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Sunday News Roundup 21.12.19: Pandora Progress, CRA complaints, FVV, and more 

Wrapping up the odds and ends in this week’s Canadian accounting news

Author: Canadian Accountant

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TORONTO, Dec. 19, 2021 – As we head into the holiday season, Canadians have become increasingly alarmed about the threat of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, and its effects on everything from mental health to the business community, including the Canadian accounting profession. 

The last two years — and, incredibly, we are heading toward the two-year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring the outbreak of pneumonia-like cases in Wuhan, China — have been tough on Canadian accountants. No one wants to see more lockdowns, government supports and social restrictions. Let’s be careful out there. And now, on to the rest of the odds and ends from the fascinating world of Canadian accounting. 

Wealthy Canadian families: Real estate foreclosure, offshore tax avoidance

It’s a complicated story, but if you’re even a casual follower of social justice stories, you’re probably aware of a US real estate company that bought thousands of foreclosed homes during the Great Recession as rental properties, and has been accused of disproportionately evicting Black families. 

Now, according to a report based on the Pandora Papers, it turns out that the company was built partially through the investments of wealthy Canadian families, in an offshore tax avoidance scheme based in the Cayman Islands. Lots of vigorous denials all around, of course, and outraged claims of legitimately paying all the taxes legally owed. Oh. And that US real estate company is coming to Canada. 

Taxpayers Ombudsperson and CRA complaints

The Office of the Taxpayers Ombudsperson (recently appointed François Boileau), sent twice its normal number of requests in the past year for the Canada Revenue Agency to resolve issues, according to the CBC. Most of those requests were related to COVID-19 benefits. The two biggest issues — for all Canadians, including Canadian accountants — are the frequent online service issues and then getting stuck on hold for hours. 

Bucket and Book It: the Fred Van Vleet Scholarship

Toronto Raptors point guard Fred Van Vleet has established a scholarship for Black or Indigenous students in the University of Toronto’s Rotman Commerce program. Of course, commerce programs are a standard route to the accounting profession, which is why we mention here—nothing to do with how much we like the Raptors. Van Vleet’s actually going to pay for all four years plus books, which amounts to about $60k. Would love to see more athletes involved in business scholarships. 

Crime and Punishment

A chartered professional accountant in B.C. who, according to the CBC, misled the province’s real estate regulator about his unlicensed property management business has been fined $100,000. And, in a bizarre story, a petty thief in Simcoe, Ont., stripped copper from some HVAC units at Millards Chartered Professional Accountants, according to the Simcoe Reformer. The thief has been ordered to pay the accounting firm $24k for the stolen coppes wire. 

Politics make strange EV bedfellows

Of all the people Canadian auto parts makers should thank this holiday season, they’re probably sending Christmas wishes to US Senator Joe Manchin, to whom a lump of coal is the perfect stocking stuffer. Canada is angered that Joe Biden’s electric vehicle tax credits will kill Canadian automakers and Joe Manchin, from coal-producing West Virginia (and a major investor in coal mining himself) is a rare Democrat who doesn’t believe in green energy policies. 

Quick Hits

Tax ideas inspired by songs of the holiday season (Globe and Mail)
EY announced the expansion of strategic alliance with ServiceNow to transform finance and tax services for the digital economy (Press Release)
RSM welcomes Fletcher Mudryk to its growing RSM Canada Alliance program (Press Release)
These tax changes in the latest fiscal update affect employees, seniors, students and more (Financial Post)
Diane Francis: Liberal incompetence delays full accounting of CERB fraud (Financial Post)
Big Four accountants KPMG to stop bidding for government contracts after scandals (Sunday Times UK)

By Canadian Accountant staff.

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