Tax Season Wrap Up Is In Full Bloom

By Grant T. Smith

tax In the middle of March, as I walk across my patio to the carport, the harbinger of spring is the smell of the hyacinths in the air. My approach causes the light over the door to shatter the darkness, illuminating the unopened buds on my treasured Magnolia tree. At 5:30 a.m. the highway is quiet. I consistently notice the wretched beauty of a tree as I pass Willingdon. I haven’t seen it in the light to know if it is white or pink.


I want to tell you about our team. The 40 odd young people (emphasis on odd) that I worked with this spring, while preparing your tax returns. By 8:00 a.m. most of our offices are bustling with sorting through the discombobulated collections of documents that flood through our doors. If you’ve ever watched the stream of School of Hogwarts Letters that arrive at the home of Harry Potter’s aunt you will have some sense of the volume that we see daily in April.


Papers are sorted, unnecessary documents pushed to the side and everything is scanned, so that our team of preparers can assemble the tax returns. Their days run regularly to 9:00 p.m., weekends include at least one day at the office. It’s like a festival of activity and like every great festival at the centre of it was… food.


The coffee pot is on every day by 6:30 a.m. and usually the people arriving an hour later start the second pot, or stumble through the door with their Starbucks in hand. At the height of the season, by the second week of April, there is a counter in each office strewn with fresh fruit (delivered weekly). In the Burnaby office, there are cookies or wagon wheels; whereas Vancouver seems to focus on gummy bears and jujubes. My brief trips to Surrey suggested they have a preference for savoury snacks and North Vancouver is addicted to jellybeans, primarily because of Roger Nickel and his passion for providing them to his clients. My eclectic nature, such as it is, means that I am prepared to indulge in each office I visit, and the selection encourages me to visit often.


For lunch people are left to their own devices. By mid-afternoon when the infantry is fading there is often a coffee run or fruit smoothie run to provide that mid-afternoon jolt.


However, it is in the evenings where we truly shine. Dinner is provided when people work late and the menu is constantly changing:

  • Sushi
  • Burgers
  • Shawarma
  • Freshii
  • Pizza
  • Subway sandwiches
  • Pho
  • Chicken teriyaki
  • Smak
  • and on, and on, and on


With the food, with the beverages, there is always laughter and camaraderie. The offices this year are full of people working harder than I have ever seen accountants work before and the bridges from office to office are as strong as the bridges that join our communities.  At our celebration on April 30, I told our staff that the star of the show this season was the team. I want to share that message with you, for I am incredibly proud of the way our team supported over 1,600 people this year and always with your best interests at heart.


By the end of April, as I make that daily 5:30 a.m. journey from my house to my carport, the hyacinths have long since faded and the Magnolia petals are strewn about.  I take note, on April 30, it is still dark, but it is a darkness that knows that light is approaching. It has been an amazing spring in the offices of Clearline, but one of the casualties is that I’ve had little daylight in which to enjoy my Magnolia in full bloom.