Budget over-easy

  Kent Davison

Kent Davison

Edmonton’s Tax team brainstorms for its annual post-federal budget breakfast

When Finance Minister Jim Flaherty walks into Parliament this coming Thursday to announce the annual federal budget, PwC Edmonton’s Tax team will be along for the ride—albeit holed up in a boardroom—slicing, dicing and analyzing the data—all in time for sunrise.

The PwC Tax team’s report will also serve as the presentation for that morning’s annual federal budget breakfast held at the Edmonton Petroleum Club. Led by firm partner and Edmonton Tax lead Kent Davison, the breakfast has become somewhat of a tradition in Edmonton, for many years, for our clients and targets.

Davison says PwC uses live speaker-to-audience-led informational sessions in order to connect with clients, better understand their concerns and answer their questions.

Additionally, Davison says the presentation-with-breakfast format provides PwC’s Edmonton clients the opportunity to get a more in-depth look at “the particular aspects of the budget that are going to be most relevant for them.”

Further, he adds, clients still appreciate the personal touch that comes with hosting the annual budget breakfast.

“Our clients enjoy the experience of coming out for a breakfast where they get to see some colleagues, friends, grassroots and real-live speakers,” Davison says, noting he hopes the tradition will maintain the traction it’s experienced in previous years.

Preparing for changes introduced in the budget

So does Davison expect Jim Flaherty’s budget to come with any new tax grabs or drabs?

"We always expect some changes,” he says.

“This year, for example, we are expecting changes to the tax credit program for research and development. However, the buzz of late seems to have more to do with an austerity budget in terms of deficit reduction and spending cuts.”

“Certainly the Finance Minister’s been hinting at that,” he explains, adding, however minor, each annual budget will undoubtedly contain some items that will affect clients.

Last year, for instance, it was the elimination of the partnership deferral rules that ultimately impacted a number of his clients with partnership structures.

“We wanted to make sure that they were advised and informed and we worked with them to help them understand the rules—and then planned for how to deal with those rules moving forward,” he says.

Similarly, he points to a number of his clients that have had structures involving ownerships through registered accounts such as RRSPs or tax-free savings accounts. “[The government] changed those rules so, again, we had to work with our clients and help them to understand the changes to the rules in order to get a proper plan of action in place.”

For his part, however, Davison says he doesn’t foresee too much tax drama in Thursday’s Budget. “You’ll have to wait and see what’s there...but I don’t really anticipate a lot of changes,” he says.

“But you just never know; there’s typically always some tax change that comes along that we need to understand—that’s our job—to figure out what the changes are and to help our clients understand them and deal with them.”