In the info screen, I have checked off “contact preparer” for both the pre- and post-assessment review, but none are coming to me. All reviews are going directly to my client. What have I missed? The previous line asks about representing the client for this return only. Since I already have a blanket authorization, I have left this line blank. Should “yes” be checked off here in order for the instructions in the pre & post assessment contact to work?
Yes it needs to be checked as well.
Thanks. A silver lining is that at least now some of my clients realize the work I do for them behind the scenes.
A Post- or Pre-Assessment review is extra work and you should be billing for them.
Just to echo Roxane, why in the world do you want them coming to you. That is just more work for you. If it comes to them, the onus is on them to get it done, and they might even do it themselves!
I find that my clients come to me because they know that I will handle the Pre and Post Assessment Reviews if they should arise. In fact most of my clients have complex or problematic T1 Returns wherein they exceed the threshold amounts and are reviewed annually. Or, they have commonly reviewed line items and are reviewed periodically, usually once every 4 to 5 years.
To handle this more efficiently, effectively, and with better pricing optics I build in a small uplift charge across the board on an individual and/or family basis to handle simple pre and post assessment reviews. This is my BASE PRICE. It includes a full review of all source documents, reconciliation working papers, cover memos if needed. These are scanned and ready to go if and when a client under goes a CRA Pre or Post Assessment Review. I include this in the client documents bundle returned to the client. For me, this means that my CRA Pre or Post Assessment Review reply is fast and easy should this arise. For my client, this means peace of mind and less fear or work in the future.
Should a client not provide the supporting documents for an eligible claim, I no longer submit this claim. Instead I insist that this be part of second engagement to adjust the tax return. I charge a reasonable fee for this work product based on a separate engagement. My reasoning here is based on optics, expectations, timelines, and reasonable fees for work. I find that it takes me a lot longer to recreate complex working papers after the fact than to do it once right and fully. The client no longer holds my feet to fire for missing the documents and making them do work they don’t like to do. Instead they are motivated to do the work to gain the increased tax refund amount or the reduced taxes payable.
What helps is that I told them upfront and gave them a choice:-
A - all supporting docs at tax review level and all claims included at time of filing.
B - all income and those claims for which they have all supporting docs at time of filing. Additional claims as an adjustment and a separate engagement when docs at review level are provided.
After 18 years of professional tax preparation I find this to be clearest and best workflow for me and for my type of clients.
My two cents worth…
I add an additional fee to any tax return that I feel will generate a review… fee paid at time of original tax return completed.
I also scan all relevant documents while I have them at hand so the review process is easy upload for post assessment ( still faxing those pre-assessments … grr)
If something minor is reviewed that I did not anticipate, I make note and mention and possibly charge for it next year.
If something major reviewed that I didn’t expect or something I was not provided info on… then I invoice once review completed based upon time spent.
My client retention is very high, majority of returns are investments holders or business owners and these clients do not mind paying up front.
My clients expect me to look after this « stuff »for them as they do not have time nor expertise to deal with cra and they value my years of experience.
My clients will not forward to cra on their own without first checking in with me… less headaches in long run… train your clients to
Come to you for other value added services… my client base is solely built on referrals as the personal touch is what they expect… they are not just another number
Rachel Thibodeau Parlee
I build the potential pre and post assessment work I might perform into everyone’s fee. I then simply tell my clients that my fee includes tax preparation and any follow-up work I might have to do in the event that there is a pre or post assessment. I then go on to explain why it is better for me to deal with CRA rather than my client. I have yet to experience anyone who objects to this approach. Most are relieved that I will be taking care of all the back and forth with CRA in such an eventuality and are quite happy to pay the small extra amount for this service.
My clients are all told NOT to respond to CRA without letting me know first.
Then I log into CRA, download the letter to see what they need and answer it. My clients like that I have their backs and they don’t have to talk to the tax man.
And BTW - those letters that don’t have a Reference #? Just call and ask for one and they will do it over the phone for you. They don’t want tons of faxes either!
For the reference code, you may be able to find it under Represent a Client, Mail… the letter show up there with the code.