To our clients,
As you are likely aware, since the initial State of Emergency was declared last week in the Province of Ontario, the offices of Mercer & Mercer have been closed. We have however continued to work remotely to assist clients in preparing their tax returns and answer questions related to various Government relief programs coming online.
The purpose of this update is to re-iterate our current operational format for processing returns. I will send a separate update later today with some additional details related to some of the main Government relief programs.
While accountants have been deemed by the Province to be an essential service, I have wrestled with how best to continue to deal with tax return preparation and also adhere to the physical-distancing / no unnecessary travel requests of various levels of Government and Public Health departments. The reality is there is no easy answer.
The Canada Revenue Agency has extended the tax filing deadline until June 1st, 2020 (June 15th for self-employed individuals). Tax payments can be deferred until August 30th, 2020 without penalty or interest. The Province of Ontario earlier this week extended the State of Emergency for an additional two weeks.
At some point, returns will need to be completed.
In discussion with my staff, and in trying as best as possible to respect and observe the requests for reduced unnecessary travel, we have determined that for now, we will operate on the following basis:
- IF you are able to, please continue to send your tax information electronically to our office using my e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org . Whether by PDF, Excel, Word, snapped pictures on your phone – if you can send things electronically please do. I can then assign returns amongst the office.
- You can also mail your tax information to us. Canada Post continues daily delivery to our office, so that is always an option.
- We will continue to work remotely, however, on a rotating basis there will be someone here at the office daily, between the hours of 9am and 1pm.
- We will not be taking face-to-face appointments, however, IF you are wanting to physically drop off your tax information – you can continue to use the mail slot on the front of our office door. If your package of information will not fit through a mail slot, please call beforehand to ensure that whoever is in the office knows to look in the hall to pickup your package. Please be aware that, the front door to our building is locked however there is a rear door into the building, accessed from the back of the parking lot, which is open during the day.
- As returns are completed and ready for pickup/filing, we will contact you by telephone or email to advise you of this, we will e-mail (where possible) your signature pages and a summary of your return along with our invoice. We can accept verbal authorization; digitally signed or physically signed documents back by e-mail, fax or regular mail. Payment of our invoice can be made via Interac e-transfer or payment by cheque.
- We will continue to take all necessary precautions in the office with respect to physical distancing, cleaning, handwashing and file-handling. Further, the building continues to have all common areas cleaned and disinfected each night.
We will continue to use this system until we are either ordered to close operations completely or travel and physical distancing restrictions have been eased.
I appreciate that these are difficult times for everyone and that filing your tax return may not be a top priority. To the best that we are able, we will continue to provide support to our clients through information updates on Government programs, responding to e-mail queries and by continuing to prepare returns for those clients who are able to send their information in.
I encourage you to continue following updates to the Government of Canada, Department of Finance and Province of Ontario website links for additional and emerging information.
On behalf of myself, and everyone here at Mercer & Mercer we hope that you are staying healthy and safe and doing your part to help flatten the curve on the spread of COVID-19. And we sincerely appreciate all of the cooperation and understanding we have received from you, our valued clients.
Blake Mercer and the Mercer and Mercer Team
email@example.com | 905-876-1144