Welcome to inTAXicating. This blog is written by a former CRA Employee of the Year who worked in, managed and trained CRA's Collections Department for almost 11-years. Currently, my firm provides answers, information, support and solutions for everything CRA related, including but not limited to; Collections, Enforcement, Audits, Liens, Back-Filing, Assessments, Director's Liability, s160 Assessments, Taxpayer Relief, Voluntary Disclosure, Bankruptcies, Proposals, Mortgages and diagnosing and solving the most complex of tax problems. Contact us for a free consultation! Should you need to hire us, you will find us to be Experienced, Honest and On Your Side. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let's begin solving your tax problems together!
If you live in Southern Ontario, you are in the middle of a heat wave. Summer came back bigger, badder, stronger than it had all summer, and with humidex readings in the low 40’s, all the talk is about cooling off and extending the cottage season.
And there is nothing wrong with it.
But as the calendar creeps towards October, we enter the last quarter of the year and this is traditionally the best time of year to finally seek resolution on that nagging Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) tax problem.
The tax problem that causes you so much stress that you cannot open the brown envelopes from the CRA.
The tax problem which resulted in the CRA freezing your bank account or garnishing your wages.
That nagging tax issue which prompted the CRA to register a lien against your property.
The one that prevents you from having a full night’s sleep.
Yes, that one.
Well worry no more because help is here.
No matter how big, or small, complex or simple, we have seen them all, and resolved them all. At the very least, after a meeting with us, you will understand the truth behind your tax problem – whether you have a chance of having it overturned or whether you actually are on the hook for the balance.
After a meeting with us, you can finally start on the pathway to resolving your tax troubles and no longer worry that when you try to use your debit card it might not work because the CRA froze your bank account and withdrew all of the funds.
I came across this article from the Montreal Gazette;
I strongly recommend that you take the time to read it. It is brief, but very informative as it tells the story that I have been trying to tell for the past 20-plus years! There is that there is a significant percentage of, not just Quebecers, but Canadians who leaving money on the table because they don’t understand the tax system, according to a report released by the C.D. Howe Institute last week.
The report — which bases many of its conclusions on a survey of 1,000 Quebecers — suggests that lack of knowledge is one of the reasons many people don’t take advantage of credits and savings vehicles, like RRSPs, which could reduce their tax burden.
“People might be missing out on benefits that they’re entitled to,” said Antoine Genest-Grégoire, a tax policy researcher at the Université de Sherbrooke and one of the authors of the report.
“It can take various forms, people can simply not know about the existence of the credit … sometimes, they know it exists but they don’t know how to use it or they find it too complicated.”
Survey participants were asked a series of questions about how the tax system works and the average score was just 55%.
It wasn’t just tax credits that left participants stumped. Respondents scored poorly on questions about progressivity — the idea that people with higher incomes pay a higher tax rate, a core principle of the Canadian income tax system.
While almost 90% of respondents knew that income tax rates differ based on how much people make, many struggled with the concept of bracketing — when different segments of an individual’s income are taxed at different rates.
“We hear a lot of people thinking that once you reach the top income brackets, you essentially pay close to 50% of your income in taxes,” Genest-Grégoire says, when in reality, it’s only the income above the cut-off for the highest tax bracket that’s taxed at the highest tax rate.
Only 26% of survey respondents were able to answer a question about that correctly.
While survey respondents generally had a good sense of whether they pay sales tax on everyday purchases, like groceries, prepared food and clothing, there were some exceptions.
For example, Quebec provincial sales tax doesn’t apply to books, a decision made to encourage literacy and support book publishers in the province. Only 21% of survey respondents knew that.
The result, Genest-Grégoire said, is that the public policy objectives of the tax exemption are unlikely to be realized.
The lack of tax literacy doesn’t just affect individuals pocketbooks, Genest-Grégoire said.
“People who don’t understand taxes tend to have lower trust in the tax system. The Canadian tax system, even though you’re obligated by law to produce a tax return, works on trust. The government doesn’t audit everyone,” he said. This lack of trust “makes tax avoidance, tax evasion more probable.”
Genest-Grégoire said the provincial and federal revenue agencies have taken steps to put more information online, but the system itself remains complex. One solution would be to make benefits that are currently provided through the tax system more accessible and for government to automatically enrol people, as is already the case with many benefits for children.
Warren Orlans, a former CRA Collections Employee turned Taxpayer Advocate has been saying for over a decade that the CRA needs to continue putting out information on the Internet, however it needs to be available in many different formats in order to be most effectively accessed by Canadians everywhere. “Not everyone learns the same way, so having a concept explained in text, showing steps, and possibly with an example and even with little videos would expose the greatest number of Canadians to the message at once.”
