In the past, chartered professional accountants (CPA) primarily provided their clients with accounting services, but to stay competitive and relevant, you may want to start offering your clients advisory services as well. In particular, you may want to give your clients advice on how to use the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) online services to their advantage.
First and foremost, let your clients know what’s available. For instance, through My Business Account, the CRA allows small businesses to view and change their returns onlinethat includes federal income tax returns as well as returns for goods and services tax (GST) and excise taxes. Let your clients know that they can request to receive correspondence such as notices of assessments, benefit notices, and installment reminders from the CRA online. When your clients sign up to get letters online, they receive information a lot faster and they don’t have to worry about dealing with or losing paperwork.
You may also want to ask your clients if they want you to act as their authorized representative. The CRA lets individuals and businesses assign different levels of authorization to their representatives. Your clients may choose to just let you see their tax return information, or they may authorize you to enter information, make changes, and communicate with the CRA on their behalf. If you handle those issues for your clients, that saves them time and allows them to focus on their business.
You and your clients may also want to use the CRA’s auto-fill feature. When it’s time to complete a tax return, this service automatically populates the return with relevant details. Using this feature can be another big time saving measure.
As a tax professional, you probably know what the CRA offers online, but your clients may not be aware. If you point them in the right direction, they will be better positioned to utilize these services. Most importantly, they are likely to appreciate the information and hopefully reward you with more business or referrals.