When I reflect on some of the mistakes I have made in the past, I can usually draw a straight line of fault directly to my state of fatigue at the time. Turns out, rats have the same problem.
CBC News reported on April 28—typically a high stress time for tax practitioners in particular–that sleep deprivation can cause groups of brain cells to fall asleep in rats who appear to be awake. . .and rats with sleeping neurons make more mistakes, according to new research by Giulio Tononi, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his team (see story: Sleep deprivation makes brain cells turn off).
For professional advisors, it pays to spot check files in the post-tax season and in particular to review with clients those last minute activities that may require some audit-proofing. It’s always better to file an adjustment to a return that is error-prone than face gross negligence or tax evasion penalties later. Most pros will take the time to do that at this time of the year.
But, further reflection is required on the personal wear and tear we ignore and suffer, when we push ourselves to meet deadlines. Important practice management decisions need to be made before next tax season. Should you really have had more staff? Was it difficult to find qualified people you could count on to provide highly accurate service?
If that’s a problem for you, now is the time to study, train and improve the professional development of everyone in the office. We can help at the Knowledge Bureau; with professional development consultations.
It’s Your Money. Your Life. Remember, it’s about coming back next year. . .your clients would be so disappointed if you ruined your health, or your reputation, because you were just too tired to avoid mistakes! Make next tax season a healthier one by getting more sleep. . . plan well now.
Evelyn Jacks is President of the Knowledge Bureau, a national educational institute providing excellence in financial education for tax and financial advisors and their clients. She is a bestselling author of over 46 books on the subject of tax, personal finance, and wealth management, including Master Your Taxes.
Evelyn Jacks is President of the Knowledge Bureau, a national educational institute providing excellence in financial education for tax and financial advisors and their clients. She is a bestselling author of over 46 books on the subject of tax, personal finance, and wealth management, including Essential Tax Facts.
- Put the client's best interests first
- Act with prudence; that is, with the skill, care, diligence and good judgment of a professional
- Do not mislead clients; provide conspicuous, full and fair disclosure of all important facts
- Avoid conflicts of interest
Would you take on this assignment: successfully introduce six federal budgets in a minority parliament throughout the most significant global financial crisis since the Great Depression? It's not for the faint of heart, and yet that is what the current Finance Minister and his department have been challenged with.
Yesterday's budget contemplates a course which involved managing an interest-bearing debt of close to $800 Billion dollars in a rising interest rate environment, expenses for senior programs such as the OAS rising from $35 Billion today to $47 Billion in 5 years as boomers become pensioners, and an economic environment where raising taxes too much will eradicate the fiscal stimulus benefits of the last several years that have kept companies afloat and recreated the deficit re-accumulation in the first place.
My top three favorite provisions, which I hope will survive no matter the outcome of what seems to be a sure fire spring election are:
1. The Family Caregiver Tax Credit, which adds a $2000 amount to either the spousal, child, eligbile dependent or caregive amounts, as well as an incremental $2000 amount to the caregiver income levels subject to clawback.
2. The tuition and education credit enhancement for students studying abroad. More of that is going on and so it's nice to to see that the 13 week qualifying study period has dropped to 3 weeks so that more people can use money in RRSPs (Lifelong Learning Plan) and RESPs (Education Assistance Payments) to fund often much higher tuition fees than in Canada.
3. The Hiring Credit. Especially for small businesses who are hiring in 2011, a $1000 credit against your increase in EI over 2010 levels, if your EI payments are under $10,000 in 2010. That really helps and what I like about it, it's simple.
What are your favorite provisions? You'll need to know to be a more informed voter.
It's Your Money. Your Life. Your opinion, your vote and your involvement in the financial future of the country is important. Make it count.