Power is a funny thing.
Pretty much everyone wants it at some point in their life.
Most of the people who have it do not know how to use it properly.
To be honest, few will ever get it.
The most important thing to know about power is that it is most successful when used in two ways; either by declaring yourself King and having your cronies keep everyone else at bay by whatever means possible, or secondly by taking the time to get key players on your side and using your network to help you maintain power but all along helping those around you learn and grow, and they help everyone else under them do the same.
Which model do you think is most often associated with government tax collections agencies?
Having spent a lot of time working at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in the collections and enforcement division and being responsible for training collections, enforcement and audit staff there I can honestly say not as many staff there who feel you have to do what they say no matter the consequences as you would think.
It is true that there are employees of the CRA who feel that being in a position of power allows them to do things, say things and act in a manner which is improper or unjustified. There are also staff there who take their positions of power to a whole new level and they let their egos control their decision-making process which means they wield power in order to realize an outcome in their best interest, not yours.
I have seen how power corrupts and the result is never easy to correct.
The CRA has a lot of power.
Throughout my decade of employment at the Canada Revenue Agency I was surprised with how much power the Agency has and how many taxpayers feared this power. I could hear collection officers tell taxpayers that they could clean out their bank accounts like “this!” (Insert snapping of fingers sound here), which is true, but also not true. I learned to be subtle in my use of my apparent super-powers and the way I used my power was to visit my clients and by always making sure that when sitting with a taxpayer / representative that my chair was at its highest so that I would be looking down at them. It was all I needed when dealing with the career tax evaders because it worked, but it was a tactic not necessary when dealing with 99% of the people I met with.
However, we already know that the CRA has a lot of power and in most cases before they use it, they are going to let you know first by phone, letter or a visit to your home or place of employment. Once the CRA has decided they need to use their powers they are bound by the guidelines set out in the Income Tax Act and Excise Tax Act and by policies and procedures set out in their tax office. The extent to which they use their powers is either their decision or it is influenced by their team leader or manager.
Once the CRA starts using their powers, your ability to control the outcome diminishes greatly. What you can control, is how much power you will ALLOW the CRA to use against you.
This is done by being proactive – reading notices, asking questions and keeping all your paperwork in one spot where you can access it once it is asked for. But if you are past that point, or if it is just not possible, then you can take power back by enlisting the help of people who know the CRA policies, procedures and most importantly, their techniques and tactics.
If the CRA knew they were dealing with someone who knew more about their job, more about their techniques and more about how quickly they need to take an action which they claim is urgent, then the playing field is changed forever.
Having someone there to look after your best interests, who will tell you what the best plan of action for you, and you only, then taking that plan to the CRA and telling them the same is the best way to always level the playing field. Negotiating is always easier when you know more than your opponent.
So please, if you have a tax problem, old or new, and you have been spinning your wheels with the CRA, the IRS, the MRQ, WSIB or the CRTC, don’t let it continue any longer. Come visit inTAXicating.ca, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and take advantage of our free consultation to leave how to put these issues behind you once and for all.
Have you ever been put in a position where you accepted something which was not in your best interests because the other side had all the power?
Happy to read your comments below.