The Canada Revenue Agency Collections Officers are Back in Business: and they’re coming for you!

October is here, and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) have been given the green light from the Federal government to collect money.

As a result, Collections, Audit and Appeals are all back in business and they are looking for you!

The CRA’s Collections department are officially back at work this week, able to make collections calls, send collections letters and find money. If you owe money to the CRA, or if you have any outstanding returns owing to the CRA, you can expect to hear from Collections.

Thanks in part to the massive amount of money that this Federal government gave away during the COVID pandemic, you can also expect to be contacted by an auditor, if you received any of those benefits.

If you do hear from the CRA, you might want to act fast. They have been given the orders to act fast, and collect / recover as much money as they can in the quickest manner. That means you can expect a call for a verification audit, and before the phone connection terminates, a letter will be on it’s way, giving you a week or 2 to respond and provide information. If you miss that deadline, your case will be closed, and your file passed along to collections.

If you received any government benefits via Direct Deposit, then the CRA already has your banking information which means once the amount is deemed collectible, they can (and will) just take it from your bank account.

It will be that fast.

Additionally, if you were behind on compliance with the CRA (haven’t filed returns up to date), and you failed to get those done while self-isolating, don’t expect the Collections group to have any mercy on you. You had “plenty” of time to get that done. No excuse or explanation is going to buy you more time.

If you incurred new tax debts, and haven’t made arrangements, or had previous arrears and didn’t make arrears payments while interest rates were at 0%, you have no excuse, in the eyes of the CRA, as to why you still have a balance, or are unable to pay.

The 0% interest rate on balances owing is gone, and the CRA have been given the marching orders from above to collect, collect, collect.

If you need help with anything CRA related, do not hesitate to contact us for assistance, at info@intaxicating.ca

Auditor General Report Points Out The Obvious: CRA takes too long to resolve tax objections.

In some not-news of the day, the Federal Auditor General has found that the federal government takes months — sometimes years — to make decisions, costing Canadians time and money when it comes to resolving tax disputes.

Audits of the Canada Revenue Agency unveiled exceedingly long delays which fall short of public expectations in an era of advanced technology and instant communications.  He noted that departments, like the CRA, assess the time it takes to make decisions against their own internal benchmarks, giving little heed to what the taxpayers they serve might consider a timely decision.

The Canada Revenue Agency often leaves taxpayers waiting for months after they file formal objections to their tax assessments.  Appeals officers seeking help from other parts of the agency often wait a year or more.

Over the last 10 fiscal years, the inventory of outstanding cases at the CRA grew by 171%, while the number of employees dedicated to resolving them grew by only 14%, the audit found. The backlog of unresolved cases as of March 31 represented more than $18 billion in federal taxes, the audit said.

But the solution here is not necessarily to grow the public service, but rather a review of the internal policies and how the union impacts the employees ability to do their jobs might need to be reviewed and revamped.

I remember when I started working in the CRA and was “advised” that I should be working 7 accounts per day.  I can tell you this, when you begin your day at 7:15, and are completed your work by 8:30 there is only so much coffee you can drink per day.  I wound up holding several inventories of accounts, and assisting my teammates in order to keep busy.

Eventually, as rules loosened, I was in charger of a collections / compliance team and we were working upwards of 90 accounts per day each which made such a significant dent in the total amounts coming into collections that they disbanded the team.

Our office had to take on work from other tax offices in order to have enough work for each employee and as stay left, took on other positions outside of collections or took leaves they were not replaced.  Our tax office at 50% less staff was resolving 400% more accounts…

But like everything else in life, there was a downturn, contracts up for renegotiation, people moved on (like myself) and now the Auditor General reports there are too many accounts which cannot be handled at current staffing levels.

Ahhh, government.