Life, Death, and Taxes

Many of you have often heard of the saying the only three certainties in life are life death and taxes. This is likely why maternity wards, funeral homes, and tax accountants will always be busy in our westernized world. One of my aims with Agustus is to use tax as a segue to connect with individuals about the other two certainties.

Death comes up in conversation with tax accountants in various forms. When to take CPP (60, 65, or 70), how inheritances are taxed, claiming additional medical expenses for terminal health conditions. Each of these topics (fortunately or unfortunately) require a conversation on your perception of death. I used to attend a men’s group in Vancouver, and this was a topic that had more varied perceptions compared to others. Discussing death in a setting like this allows the individuals involved to share their views and perhaps allow for new ones to broaden their understanding of what it means to them. This conversation is important because once a tax accountant knows your perception on what it means to you, then we as tax counsellors can have a conscious discussion on how best to proceed with things like, when to collect CPP, who should claim medical expenses, who is the best executor of an estate, how money should flow to beneficiaries in a tax effective manner. Death in this case can either be the individual or someone very close to them. I have gone through three separate premature deaths with my family and friends, so I know the difficulty of the conversation.

Life comes up in conversation with tax accountants often in the form of having and raising children. I myself have two children aged 13 and 11 and have noted that decisions are made annually on how I want to raise them. There are many considerations related to tax that are worth talking about either before or after having children. Understanding the child care deductions available, applying for social programs, private vs public schooling, dealing with disabilities like ADD and autism, deciding on whether to stay at home or getting a nanny are just a few that come to mind. Each of these topics merits a conversation with a tax counsellor so that we can get a sense on what your perceptions relating to a decision are. Many people don’t know what their preferences are going into the calls or if they do, they can’t describe why they think the way they do about a topic. Most callers come out with a better sense of why they think they way they do and therefore we can advise them to a greater depth using the newfound knowledge of the individual.

Tax counselling is aimed at getting YOU to know more about yourself around various subject matters. This is why a good portion of any call will include connecting with you so that you can get to know yourself better and then educate you on the options that align with getting more money WHILE respecting your perceptions on life, and occasionally through sharing our personal experiences, introduce a different way to think on a general subject matter. Regardless, we aim to educate you on filing options that often can and will save you more money and that work best for you. We are conscious accountants aimed at elevating your level of self awareness to make you more money and reduce stress.

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