The tax filing deadline is fast approaching, and for many Canadians that means a tax debt that can eat into your savings account. For most, a tax debt and the resulting CRA penalties and interest are a pain, but that doesn’t stop them from accumulating.

To help those who are fearful of a tax debt prepare for their assessment and payment, here is a breakdown of CRA penalties and interest.

Interest

If, after filing, you owe a tax debt for 2016, the Canada Revenue Agency will charge compound daily interest on that amount starting on May 1. Additionally, they will charge interest on the penalties incurred starting the day after your return is due. The rate of interest charged by the CRA can change every quarter – you can keep track of those rates here: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/fq/ntrst_rts/menu-eng.html.

Please note: if you have a tax debt owing from previous years, the CRA will continue to charge compound daily interest on that amount, and any payments that you make will be applied to those amounts first.

Late-filing penalty

The tax filing deadline for the 2016 tax year is April 30th. This means that anything filed after this date is considered late. If you owe a tax debt, you’ll be penalized for your lateness. How much? If you owe taxes for 2016 and don’t file on time, you can expect a penalty of 5% of your 2016 balance owing, plus 1% of your balance owing for each full month your return is late, to a maximum of 12 months.

Also, if you’re a repeat offender and received a late-filing penalty on your return for 2013, 2014, or 2015 you may be looking at a late-filing penalty for 2016 of 10% of your 2016 balance owing, plus 2% of your 2016 balance owing for each full month your return is late, to a maximum of 20 months.

Repeated failure to report income penalty

If you failed to accurately report your income ($500 or more for a tax year) this will be considered a failure to report income and you can also face a penalty. If you failed to report an amount on your return for 2016 and you also failed to report an amount on your return for 2013, 2014, or 2015, you may find a repeated failure to report income penalty tacked on.

As a result of the proposed changes, the federal and provincial or territorial penalties are each equal to the lesser of:

  • 10% of the amount you failed to report on your return for 2016; and
  • 50% of the difference between the understated tax (and/or overstated credits) related to the amount you failed to report and the amount of tax withheld related to the amount you failed to report.

If you are concerned about what will happen once you file, and are considering skipping the tax filing deadline in the hopes of avoiding CRA penalties and interest, remember that owing money to the CRA is not illegal, but failing to file is!

Call us first. At Tax Solutions Canada we can help you get things straightened out. 1 888-868-1400.

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