“Every day, I deal with Canadian taxpayers and corporations of all sizes as they try to understand and interpret the CRA. My 11-year’s experience at the CRA and 10-years outside the CRA have afforded me the ability to diagnose and resolve even the most complex of tax matters”, Orlans said.
If you need help understanding the CRA, or interpreting their letters or actions, contact the best, at inTAXicating. Email: info@inTAXicating.ca. Or call us at 416.833.1581.
Happy Canada Day, Canada. You don’t look a day over 150-years-old!
There are so many things to be thankful of this Canada Day, beginning with Tim Horton’s and hockey and ending with socialized medicine and peace. But in between there is a whole lot of taxation. Taxes you pay which go to build new arenas, which pay for medicine, which support the troops who keep us safe, and fund programs which integrates youth of all backgrounds, races, religions and income levels together in order to keep violence as low as possible.
These are the taxes we cannot avoid paying – unless we stop spending – and they are the consumption taxes (GST/HST), gas tax, liquor tax, and many more, and there are taxes on wealth, like personal income tax, as well as Corporate taxes. There are also payroll taxes and any other fee, levy or revenue tool (all taxes but given a different name).
For the most part, these taxes are unavoidable, and as Canadians we pay them knowing that money goes back into the economy and helps people.
What I do not understand, however, is why people pay more taxes than they are required to pay, or can afford to pay, and these taxes are viewed by people in the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as a “stupid” or “lazy” tax and what they are referring to are penalties and interest.
It is my belief that no one should pay any penalties or interest. Ever. Why give the CRA more money than they are seeking through the Income Tax Act or the Excise Tax Act.
If you work with an accountant or tax preparer, there should be no reason for late filings or late remittances, or for missing out on key deductions because that representative should know you, and the industry you work in, and be able to keep you current and free of penalties and interest.
But there are many legitimate reasons why people file late, and incur penalties and watch interest accrue on their tax accounts, and these people are then hammered by the CRA and need help, which is why I created inTAXicating. My goal here is to help you get out of the troubles that you have gotten into and by help, I mean rehabilitate you and get you current on your filings, help you reduce your balance owing, apply for taxpayer relief (fairness) if it applies to you, and get you on a remitting and reporting schedule which ensures you are never late again.
Too many firms out there have watered down the “Tax Solution” process to the point where you pay them a ton of money, they “fix” your issue and then another one pops up, all because they are experts in taking money and not experts in resolving CRA debt issues.
The best part about working with inTAXicating is having the expertise where you need it. If your problem is with collections or enforcement then you need the person who worked in that area, and trained and managed the collectors and who can tell you the CRA’s next move before they can.
Being audited? Recently assessed? Don’t understand a letter? Balance looks too high?
There is no tax situation too scary, or too difficult to figure out. Business taxes, personal taxes, GST/HST, payroll, T2’s, provincial, federal, liens, RTP’s, appeals, VDP… We’ve seen it all, handled it all, and have been successful with it all.
Just because it’s July 1st and summertime doesn’t mean the CRA stops working too. In fact, it’s the opposite. With more time on their hands, the CRA’s collections staff have the time to thoroughly research tax files which have balances on them to see what they can do to ge the account paid in full.
My experience working in the CRA for almost 11-years, tells me that the majority of in depth investigations occurs during the summer months.
Make summertime the best time to resolve that nagging tax problem.
If you have a tax problem, we have a tax solution.
The following are tips to keep the CRA’s collections department happy.
This list in not fully inclusive of everything that you can do because you cannot send them gifts, they have to reject or toss them, and if you do their work for them – they might like that for a bit – until there are no more accounts, and then they will have no more work to do, and then no job.
So here are a few tips to keep CRA happy…
Communicate, communicate, communicate. If they have to contact you, they’re already angry.
Don’t be a jerk on the phone to them. Everything you say goes into a permanent diary and that diary is summarized semi-annually. You don’t want anyone who accesses your account to think you’re a jerk
Don’t accuse them of being out to get you… They likely have 400-500 accounts and their goal is to collect some, write some off and let the others pay or go bankrupt. Just show them some progress on any of those fronts and you’ll be in much better standing.
Ask for the best and lowest settlement offer. The CRA does NOT do that unless it is through insolvency or a formal proposal in bankruptcy. The IRS settles debts, but this is not the IRS… The CRA is WAY better!
If you enter into a payment arrangement, ensure there are sufficient funds in the account to pay the cheques. If a cheque is returned NSF (not sufficient funds), then the CRA collections officer will take immediate collection actions and getting those Requirements to Pay removed can be next to impossible.
