because a lot of people think they have everything but sometimes they are missing the odd piece of information and we have then find their return and add the new information to it,” said Shelly. “Don’t jump the gun, just wait.”
The Taylors will be electronically filing every tax return for their clients and they make sure every client is set up with direct deposit through CRA. If a client files a tax return with a refund they should be expecting a return within two to three weeks said Scott.
“My personal pet peeve when it comes to income taxes are places that will do refunds on the spot. They take so much money from people it is not funny,” said Scott. “You don’t need to be paying guys like these the 10 per cent to get your refund back. When you figure out that interest rate, it is huge. Nobody should be doing that anymore: it is a rip off.”
Currently the business is open after 5 p.m. on weekdays. The Taylors believe that most people are working during the day and it is hard to go see an accountant between 9 and 5; they plan to be open when most people will have the time to drop by their office.
In this digital age, the Taylors know they will be able to get back to clients in a timely manner using the phone, fax or email.
“Eventually our clientele will know we are not here in the daytime but we can return calls at lunch and after 5 p.m. and that is how our business will operate,” said Shelly. A home-based business, the operation has all the professional touches in place.
“We have the proper security systems in place and every client we have can be assured of privacy and everything is confidential,” said Scott. “All the forms will be safe and secure and backed up exactly as it should be.”