Taxpayers entitled to communication, courtesy and more

Q: This last week, I received a letter from Revenue Canada reassessing three years of tax returns. They claimed I owed an additional several thousands of dollars. Adding insult to injury are ridiculous amounts for penalties and interest. When I spoke to a representative from CRA, they were not very helpful. Is there something I can do about this?


A: A Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Reassessment for three years is not unusual (more on this at left.)

There is a mechanism in place for taxpayers that disagree with an assessment. Circumstances may dictate if you go it alone or seek professional tax advice. If you decide to appeal a tax assessment, read your assessment carefully. Understand what and why you are being reassessed and reply within the allotted appeal period.

Most taxpayers should be aware of their rights and obligations.

CRA publishes on their website a Taxpayer Bill Of Rights:

  • All taxpayers have the right to receive entitlements (such as GST, child tax, etc.) and to pay no more and no less than what is required by law.

  • You have the right to be served in both official languages.

  • You have the right to privacy and confidentiality.

  • Taxpayers have the right to a formal review and a subsequent appeal.

  • You should be treated professionally, courteously and fairly.

  • Taxpayers should receive complete, accurate, clear, and timely information.

  • Taxpayers have the right to not pay income tax amounts in dispute before they have the right to an impartial review.

  • The laws must be applied consistently.

  • Taxpayers may file a complaint and receive an explanation of their findings.

  • You have the right to have costs of compliance taken taken into account when administering tax legislation.

  • CRA has an obligation to be accountable.

  • Taxpayers have the right to relief from penalties and interest under tax legislation under certain circumstances.

  • CRA is expected to publish service standards and report annually.

  • You have the right to be warned about questionable tax schemes in a timely manner.

  • You have the right to representation.

It is pleasantly surprising what an individual taxpayer should expect from CRA.

Henry Choo Chong, CGA provides accounting and tax services to individuals and businesses in the GTA. He can be reached at 416-590-1728, ext. 304. Any questions to Money Matters should be e-mailed