Keep current!!! Whether during the period of a payment arrangement, or just through discussions with the CRA make sure you are up-to-date on all filings and payments (including GST/HST, income tax, payroll taxes, etc). If you fail to remain current, the CRA can – and likely will – end the payment arrangement and pressure you for more.
Understand that the CRA is not your bank, and treat them that way. At a bank, you are earning credit, but at the CRA, in collections, you are paying 10% interest compounding daily… It’s not in your best interest to take your time re-paying them.
If you have nothing to hide (and even if you do have something to hide), be honest with the CRA collections officer. Things you say may cause the CRA collections officer to become concerned.
Provide the information that is requested by the CRA collections officer. If the CRA collections officer trusts you, he/she will be more likely to exercise discretion before pressing confirm on that Requirement To Pay.
Just wanted to drop a quick note to all of you who called, emailed and hit me up on the blog or on social media that we’re back to work and trying to get to everyone as soon as possible.
If anyone has an urgent matter, please send an email to email@example.com, in the subject line, please write “urgent” and that will be the top priority.
For new readers of this blog or who are seeing this blog through our website, here is what you need to know!
inTAXicating is a Canadian tax consulting business which provides solutions to Canadian Tax problems predominantly related to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), but not limited to the CRA.
With over 20-years experience in Canadian Tax (throw in some IRS tax, FATCA, Revenu Quebec, Cross-border matters and WSIB) combined with over 10-years working in the CRA in their collections division, you have the experience and expertise that no-one else can boast to have.
Our model is simple! Give you the truth based on the facts.
You get a free consultation and if it is determined that you can handle it best, or if your questions are quickly answered, then you are on your way.
If there are more complex matters which may eventually require greater expertise, then you have the option to handle you tax matters up to that point and then hand it over, or you may wish to hand it over right away…
It’s your taxes and you need to know what is being done and how to properly handle them going forward.
There are no magical cures for tax problems which took years and years to grow, so if anyone promises you a magic bullet, proceed with caution.
inTAXicating also believes that everyone who earns money needs to pay their taxes, however, they should pay what they owe, and in circumstances where there is no ability to pay, the government should understand that and give you a break.
No questions are bad questions.
I do not believe in the “natural person” being exempt from taxes because the CRA does not believe it, but I have spoken to many, many “de-taxers” and enjoy the conversations and helping them through the CRA’s prosecutions.
We specialize in all matters relating to CRA collections, specifically Directors Liability, Taxpayers Relief, s160 assessments, liens, and garnishments, RTP’s.
We provide audit representation, accounting (through a CA), as well as presenting the options to solve all tax matters including the ugliest and most complex tax matters. The messier the better!
In short, we want to help.
15 minute Consultation / responding to questions via email – free
Meeting – $250 plus HST (one hour meeting – detailed summary and recommended plan of action included)
Engagement – either hourly @ $250/hour or a fixed fee depending on the complexity and amount of work involved.
Accounting – best rates possible also related to the amount of work involved.
We try to stick to this model as best as humanly possible because it’s your money and you work hard for it, so you should not have to throw it away.
If you are fighting a losing battle, find your most successful competitor and do what they do!
If you are one of the many people who have paid tens of thousands of dollars to a prominent tax lawyer because they told you a lawyer was absolutely required to save you from the “taxman,” you are going to be really disappointed to learn the firm itself no longer feels that way.
As a result of a drawn-out and very public dispute with the Law Society of Upper Canada over their retention of client retainer fees to keep them from the reach of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), DioGuardi Tax Law has been forced to reinvent themselves into our firm, inTAXicating, by saying when people owe tax to the Canada Revenue Agency, a lawyer is no longer the most effective choice for ending the problem.
From their press release, Philippe DioGuardi is reported to have said “People who owe tax are vulnerable to the Canada Revenue Agency’s aggressive collection tactics. They need fast and affordable ways to fix their tax trouble before the CRA comes after them with bank and wage garnishments or liens against their home and other property.”
Something I have been saying for the past 10 years!
In an effort to possibly save their business, the press release goes on to explain that hiring lawyers for CRA collections matters is time-consuming (read: expensive for clients) and slow: “They know what I know about fighting the CRA. And because they’re not lawyers, they can work more quickly to end people’s tax debt trouble for less than a lawyer would charge. Frankly, when the trouble is that you owe tax, you don’t need the hassle of hiring a lawyer to fix it.”
Unfortunately, the aggressive negotiation tactics DioGuardi’s firm is known for and which the CRA despises are still at the centre of their campaign. They also boast a network of resources to assist people who need help with financing, and to slide people into bankruptcy when they cannot get financing.
