Almost every one of our non-profit clients have year-end audits carried out by accountants of different backgrounds and qualifications. It’s always surprising to clients that we can achieve a substantial GST refund, even after their accountants review their books. The reason, in simple explanation, is that GST consultation is beyond the scope of the audit or review engagement. Audits are generally to satisfy requirements of a funder or the NPO’s members – not typically to advise on tax recovery/savings strategies (although the same accountants may potentially be contracted for work outside the audit, but that’s not generally our experience).
What we find even more surprising is when an auditor suddenly offers the client tax recovery services for the following year, after we identify a recovery. Why not? It’s more billable hours… I would to if roles were reversed.
My response to this is fairly simple – I remind the client that the auditor has usually been auditing their books for years and never identified the opportunity before our work. Can they rely on the auditor to identify future opportunities? There’s usually enough understanding and trust by this point and it’s rarely discussed again.
Audits have their purpose; GST/PST recovering consulting is not included.
When we come into a client’s organization for GST and/or PST refunds, our main focus is to simply save the client money and create value for them through our experience and expertise. If you are unsure if there is opportunity for a tax recovery – the audit is not the process to validate that. The only way to be sure rebates and refunds are maximized is to have a tax recovery specialist review the history and your operations. Get in touch with us if you are haven’t had this area of your NPO or corporation reviewed by a specialist recently.