It is generally known that the accrued gain on your principal residence is not taxable.

Without necessarily getting into the details, an individual who sells his residence knows that he is not required to report anything in his tax return and generally has no tax to pay.

If, however, you have more than one residence where each can be designated as a principal residence, a prescribed form (T2091) must be prepared to establish the portion of the gain that could be taxable. It’s not always necessary to send this form to the tax authorities. To address this lack of information and control, with very little fanfare, the federal tax authorities have introduced new rules for improving observation and administration of the tax system in this regard. Since there’s a risk of changes and certain surprises for taxpayers who do not follow these, it’s worth looking at them.

New obligations

Gone are the days when you could sell your residence without notifying the tax authorities. According to the new provisions, you will have to comply with disclosure obligations (starting with your 2016 tax return), if you disposed of your residence since January 1, 2016. To the extent that you lived in your residence for each of the years where you were the owner, the gain could be totally exempt and no tax be required. Up to here, nothing has changed.

However, you will henceforth have to report the acquisition year, the sale price and a description of the property. This means that if you have more than one dwelling and the property sold cannot be designated as your principal residence for each of the years you owned it, you will have to complete the prescribed form (T2091) to calculate the tax-free and taxable portions.

Don’t forget to declare the sale, otherwise…

Unless you declare the sale of your residence during the year, you will not be able to benefit from the exemption for a principal residence, such that the profit realized (called capital gain) will be taxable.

If you forget to declare the disposition and to designate it as a principal residence in the year of the sale, it would be in your best interest to ask the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to modify your income tax return and pay a penalty for late filing. This penalty will correspond to the lesser of the following two amounts:

  • $100 per late month calculated since the filing deadline;
  • $8,000.

Furthermore, individuals who have not reported the sale could be in for another surprise. The period during which the CRA can issue a new assessment (which is currently three years) will be indefinitely extended. The tax authorities will therefore have all the time needed to find delinquent taxpayers.


  • Make sure you comply with the new disclosures in order to benefit from the exemption for a principal residence;
  • If you forget to declare your principal residence, notify the tax authorities and pay the penalty applicable. It could be less costly than the capital gains tax;
  • Remember: keeping track of the cost of your property and related improvements will help reduce your tax bill;
  • New rules have also been provided if you’re a non-resident of Canada or if you hold a residence in a personal trust;
  • Consult a tax professional to avoid unpleasant surprises.

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Ferme Taillon is a diversified farm operation with organic grain, dairy, poultry and other productions.

One employee, Olivier Milot, has always stood out, to the point where, for several years now, he has been able to manage all of the farm’s activities when the owners, brothers Christian and Daniel Taillon, are away.

A trusted employee, Olivier Milot gained his experience over the years since joining the operation when he was 14. The owners noticed his drive, good work and interest in the farm’s activities and now he is being presented as the operation’s successor.

“I’ve always been in favour of farm successors who don’t have a farm,” explains Christian Taillon. “Our children, Daniel’s and mine, have not shown an interest in taking over the farm. They have found their own passion in life and we are pleased for them. However, we did want the farm to continue, and Olivier was a good candidate as successor.”

Once discussions were initiated and Olivier’s interest confirmed, it didn’t take the Taillon brothers long to involve him in all aspects of the farm’s activities, from production to finance, as well as expansion and acquisition projects. The succession plan was formalized in record time.

“We had made our decision, and we wanted to finish it all in eight months,” says Christian. “Everybody told us it was impossible, this is something that usually take one to two years.”

They met the transfer process challenge thanks to the support of a multidisciplinary team.

“There were 12 of us around the table,” he remembers. “Experts from Groupe multiconseil agricole Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, the UPA, Desjardins, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, as well as our insurer and our notary, were all involved. We planned our meetings ahead of time and everyone had assigned tasks to complete in between.”

The stakeholders’ goodwill and the business’s sound financial situation obviously contributed to the process’s success and the agreement reached. The Taillon brothers plan to stay involved in the farm for many more years and the transfer will take place gradually.

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Have you properly prepared your succession plan? Did you cover all the bases? Passing the torch to the person who will take over your business is no easy feat.

This transferor’s testimonial reminds us of the importance of having a well-planned succession plan and making sure all the bases are covered.

Sound management, communication and openness to the needs and objectives of all those involved are factors to be taken into consideration when carrying out a business transfer and, for parties concerned, ensuring that the business goes on.

Expect the transfer to take several years

Régis Simard founded Les Forestiers F.A.J. inc. in 1995. His wife, Johanne, is also involved in the company, as secretary-accountant. For several years, they had been thinking of selling the company.

“I didn’t want just anybody to take over the business,” explains Régis. “Keeping it going is important. I’d been talking about this to Jean-Louis for about four or five years. He’s been a key employee for 18 years and is married to my niece.”

An automobile accident at the age of 57 led Régis to initiate the transfer process, which sped things up.

According to the Simards, Jean-Louis has always been a good candidate for succession. He’s resourceful, bold and versatile and he likes the forest. They believe these are essential qualities for the job. To be an owner, you also have to be dedicated. The work is demanding, sometimes you have to be away for several days, and you can be called at any time, day or night.

“These days, work is important, but family and leisure time are just as much. That’s why taking over a business is a decision that has to be made as a couple.”

A succession plan to manage expectations

“The transfer is going well,” Régis maintains. “There are ups and downs. The successor has expectations and, as transferor, I had some as well. With good communication, we can find common ground. This is not the same as a sale. You want the successor to be able to keep the business.”

