This article is a series highlighting the graduating businesses from the Business Advisory Centre’s Starter Company Plus program. This program has been a key stepping-stone for businesses and entrepreneurs looking to grow in the region and since 2017 has resulted in the creation of 74 startups and supported 47 business expansions. The program has also seen the opening of 22 brick-and-mortar locations in the region, and has created 141 jobs in the local community.
Locally owned and operated by Lyle Saunders, Peterborough Disability Tax Services (PtboDTS.ca) office is at 175 George St N – Office #9; opened in February 2019 within the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. Specializing in the Disability Tax Credit to individuals and caregivers, to not only assist in applications and challenges but also to adjust approved tax credits beyond CRA’s automatic adjustments. Lyle also runs Saunders Tax Service (c/o PtboDTS.ca) that provides a yearly tax season service to all Peterborough and surrounding households; his motto for this service is “Simple Taxes at a Simple Price”.
- What was the Starter Company Plus experience like for you?
It was a great experience. Revisiting my Business Plan to not only add for payroll and insurance, but also to take a look at business growth opportunities and the risks during these uncertain times. Each session from this program had a guest speaker with a ton of knowledge and experience in their field, it was a great resource and education opportunity.
- Where did the idea for Peterborough Disability Tax Services come from?
Shortly after my oldest son was born, I started doing taxes seasonally with H&R Block (on top of my 40hour full-time Retail job) to earn some extra income. My oldest son was diagnosed at 5 Counties with Global Delay at the age of 5, and at 8 finally received the diagnosis of Autism (ASD). I knew of the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), but couldn’t find a local business to help with the ‘do’s and don’ts’ regarding the application and tax adjustments. So I spear-headed on my own and found numerous flaws within the CRA process regarding the DTC. I personally received over $11K after putting in an adjustment regarding (still current) flawed CRA automatic adjustment policy. I’ve always wanted to own my own business, but wondered how I could do a tax business yearly; beyond just the 3-month season. Once I went through the DTC process, the light-bulb went off and “see a need: fill a need” came to me and I made the decision to start up my business. Being a parent of a child with special needs/disabilities, you need to find out a lot of resources on your own and can feel like it’s an uphill battle getting all the resources you need to better your child’s quality of life and push for the best development opportunities for them. Even though I specialize in taxes, I love networking and educating myself on other resources and groups within Peterborough, so I can pass on my knowledge to other families in a similar situation as my household’s.
- What are your hopes for the business in the next 3 years?
My hopes are to assist not only parents and caregivers regarding maximizing their tax adjustments and credits, but to be also a Networking Resource for their over-all needs. The DTC is a great starting point for getting your financial tax credits and adjustments. Once you receive your tax returns/adjustments I encourage my clients to reach out to a Financial Advisor to maximize their savings opportunities, such as a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) or Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). I also network with other organizations such as Tri-Counties, Community Living and Heads UP for Inclusion (HUI) because it helps grow their quality of life, and opens opportunities for social inclusion and self-value/growth. Since I see my clients yearly, I get a lot of questions and inquiries from my clients regarding legal advice (Wills, Power of Attorney, Guardianship, etc) and other financial strategies, so I’d like to expand and strengthen my networking circle on these points in the near future. Plus I’d like to get into Bookkeeping and Payroll, with the proper education and resources.
- Has it been difficult launching a new business during the pandemic?
During the Pandemic, my business has been a two-sided coin regarding increase and decrease in clients. Due to the extended tax-season and previous marketing plans, I doubled my tax season clients. However regarding our DTC clients, due to the lockdown and lack of networking opportunities (guest speaker, presentations, etc) there was a sharp decline. So looking ahead at 2021 I knew I needed to hire staff beyond myself to ensure client expectations, efficiency and business growth. This is why I enrolled in the PKED Starter Company Plus program as an Expanding of Existing Business.
- What has the response in the community been since you launched?
Since I started my business, I have had some amazing networking opportunities. Not only seeing some other great start-ups within Peterborough but also the number of helpful organizations and groups within the City of Peterborough and surrounding area. Since 2018 my business has been a supporter and team sponsor of the Peterborough Challenger’s Baseball Team. In 2019, I became the Treasurer on the Board of Directors of Heads Up for Inclusion. As for my clients, in 2019 alone I received over $240K for my DTC clients which almost half of that amount was awarded due to adjustments made beyond CRA’s automatic adjustments.
- What is your favourite thing about living and working in Peterborough & the Kawarthas?
I’ve been in love with Peterborough and its surrounding landscape since moving as a child in the early 90’s from Etobicoke; from the concrete jungle to the endless outdoors and lakes. I took the train to visit family in Cavan and now my office is within the city’s old Train Station; how cool is that?! When I think of what’s my favourite thing about Peterborough, I automatically think of Peterborough Musicfest. From my teenaged years watching, to selling 50/50 tickets during college and I even went on stage with Fred Anderson when he asked me to help him with a promotional skit. Most recently, last Musicfest (2019) I won tickets to take my oldest son backstage to meet Thunderstruck (shout out to Grady’s Feet Essentials Ltd.). That’s an experience we’ll never forget.
After this pandemic, I know there will be a huge response from the business community to help invest and sponsor community events in our city. It’s been a hard year, but events like these are more appreciated than ever before. That’s what I’m looking forward to with the Family post-COVID.