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Don't ignore that envelope from the taxman

Remember what it felt like to be sent to the principal’s office?

Remember what it felt like to be sent to the principal’s office? There you sat, terrified of the consequences, fearing your parents would be told of your transgression and convinced that life, as you knew it, had come to an end.

Fast forward into adulthood and even a mere query from the Canada Revenue Agency is enough to put you right back on that hard chair, stomach churning, as you waited for an audience with the principal.

Whether it is a query, a re-assessment or a full-blown audit, H & R Block offers seven tips to help you get through it.

1. Deal with it
Don’t ignore those brown CRA envelopes. Open. Read. Act. And if you get a phone call return it promptly. Sticking your head in the sand definitely does not work with the CRA.

2. Meet the deadlines

Whether it’s a request for moving expenses or proof of childcare costs, there will be a deadline which you should note in big red letters on your calendar. Otherwise you risk re-assessment and denial of the claim or credit. However the CRA will often extend a deadline if you call in advance.

3. Find your paperwork
The CRA will not be sympathetic if you plead disorganization. Lost or missing paperwork will only make the process longer and the likelihood of unfavourable reassessment greater.

4. Ignore tips from friends
Your friend may be claiming a boat on a lake up north somewhere as an employment expense but don’t be tempted to follow suit. Same goes for things such as cellphones. Employment expenses can only be claimed with form T2200 and must be included in your employment contract.

5. Pay up front
Pay any balance after a reassessment immediately. You can file a Notice of Objection if you disagree. If you are successful you’ll be refunded the money and if not you’ll have avoided interest charges during the process.

6. Stand up for yourself
The CRA can be heavy handed. If you feel the CRA treatment has been unreasonable or unfair complain to the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman Office which ensures the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights is being upheld.

 
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