When it comes to the Canada Revenue Agency and your income tax responsibilities as a Canadian, it continues to astound us how many myths exist with regard to the system and how it works. Unfortunately, far too many Canadians operate under the assumption that tax amnesty exists in Canada, an assumption which can prove disastrous when a tax debt is involved. Today we dispel the myth of tax amnesty by discussing the Taxpayer Relief program.

The CRA Taxpayer Relief program was established to give Canadians relief of penalties and interest on a tax debt. However, the program will not lead to a reduction of your overall debt and the program guidelines ensure that only those with extraordinary circumstances qualify. Assuming that excuses such as “I forgot” or “I didn’t have time” will result in relief will only lead to disappointment.

The CRA Taxpayer Relief program is a formal process. Not only does a formal application have to be made, the taxpayer will also have to provide evidence to support their claim.

Examples of circumstances where a taxpayer can file for CRA Taxpayer Relief are as follows:

  • There were errors or delays made by the CRA
  • A natural or man-made disaster made it impossible for you to file and/or pay on time
  • You are experiencing extreme financial hardship
  • Other extraordinary circumstances have occurred, such as a death in the family

As you can see, a terrible memory, too little time, or the inability to pay a debt, are not included on the list.

As with any CRA program, it is important to note that your application and reasoning may or may not be accepted by the Canada Revenue Agency in any of these circumstances. Just because you feel as though certain circumstances prohibited you from filing or making payments on time, doesn’t mean the CRA will agree. However, those who provide valid proof and are able to show that they would have otherwise made their payments on time are the ones with the greatest chance of having interest and penalties reduced through the CRA Taxpayer Relief program.

If you have filed your taxes and have received your assessment stating a tax debt is owed, and you feel as though you may have grounds to qualify for the Taxpayer Relief program, please get in touch with Tax Solutions Canada today. We can assess your case and see if you are likely to qualify, as well as get the process started. 1 888-868-1400.

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