Imagine the shock you feel and the very real chaos in your life when you find out by complete surprise that your bank account has been frozen. The most common question that people ask is “can my bank freeze my account without notifying me?” The answer is yes! The bank has to comply with the order of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) who has the unquestioned ability to go after anything that you have if they believe that you owe them money. If you owe taxes to CRA, the bank must immediately freeze your account or they will face penalties.
Unfortunately, stories like that of Marion Hill are all too common in Canada. Marion was a diabetic retiree living off a fixed income. She had a small debt with CRA and tried to negotiate a repayment plan with them. The collector with CRA refused to entertain a repayment plan as they often do, and demanded payment in full.
Not too long thereafter and without notice, Marion’s bank account was frozen and her assets were seized by CRA. Only after an exposé conducted by Global News did CRA agree to return the money they seized and work with Marion to get her financial assistance.
You see, Marion got lucky because a national news network agreed to air her story. However, there are thousands of people in Canada just like Marion who are not so lucky. We get calls daily from taxpayers who have had bank accounts frozen, wages garnished, liens placed on their homes, assets frozen and more.
Generally speaking, CRA won’t negotiate repayment plans unless the correct strategy is implemented by the taxpayer (or their advisor). The job of the CRA collector is to collect the taxes now. CRA have to be pushed to agree to a plan. Taxpayers who try to negotiate with CRA directly often find themselves no further ahead – and often far worse off.
A common CRA collection tactic used by CRA when they do not know what you have is to offer you some short term payment plan to get you to disclose your income, employer, assets, bank, etc. However, once that short term period is over, the CRA make unaffordable demands and when you cannot meet those demands they refuse to negotiate further and seize your assets including freezing your bank account. Remember, CRA do not need a Court Order (like other creditors) – they can act aggressively and by surprise.
If you have found yourself owing money to CRA that you cannot pay the way CRA wants to be paid or otherwise being treated unfairly, contact us to find out what you can do to get help without having to convince a national news network to air your dirty laundry.