New Beginnings. It’s that time of year. Spring is in the air (although as I write this snow is forecast on the ground!) and there is a sense of renewal. Carl Bard said it well: “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
Financially this is also a time of new beginnings. In Canada, the government’s financial year runs from 1st April to 31 March. This year we Canadians have not only started a new fiscal year but also have a new budget, new government and new Prime Minister – Justin Trudeau. There have been some major policy shifts between this Liberal government and the previous Conservative one. An example of an economic change would be the greater willingness for the government to run deficits. Another less serious difference would be Justin Trudeau’s readiness to pose for selfies!
It really does not matter which side of the political spectrum one prefers, there is general agreement that this is truly a time of new beginnings in Canada!
Corporate financial year ends vary. The majority of corporate fiscal year ends in Canada are still the end of December. But if you are a new business you should think carefully about your fiscal year end. There are a number of considerations to think about from tax implications to the purely logistical. As an example, if your business is expected to be very seasonally skewed to November December, you might want to consider having your fiscal year end in the middle of the calendar year. We would always advise new business owners to take advice from their financial advisers before they fix their corporate year end. Once fixed, it is possible to change a year end but there are a few steps to go through which do not make it straightforward.
In many ways, in each of our personal financial worlds, this is also a time for new beginnings. Even though our personal tax year runs from January to December, April always feels like end of the year as we meet the tax filing deadlines. It may be a little late to materially affect your personal tax return for 2015, but soon it would be a good time to sit down with your financial adviser and have a serious conversation about tax planning for next year and beyond. This could be the time to think if new beginnings in your personal tax affairs.
So while Spring is a harbinger of new beginnings, so too is the tax season. Although the way the weather in Canada is behaving this year, taxes are probably a little more certain than spring!