If you’ve ever felt mistreated, threatened or intimidated by the Canada Revenue Agency, you are not alone. This federal institution has powers which are vast and far reaching, and often their tactics can seem less than just, not to mention aggressive. However, the CRA can’t just act as it chooses, and two recent court rulings have confirmed this. The CRA has a duty of care when it comes to taxpayers.
As a recent Financial Post article notes, “two appellate court rulings confirm that the Canada Revenue Agency is not at liberty to intimidate and threaten taxpayers and must take appropriate care in how it treats them.” There are definite limitations regarding how far agents can go when dealing with taxpayers – and overstepping those bounds can lead to court action.
One case in particular which worked to affirm the CRA’s duty of care is that of Irvin Leroux, a British Columbia businessman and his 19-year fight with the CRA. Leroux claimed the CRA wrongfully imposed tax assessments on him and attempted to collect over $1 million, including interest and penalties. While conducting its audit, the CRA took original documents without authorization from Leroux, shredded them accidentally, and then asked him to provide further documentation to replace the shredded items.
An additional case examined in the same article was regarding the responsibilities of the CRA with regard to warning investors about nefarious tax shelters. The Federal Court of Appeal found that the CRA did not have a specific duty to warn investors about the potential dangers of tax shelters — even when cause for concern about particular ones exists. Still, the general outlines regarding duty of care exist.
If you feel as though you are being threatened or pressured, or incorrectly assessed, by the CRA, know that you have rights as a taxpayer and can appeal/object to such treatment.
For more about dealing with the Canada Revenue Agency when you feel duty of care is not being delivered, please contact Tax Solutions Canada today by calling 1-888-868-1400.