Most advisors aren’t tax and estate experts, says Jamie Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning for CIBC Wealth Advisory Services.
But that’s not a problem since they can draw on the expertise of accountants and lawyers to develop tax knowledge.
Doing so helps planners set themselves apart, he adds, since “clients are always looking for ways to save tax. They’re looking at ways to minimize taxes on debt, and at ways to transfer their estates as efficiently as possible so they can pay [fewer] fees.”
Read: Top tax changes of 2013
Adding tax-planning services
When offering tax advice, be aware of new developments, says Golombek. Since there’s “[significant] downward pressure in the industry on fees,” offering comprehensive tips will boost the value of your advice.
If you’re not sure where to get up-to-date information, he adds, start by subscribing to CRA and industry news feeds. Also, search for releases that outline speeches made by federal ministers and that detail new legislation.
“If you’re not in the tax planning business full-time, you can’t…spend all day researching new [tax] developments,” says Golombek. But if you receive industry updates at least once a day, you’ll likely “get all the necessary tax information you need to [develop] a good base level of knowledge” that can benefit your clients.
Once you build up your tax expertise, offer tax tips regularly, says Golombek. Help people choose and manage registered plans throughout the year. Also, provide tips on strategies such as income splitting both before and after tax season.
And if a client owns a small business, outline the credits and strategies they can use to save money.
Top 25 stories of 2013, which offers a list of tax-related stories