Often the Canada Revenue Agency comes across as a rather strict, omnipresent entity that regular Canadians have no access to. When an assessment is received, most accept without question what is contained within, not realizing that avenues do exist for some relief. However, it is important to understand that, if you feel as though your assessment is incorrect, you can file a Notice of Objection and dispute whatever decision the CRA has levied against you.
Keep in mind that there is a time limit. The deadline to file an objection is the latter of the following:
- One year after the date of the return’s filing deadline
- 90 days after the day the notice of (re)assessment
Are you late? Don’t lose hope if you are beyond these deadlines. The CRA may grant you an extension to file your objection under certain conditions.
Once you file your Notice of Objection, the CRA will send you a letter to notify you that your objection has been received. After this you can expect to receive a call from an Appeals Officer – the agent who will be handling your file – but don’t expect it for several months; the current wait time is 6-9 months, but you may be waiting even longer. Once you are contacted, you begin the process of resolving your dispute with the Appeals Officer by presenting your facts, reasons and arguments. The Appeals Officer will then review your position and determine an outcome for your file.
Therein lies the problem with the Notice of Objection process. For example, if you are objecting to a tax debt, one you believe is unfair or incorrect, the CRA may determine that you are correct and remove the debt, may agree with some of your reasoning and reduce the debt, or may reject the objection altogether and keep the tax debt in place.
Why is this a problem? If you have a tax debt, penalties and interest accumulate every day that you fail to pay the debt in full. While the receipt of a Notice of Objection halts the accumulation of all interest and penalties, if you find yourself in the latter two categories once the CRA makes a determination, those penalties and interest will be applied retroactively.
This means that the long waiting period will have resulted in the growth of a significantly larger amount than you initially anticipated.
The Notice of Objection process is a valuable resource for those who feel as though the CRA has made an error – one that in many cases can result is a very favourable outcome. However, as you can see, sometimes that outcome may be more costly than the debt you’re actually objecting to.
At Tax Solutions Canada, we can review your case and help you make the best decision regarding how to deal with the CRA, be it filing an objection or a different solution. Call us today at 1 888-868-1400.