“Everything is going smoothly,” says Johanne. “There are considerable challenges in this transfer, the successor is our nephew-in-law, we wanted it to go well. Having an external consultant as intermediary to coordinate everything helped. We wanted a win-win for everyone.”

Régis goes on to say, “There are hundreds of ways to transfer a business. For us, it was important that Jean-Louis not be financially overwhelmed, otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to continue. We needed sound management and the support of experienced people to find the best plan to ensure the company’s longevity.”

For the future, Régis Simard would like to see the company maintain its industry position while continuing to offer the same quality and expertise that characterized it from the onset.

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Pierre Fortin
Partner | CPA, CA | Management consulting

The customer experience is a hot topic. However, more than simply being a buzzword, it’s an essential business strategy component that can no longer be pushed to the back burner or ignored.

Focussing on the customer experience can in fact help you:

  • Protect your income by fostering loyal customers;
  • Cut the costs associated with customer attrition and acquisition rates;
  • Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your tools, processes and Customer “channels”;
  • Engage your employees thanks to a customer-focussed culture;
  • Foster greater productivity and decrease staff turnover;
  • Stand out from the competition – while copycat risks increase and margins decrease, the customer experience is a differentiating factor.

The customer experience is the result of all the interactions a customer can have with regard to a brand or business, or what the customer has seen and felt. It’s the art of making a positive, long-lasting impression.

Talking about the customer experience emphasizes the rational and emotional benefits underlying the purchase of a service or product rather than simply its characteristics. Therefore, it’s the customer’s perception that counts; you need to modify it to ensure the customer has a positive experience.

Let’s be honest: how well do you really know your customers? What kind of customer experience are you trying to provide? Which emotions are you trying to evoke? What are your customers really looking for? What creates value for your organization? And especially, how focussed is your organization on its clientele?

More loyal customers, enhanced reputation

It’s no longer enough to simply satisfy your customers. You need to make them loyal and encourage them to recommend you so that your organization can reap tangible benefits. Why is this important?

  • Recruiting a new customer costs five times more than retaining an existing one (TARP Institute – USA).
  • A dissatisfied customer will tell about 13 people on average, but only 1 out of 25 will actually contact you to complain;
  • A satisfied customer will tell five people;
  • On average, customer experience leaders achieve greater stock market returns regardless of economic cycles, according to a post entitled Is there a Return on Customer Experience Investments? published on the Watermark Consulting blog.

Where to begin?

With customers of course! First and foremost, is knowing your customers well and having a clear idea of the customer experience you wish to offer.

Make sure to know your customers well, in particular, their needs and expectations, but also their desires and the positive emotions they’re looking for by doing business with you. You even need to pinpoint the stereotypes influencing the perception of your organization and its services which can hinder a memorable customer experience if they’re not broken. This exercise will provide you with clear indications on the customer experience they’re seeking and what they’re expecting (your service attributes) during their journey with you. It’s important to understand that in a B2B situation, the customer is a multifaceted individual, with needs, expectations, desires, emotions and stereotypes that can vary in the fine print. In this case, maintaining close communication at all levels in the organization to be able to deal with these differences will be a winning strategy. This exercise might seem obvious, but even today, few organizations bother to investigate beyond the simple needs and expectations of their clientele…

Assess how your organization performs in the creation of the customer experience your clientele is looking for and that you’re willing to offer.

On the basis of a known, relevant customer experience management model, assess whether your organization is truly focussed on the customer and identify performance gaps in your customer experience management.

On one hand, how is the customer culture within your organization? Does the organization’s leadership foster efforts in this regard? Have you defined and communicated your customer promise or service values to your staff? Are your employees committed to attaining a common goal, which is to better serve the customer?

On the other hand, are your customer experience delivery systems performing and consistent? First, do the employees have a good understanding of the customer experience to be delivered? Are they trained accordingly and do they exhibit the key behaviours of the customer promise? Second, do your work processes, procedures and tools enable your staff to go beyond the call of duty for your customers? Is the physical and virtual environment that you offer in line with the customer experience you’re trying to provide?

Lastly, do your efforts result in actual gains and create value for your organization? Managing the customer experience is not only for being nice to your customers; your organization must be able to reap the benefits. Do you have loyal customers? Would your customers recommend you? Will your brand image and the organization’s reputation be enhanced?

Take action

The issue is not having performance gaps, but rather failing to address them! You need to take action.

You need to implement a program to eliminate gaps in the current customer experience and what you want to offer while paying particular attention to revamping the organization’s customer culture and improving the performance of the three customer experience delivery systems, i.e., employees, organizational processes and systems and the physical and virtual environment. All must be aligned with the experience you want to offer customers. Mapping the customer journey is an excellent way of defining the customer experience in detail at each point of contact between your customers and yourself and to determine improvement methods that will later be used in a bold, yet realistic and sustainable action plan.

Success factors

The first success factor is being able to rely on management’s unconditional commitment. Managers must send a clear message about making the customer experience the corner stone of the business strategy and fostering success in order to motivate the staff to contribute. Improving the customer experience is done through inspirational management and leadership that will engage employees and motivate them to attain this common objective.

Lastly, as more than 70% of customer experience review projects fail at the implementation stage, sufficient efforts must be deployed at that point to ensure the necessary changes are implemented and that improvements last. The active supervision of developments and the use of tools such as scorecards including specific indicators can be useful for increasing the chances of success of a customer experience review project.

Have we convinced you? Are you already on the right path?

06 Dec 2016  |  Written by :

Pierre Fortin is a partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. He is your expert in Management...

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