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Why is my accountant so tired and grumpy in June?

Why is my accountant so tired and grumpy in June?

“I’m sure you must be glad tax season is over. Are you enjoying this beautiful spring weather? Do you have time for a new project, to be done by next week?”

If I’ve been rude to you lately….sorry. This is for you. It’s come up in enough conversations recently that I thought it was worth posting about. 

As you learn in your first busy season (NOT “tax season”), you need to think of January through June as a marathon. If you treat it as a sprint, you won’t make it. And – for context – today (June 13) is about 38km into the marathon. The last push is still ahead. My runner friends tell me it can be the hardest.

In our line of work, the first half of the year brings a series of cascading deadlines. Think of them as the hills on your marathon route.

Here are the main ones that cause surges in our workflow:

January 31

  • HST filing deadlines for all businesses who file on a calendar quarter (that’s about 70% of them)

February 29 (this year)

  • Deadline for filing Tslips, including T4s and T5s. This year, the government introduced a new wrinkle, with some extra reporting that had to be put on EVERYONE’s T4, at pain of penalties. Lots of fun.
  • The T5s are how you inform the government of dividends declared by companies during the prior calendar year. Doesn’t sound like much…. but it’s the last kick at the can for tax planning. So, no matter how well you plan it, lots of complex discussions and scenario analysis. Heavy brainpower required.

March 31

  • It’s also the date after which CRA starts to charge interest on unpaid taxes, for most corporations with a December 31 year-end (about 40% of our client base). So, even if we’ve not yet finished the tax returns, we try to at least give our clients a heads-up of what they may have to pay, so they can send that money and avoid interest. At 10%, CRA interest focuses the mind this year.
  • HST returns for most annual corporate filers are due today. And, by the way, we’re now riding the wave of tax returns, due April 30.

April 30

  • The big one. Tax filing deadline for about 98% of the population.
  • Those quarterly HST filings have rolled around again.

May 31

  • Nothing big. We’ve typically taken a few days off. I also spend a couple of days in a quiet room reviewing my client list, and trying to work out what fell off the side of my desk in the headlong rush towards April 30, what I owe people, what new projects need to be scheduled…
  • Once we get back to normal service, we’re trying to catch up on work for our corporate clients. With the best will in the world, some of the regular corporate work gets pushed from March and April into May, because of the tax return rush.

June 15

  • Filing deadline for self-employed people. It may only be 2% of the population, but these returns tend to be more complicated, they often involve HST returns as well (also due June 15), and the numbers on filing are often bigger. Plus, many entrepreneurs hate doing their taxes, so they come in later than we’d like. (Yes, you know who you are.)

June 25 – a 2024 special! Change in capital gains rules!

June 30

  • Filing deadline for the many corporations with a Dec 31 year-end. We’ve tried to smooth this work throughout the last 6 months…. But not always successfully.
  • Lots of AGMs for charities and non-profit. They like their accountants to present the financials to the members. I normally enjoy these.

Then, that’s it for a while.

So, you can see why I like July. Except those pesky quarterly filings have rolled around again.

Why am I telling you this?

Don’t worry, we’re not asking for sympathy. After all, we signed up for it!

But… Please be aware that our service capacity may be affected by the above deadlines. We always do our best to give you the attention you deserve, and more. However, sometimes there’s just more competition for the time! 

If we can’t respond immediately, we’ll always try to acknowledge you and warn you of the timeline for your service needs. As a result, many things without a pressing deadline are scheduled for the 2nd half of the year. It can be busier than expected!