COVID-19 Update #5
To our Valued Clients,
As many of you are undoubtedly aware, Monday March 23rd Premiere Ford called for a two-week shutdown of all non-essential businesses and asked for those who could, to work from home. The government provided a list of what businesses are considered essential. It was an extensive list that included, amongst others, accountants.
While it’s always nice to be considered essential, at this moment in time it’s a label I’m choosing to ignore.
For the safety of my staff and our clients, and in recognition of the 14-day shutdown request by the province:
Effective at 5:00pm today (Tuesday March 24th) the offices of Mercer & Mercer will be closed until at least Monday, April 6th.
How will this closure affect our operations?
- Starting Wednesday, March 25th, all staff have been directed to stay home. No one will be in the office.
- If you are needing to reach someone, e-mail will be the best option. You can telephone the office and leave a message however the message will not be received until we return to work. Further, during this shutdown I have placed no expectation on my staff that they maintain “normal” business hours while at home. If they are able to; or choose to work remotely it will be on their own schedule. So, if you do send someone an email it may not be replied to immediately.
- We are in the process of working with our corporate clients and those who may have time-sensitive filings (like HST and payroll) that have not been granted extensions, to get things completed remotely over the next week.
- For personal tax returns, those that have already been completed and picked up have been e-filed to CRA. I have received no indication to this point whether processing times at CRA will be affected by the various Government department shutdowns, though I would not be surprised if there were some delays.
- For returns where information has already been dropped off, there will likely be some delays in our processing times. Where we can, we will continue to work on files remotely, however, practically speaking there will be some limitations.
- If you have not yet had an opportunity to drop off your tax information please wait until we have resumed normal business operations.
- If you are able to send your information electronically, please do so – e-mail your information to firstname.lastname@example.org. As noted above, there will quite likely be some processing delays however we will do our best to continue to work on files remotely.
Please remember that the federal government has extended the filing deadline for personal tax returns until June 1st (at least) so I am confident that even with the current shutdown, we should have no issues getting all returns prepared on time.
If you are a business who is continuing to stay open, or who is continuing to pay your employees, please review the information available through CRA on the temporary wage subsidy. Further, if you’re having trouble figuring out how the subsidy works, send me an e-mail and I’ll forward to you an excel spreadsheet template that has been developed by a colleague of mine that will assist in calculating and tracking the subsidy.
These are very strange and uncertain days. I thank you all for your continued support and accommodation of our recent operational changes. We will all be faced with challenges of some form in the coming weeks. My hope for you and your families is for continued good health and safety and I ask that you please continue to do your part in helping to flatten the curve of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Practice safe social distancing and reduce unnecessary travel.
I would also like to take this opportunity to do something that as a business owner I probably don’t do enough – which is to publicly thank my staff for all of their efforts. Both throughout the year, but especially over the last few weeks as we’ve tried our best to navigate together through all that has transpired. In the forty plus years that Mercer & Mercer has been in business we have been blessed with dedicated and conscientious staff and today is certainly no different.
As further announcements are made which may impact the filing of personal or corporate tax filings I will, as best as possible, continue to send update notices.
Blake Mercer, President
Mercer & Mercer