On a fairly consistent basis, I’m met with blank stares when I tell people I am a consultant and writer, specializing in Taxpayer Relief. Most people have no idea what the term means. And why would they? Unless you’ve got a tax problem, chances are you’d have no reason to encounter the Taxpayer Relief legislation. So… what is Taxpayer Relief?

The Income and Excise Tax Acts contain provisions that enable the Canada Revenue Agency to reduce or eliminate penalties and interest, accept late, amend, or revoke certain elections, and refund or reduce amounts payable that are beyond the normal 3 year adjustment period. This last bit can sometimes be a bit confusing for people. Refunding or reducing amounts payable that are beyond the normal 3 year adjustment period, does not mean they’ll arbitrarily reduce or eliminate tax amounts just because you’re tight financially or you’re looking for a deal on an old tax debt. Refunding or reducing an amount payable just means that if you have an old refund that you never collected because of a filing error or non-filing -or- you had legitimate deductions that you never claimed during the adjustment period, you can apply to have these items reviewed for acceptance.

One of the difficulties of talking about Taxpayer Relief is that usually when people hear the words “tax legislation”, their eyes glaze over and they fall into a deep trance. Let’s be honest, tax stuff rarely leads to fascinating conversations. However, in the case of Taxpayer Relief, this particular legislation can in fact be a financial lifesaver. And in point of fact, for folks who don’t love curling up with the Income Tax Act to read all about it, Canada Revenue Agency publishes pretty straightforward, plain English Taxpayer Relief Guidelines that lay out the categories under which people can apply, and the decision-making factors the Agency uses to determine eligibility. The guidelines for tax relief can be found on the CRA Website.

If you have a lot of money at stake, consider getting expert advice on how to get penalties and interest reduced. We can help! Contact us today.