A Worry-Free Approach to a Taxing Task
Elly Fenton is the warm and amiable owner of Robel Income Tax Service. We sat down to talk on the first day the Robel office resumed regular hours of operation to begin processing 2015 personal tax forms. While many people would appear under pressure with volumes of work looming, she was relaxed and ready to face the work with gusto.
She began her career as a nurse in Australia and specialized in infant care. When she moved to Vancouver in 1974 she shifted to working at daycare centres and also focussed her attention on raising her two daughters.
Her soft Australian accent has been diluted by her years spent in Canada but Fenton’s Aussie humour shines through.
When her husband passed away she took an H&R Block taxation preparation course. Subsequently, she worked with Richmond Savings Credit Union (known today as Coast Capital Savings).
Fenton became a tax practitioner in 1993 and started Robel Income Tax Service. In February 2013 she moved her home-based business to its present Chatham Street storefront. She says this was a very wise decision as her business has benefited greatly from being in the heart of Steveston village.
From mid-February through to early May the small office is kept hopping. Fenton and her four staff members (two preparers, one checker and receptionist) can be found working long days as they process an impressive number of returns that require filing by the April 30 deadline. Last year Robel completed 1,752 income tax returns with similar numbers expected this year.
Fenton gives accolades to her hard working staff. She says, “It’s a team effort to get through it all from beginning to end.”
The secret to a successful business is a loyal and established client base. She is proud to report that Robel serves over 1,500 clients and 148 of those individuals have been with her since she began the business. While many of her clients are locals, she also serves a number of long standing customers from Surrey, Harrison, Courtenay and Comox via email, fax and mail.
While the whirlwind of Robel’s tax preparation activity is seasonal, Fenton works year round as some people file their taxes late and there are reassessments to be managed. The office is open by appointment during these months.
If you are having your taxes prepared by the pros at Robel there are a few things to be aware of. The fee structure for basic returns is based on the number of slips and benefits that require filing. Electronic filing is included in the price and promises you a faster refund. Robel is also able to set up direct deposit for clients, now mandatory with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Even if you have little or no income, you should file your income tax and benefit return, as you may be eligible for credits and benefits. Filing a return is the key to getting your BC and GST tax credits and the Canada child tax benefit, among others.
Tip: Wait until you have received all of your slips (T3, T4, investments etc.) before dropping documents off at Robel’s office.
When the CRA introduced online filing Fenton thought she would lose business but that did not transpire. She points out some people get frustrated or simply prefer not to do the job and leave it to a tax practitioner. In addition, if you are going it alone you need to purchase your own tax software and some clients prefer to save themselves this expense.
Fenton finds taxation time very exciting, as she is always happy to see familiar faces and catch up with people. She is extremely fond of Steveston and enjoys shopping locally and getting to know other business owners.
In addition to her work, she volunteers once a week at SOS Children’s Village thrift shop on Moncton Street. Assisting this charity is close to her heart as Fenton was a foster parent for eight years. She also makes patchwork quilts for the society to sell.
She is an avid traveller and enjoys setting off for new destinations. This year she is looking forward to exploring China.
Fenton has realized her dream and celebrates her extremely satisfying career. At the end of the day she says, “It’s all about doing a good job for our clients.”
Robel Income Tax Service
105-3631 Chatham St
Richmond BC V7E 3A5