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If you’ve been assessed a tax debt, and penalties and interest have been applied to this debt, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed and unsure about how to approach the situation. The Taxpayer Relief Program is one that gives the CRA the ability to grant relief from penalties or interest on a tax debt when a taxpayer demonstrates good reason or need, and thus it is an important means by which you may be able to ease some of that burden.

Taxpayer relief may be granted when the following types of situations prevented a taxpayer from meeting their tax obligations:

  • Extraordinary circumstances: natural or man-made disasters, such as a flood or fire, serious illness or accident, or serious emotional or mental distress, such as a death in the immediate family, are all examples of this.
  • Inability to pay or financial hardship: difficulty due to job loss or payments which would inhibit the taxpayer’s ability to pay for basic necessities.
  • Other circumstances: often made at discretion of agent reviewing the file.

For the purpose of this blog, we are most interested in the situation related to actions on behalf of the CRA. While the other three are dependent largely upon you, you do have options if you believe the CRA is the reason for your delays. Here are a few examples:

  • Processing delays. If processing delays resulted in you not being informed about a tax debt within a reasonable amount of time, this could be grounds for relief.
  • Did the CRA make a mistake on documentation sent to you which then resulted in you filing incorrectly? These mistakes could also be grounds for taxpayer relief.
  • Delays in providing information. If a delay in providing you information resulted in you not being able to meet your obligations within a reasonable amount of time, this could be grounds for relief.
  • Undue delays in resolving an objection or an appeal, or in completing an audit. When it comes to reviewing appeals, objections or any cases under review, the CRA takes months – sometimes years – to make decisions, and this could be grounds for taxpayer relief.

If you’ve read through these situations and believe that your own circumstances reflect the actions above, applying for relief of interest and penalties through the Taxpayer Relief Program may be an option.

At Tax Solutions Canada, we can help you navigate the process to help ensure your greatest chances for success. Please contact us today by calling 1-888-868-1400.