• What services do you provide?

    We focus on providing U.S. and Canadian tax services to individuals and businesses with a cross-border aspect to their situation. What that means is that we will only accept tax advisory and compliance assignments where they involve cross-border or international complications. These complications usually arise where an individual or business has obligations in more than one country at the same time.

    See our Services pages for a detailed listing of our Canadian tax and U.S. tax services.

  • What services do you not provide?

    Our mission is to offer cross-border tax consulting and compliance services. As a tax consultancy, we do not do bookkeeping or financial statement preparation. In addition, we do not accept Canadian tax engagements unless they involve a cross-border dimension.

  • Why do you restrict your acceptance of Canadian tax engagements?

    There are a couple of reasons for this:

    • We can’t do everything! Because the U.S. and Canadian tax seasons overlap, we would be totally overwhelmed if we accepted the Canadian tax work of all our U.S. tax clients. Service would suffer, and our staff would quit!
    • It’s part of our marketing strategy. We try to complement, not compete with, other accounting firms who focus exclusively on either U.S. or Canadian taxation. This is a big source of our growth and referrals.

    Don’t worry – we’ll do Canadian work if we’re the ones who should be doing it. But don’t be surprised if we recommend that we partner with another firm to serve you well.

  • Do you have to do my Canadian tax to do my U.S. tax return?

    No. We encourage our clients, where possible, to have their Canadian return done by a different accountant unless this isn’t feasible. We’ll be honest with you and tell you when they should be done together by the same firm.

  • Can you do a tax return for U.S. taxpayers who live the United States?

    Yes, we can. But see our answer to the next question.

  • When should I use an U.S. based accountant instead of Unbordered?

    U.S. resident taxpayers are usually more efficiently served by a local accountant because that person is aware of the state and local tax laws in their jurisdiction. However, certain U.S. resident taxpayers who receive foreign income or who maintain foreign ties while resident in the United States may be better served by Unbordered than by a local accountant who has no international tax expertise.

  • Would you be able to assist my U.S. tax advisor with respect to cross-border issues?

    Yes, we can. We are quite willing to work co-operatively with other U.S. and Canadian accountants in providing service to our mutual clients.

  • I do not live near one of your offices. Can you still do my tax return?

    Yes, we can. We can interact with you electronically or by courier/mail. Most of our clients (even those within reach of our offices) choose to have their returns done this way.

  • Where can I meet with you?

    In general, we can meet with clients in the Nova Scotia counties of Halifax, Lunenburg and Kings. Time and mileage charges apply to meetings outside our meeting sites.

  • How can I get records to you?

    You can deliver paper records to our meeting sites, in person or by mail. In addition, we can send you a secure link through which you can upload electronic documents to us.

  • How can I get the client copies of my tax filings?

    We can distribute your copies of our work products as either a PDF, a paper package or both.
  • What kind of steps do you take to protect my personal information?

    We take the protection of your personal information very seriously. In choosing our software providers, we only deal with world-class companies with strong data protection, such as Microsoft, Dropbox and Wolters Kluwer. In addition, we provide our clients with an encrypted upload link for communicating documents to us. When we distribute documents to clients, we do so through a password-protected and encrypted download link.
  • How long does it usually take to do a tax return?

    We usually have a tax return done within 3 weeks of receipt of all the relevant information. However, at peak times (March-June), the process can take longer.

  • What are your hourly rates?

    At present, the hourly rates for our staff range from $80 per hour to $210 per hour.
  • How much does a U.S. tax return cost?

    Every return is different, but here is a general summary: the range for simple returns is $200-$500; the range for moderately complex returns is $500-$800; complex returns start at $800 (all prices are in Canadian dollars). There is no real upper limit for complex returns, but we have very few that routinely exceed $1,500. In fact, we provide our clients with advice on how to simplify their lives in order to reduce the cost of their U.S. filing.

  • What types of things affect how expensive my U.S. tax return will be?

    Some of the things which make a U.S. return more costly are the following:

    • whether the return is for one individual or two (U.S. taxpayers can file joint returns with a spouse)
    • whether the return involves income from more than one country
    • the need to file certain foreign asset disclosure forms (FinCEN Form 114, IRS Forms 8938, 5471, and 3520 are the common ones)
    • the number of foreign (non-U.S.) financial accounts that need to be reported on FinCEN Form 114 and IRS Form 8938
    • the number of investment accounts and the type of investments in each (Google “PFIC” to learn about one particularly problematic type of investment)
    • the number of “investment transactions” occurring during the year (investment transactions are purchases and sales of stock and the receipt of investment income)

    Of these factors, the number of investment accounts, the types of investments and the number of investments transactions in each account is by far the most important.

  • How much does a Canadian tax return cost?

    In general, because we only take Canadian tax clients with significant cross-border tax complications, our average price for a Canadian return would be higher than our price for a U.S. return. If we accept you as a Canadian tax client, it means that you need a higher level of specialization and you can expect to pay for it. If you need a less specialized (and cheaper) firm, we’ll send you to one.

  • Can you e-file tax returns?

    Yes, we can – if your return is eligible for e-file. Certain U.S. states have restrictions on e-filing in situations which are commonly encountered by our clients (for example, where the address on the return is a foreign address).

  • What are your qualifications?

    Our professional staff (Jeremy and Darrell) bring the following qualifications to our firm:

    • significant experience (Jeremy has been practising exclusively in tax since 1999, Darrell since 2007)
    • Jeremy and Darrell are Canadian CPAs
  • What is an enrolled agent?

    The IRS defines an enrolled agent as follows: “An enrolled agent is a person who has earned the privilege of representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service by either passing a three-part comprehensive IRS test covering individual and business tax returns, or through experience as a former IRS employee. Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards. Individuals who obtain this elite status must adhere to ethical standards and complete 72 hours of continuing education courses every three years.

    Enrolled agents, like attorneys and certified public accountants (CPAs), have unlimited practice rights. This means they are unrestricted as to which taxpayers they can represent, what types of tax matters they can handle, and which IRS offices they can represent clients before.”