Off the Books

Off the Books with Robert McGaghran

When did you join Sloan Group?

I joined the team in December 2015.

What is your main accounting focus?

I am the firm’s Tax Manager, which means my central focus is on anything that relates to Canadian or U.S. personal and corporate taxes.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I enjoy solving people’s financial issues or helping them to start or keep their business moving forward.  People often know what they want to do, but have no real idea of how to get there.  It’s the helping the client “get there” part that motivates me.  I enjoy consulting with them so they can achieve their goals.

Can you give us an example of how you help them achieve their goals?

Say a Canadian organization wants to expand into the U.S. or buy a business in the U.S.  There are many questions to be answered about the best way to structure, attain financing, and transfer money (or not) across the border.  It’s extremely fluid now, but U.S. President Trump wants to change the corporate tax rate which will make things much different than it has been in the last 10-15 years.  We are in a wait and see approach with his ideas. These changes may make it more attractive to keep money in U.S. and grow a business there.

You have a lot of corporate tax planning experience with individuals, corporations and partnerships.  Tell us a little about your background in that kind of work.

My focus before joining Sloan Partners was on U.S. personal and corporate tax planning, and before that, I did a lot of cross-border tax advising.

How did you get involved in the U.S. side of tax advising?

I saw a real need for cross-border tax advising. There are many Canadian corporations doing business over the border and thousands of Canadians who own property in places like Florida and California.  I saw a need for this type of specialty accounting.

How would you describe your personal accounting style?

My style is fairly flexible depending on the needs and knowledge of the client.  Many times, a client comes in having already done a lot of research, and they are just looking for me to confirm what they think.  Other times a client has a general idea of what they want to do, and I help them figure out the details.

What is the biggest tax mistakes you see businesses make and how can they be avoided?

I would say that the biggest mistake is not properly planning or correctly structuring a business from the beginning.  It’s important to take the time to plan where for the future expansion of the business.  Not planning at the onset can have big tax implications later down the road.

And now a few personal questions:

What made you decide to become an accounting/tax professional?

I find the tax side of the profession more interesting than accounting and auditing.  There is more reading and research to be done on the tax side, but to me, it is more interesting – more real life stuff.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests outside of the office that you’d like to share?

I am currently renovating my home and am doing a lot of the work myself.  I bought the house from an older couple who had not done any renovation for many years.  The kitchen has been completely remodeled, and I’ve added a bathroom.  I have plans to renovate the backyard and build a new deck.  That type of work is very different from accounting and taxes.  Taking a hammer and hitting things can sure get your financial frustration out!

Robert McGaghran, CPA, CA, is a Tax Manager and Sloan Partners’ trusted expert in Canadian and U.S. tax matters. He has completed in-depth tax course Part I, II and III.  Feel free to contact Robert or call 416-665-7735 (ext. 298).

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