In case you aren’t sufficiently bored, irritated, aggravated, etc. with hearing about the Coronavirus, here’s a quick word on how things look from inside the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Remember SARS, the Ice Storm of 1998, or the north east power outage of 2003, just to name a few?

Natural and man-made disasters are actually more frequent than people realize. These things happen. The CRA is used to invoking leniency provisions for compliance in these kinds of situations.

The words “leniency” and “relief” are usually music to a taxpayer’s ears. But of course there are limits. Unfortunately with events like the Coronavirus, there are those that take the leniency provisions to mean that some sort of blanket immunity for historic compliance deficiencies is being offered.

Not the case.

Obviously, compliance delays that relate to a disaster or catastrophic event may be cause for penalty or interest relief. I never cease to be amazed however by the magical thinking of some folks, who get the idea that simply the mention of the Coronavirus will qualify them for relief from historic penalty and/or interest charges. It shouldn’t be news that it won’t.

The CRA deal with relief requests all day, every day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. At this point, if you’re applying for relief for any year other than 2019, (or possibly 2020 next year) citing the Coronavirus isn’t going to help you.

Trust me, if it’s before 2019, the CRA will notice the relief being sought has nothing to do with Coronavirus. You’re not going to slide something by them. They’ve seen this movie before.

Like I said, all day, every day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year.