DioGuardi’s previous radio advertising warned Canadians against searching for Tax Solutions on the Internet (so you will not find answers or firms like inTAXicating) and against so-called Tax Solutions firms, which are really Bankruptcy firms offering to “help” you with your tax debt by plunging you into bankruptcy after drawing out your tax file to incur more fees.
So inTAXicating now has a little competition … kind of … in the field of tax solutions and assistance with CRA issues. You can either choose 17 years of tax experience – 11 of which were spent recently working in and managing CRA collections – or you can choose a firm which used to believe only lawyers can solve tax problems, but now tells you lawyers are not needed to solve tax problems, and oh, hey, they also used to work somewhere in the CRA 25 years ago.
Once this model wears out, watch for them to morph into Tax “Brokers” so they can do the work, and get paid after the fact, all in an effort to “protect” your money from the “Tax Man”. It’s all the same everything, just dressed up in different clothing.
For us, nothing has changed.
If you have a tax question, issue, lien, or concern with the CRA, or RST, or need help regarding an audit or Taxpayer Relief, or just want to ask a tax question, then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and you will have your answers. If you need to hire us, we’ll tell you. If you can handle it yourself but need a little guidance, we will tell you.
Our reputation is as important as your reputation.
Every couple of days I receive a call from a taxpayer or corporation regarding huge sums of money they have paid to other so-called “tax solution” firms, without any apparent movement or resolution of their file. Usually these stories involve secrecy and the requirement for additional funds in order to bring the file to a close.
Would you go to a dentist who treated you like that?
Or have your vehicle repaired at a shop where you were not even sure they had any mechanics there?
When dealing with tax-related matters there should be no secrecy. There should be questioning whether work was done or not and there certainly should not be doubt that the job was not completed.
Unfortunately this happens more and more.
The representation you chose, when under fire by, not just by the CRA, but all areas of government, like the WSIB, RST, or CRTC, is far more important than you could possibly imagine. Especially in light of the fact that the CRA, for example, keeps a permanent diary record of your conversations and their attempts to resolve your tax file. They also carry forward an account summary every 6-months, so in the instance where an account has been transferred to another collector, that new collector will know within minutes how the CRA wants to treat you and / or your representative.
Lie to them.
Call them names, like the “taxman”.
It’s all there and its used against you… Forever.
Case in point:
A couple of years ago I met a couple of directors of a corporation who booked a 2-hour meeting with me for only $500 plus HST. They had come with the intention of having me assist them in negotiation with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) who were in the process of raising a Director’s Liability Assessment against them the unpaid debts of the Corporation they operated. They could not afford to pay the balance in full and were worried the CRA would take their house.
These directors had also heard about a way to reduce penalties and / or interest and they wanted more information.
They had already met with 2 other tax solution firms and one of them had fed the CRA with a sob story which the CRA did not buy, and after failing to return calls, and have any meaningful conversation with the CRA, disappeared with their money. The CRA kept trying to reach this representative and the directors had no idea how quickly the collections efforts had progressed and how upset the CRA had beceome.
The second firm charged them a lot of money, then set out to make a payment arrangement with the CRA, even accusing these directors of “fudging” their records in order to show less income than they actually had.
They were frustrated, had spent a lot of money and had now incurred the wrath of the CRA.
Then we sat down together to talk, and after only a few questions and a review of the notices they brought with them, I notified them of the statute of limitations the CRA must follow when raising a Director’s Liability Assessment under s.227.1 of the Income Tax Act and S323.1 of the Excise Tax Act, which was 2 years from the date the corporation ceased to operate or the date the director officially resigned from the corporation.
They said the business closed 3 years ago, and that their accountant had officially closed the corporation with the government.
We talked about the Taxpayer Relief Program and about key language to use when speaking to the CRA in order to begin to change the permanent diary record they keep on the corporation and the directors.
The meeting concluded.
I immediately pulled a corporate profile report, checked that against the date of the assessments the CRA were raising and found them to be beyond that limit.
I used the signed authorization forms to contact the CRA, and that 5-minute conversation resolved the account… Forever.
I provided the directors with a report of the meeting, including the information we discussed, the CRA’s actions to date, their likely next steps, plus recommendations about how to deal properly with the CRA going forward, and I explained to them that there was no need for a payment arrangement because the account had a zero balance.
Were they happy… You could say that. After they wiped away the tears and finished squeezing the life out of me, they talked about the relief they felt knowing this matter was finally behind them, and how they had other tax matters they wanted me to handle for them.
If representative #1 or representative #2 knew anything about collections or looked beyond their huge payout, they could have helped these directors with this assessment, with the 9-month-long audit that followed or the issues with WSIB, and the CRTC so that these directors owed nothing and their files were closed and in good order.