Our team was comprised of two Master of Accounting (MAcc) students who completed all their co-op terms in audit and a fourth-year Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) student who only completed one of his co-op terms in a tax-related role. With a limited background in tax, we all felt underqualified heading into the case competition since we knew we would be competing against peers with much more relevant tax experience. Although our success in the competition was down to our own research, collaboration, and presentation efforts, we would like to give a special mention to our professor, Julie Robson. Professor Robson reached out to us initially and encouraged all of our team members to compete. Without this nudge from her, it is unlikely that we would’ve signed up and achieved this successful win. Tax is definitely one of those areas that can be intimidating, even to accounting professionals, and so sometimes all that’s needed is a little encouragement!
For this year’s competition, we examined the changes to the alternative minimum tax (AMT) legislation that were proposed in the 2023 federal budget. We researched the history of AMT and the changes made, rationale and effectiveness of the changes, prepared examples, and finally compared Canadian AMT legislation to similar rules in the United States. The case was very interesting for our team since none of us were aware that there was this second way of assessing taxes payable for high-earning individuals and that it had undergone transformations this year.
We were able to leverage some of the concepts from our courses such as the mechanics of calculating personal taxes payable, capital gains, qualified small business corporation (QSBC) shares and employee stock options. Presenting in front of four established tax professionals also provided us with invaluable experience. We were able to learn from these panelists through the Q&A session and also gained relevant practice for our Capstone 1 presentation happening in a few weeks.
In terms of juggling the demands of the competition with coursework, our group was able to balance both priorities well. It goes without saying that pursuing extra-curriculars such as these will demand a bit more of your free time, but we were able to establish new connections amongst our team and build on existing relationships. The $200 per person prize was also a nice cherry on top! Overall, our team is grateful for the opportunity to compete this year.