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CRA Penalties, Interest, and More – What to Do if You Will Miss the 2017 Tax Deadline

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CRA Penalties, Interest, and More – What to Do if You Will Miss the 2017 Tax Deadline

The 2017 income tax deadline is nearly a month away. April 30, 2018 is the date you must file by or be subject to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) penalties, interest, and possibly collection action.

Tax time can be a source of stress — gathering your receipts, filing your return, and worrying about whether you’ll owe can be a hassle that’s tempting to avoid. But like it or not, paying taxes is something that can’t be avoided and if you attempt to do so, the stress and consequences will only be worse.

Consider this case, reported on the CRA website. On December 4, 2017 a Cobourg, Ontario man was sentenced to a fine of $97,173 after pleading guilty to two counts of tax evasion for failing to report income on his personal tax returns from 2006 to 2007. This court-imposed fine is only one part of what he must pay. He also has to pay the full amount of tax owing (an additional $97,173) PLUS related interest and any penalties assessed by the CRA.

This is a cautionary tale, but it’s also not uncommon. Between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2017, courts have convicted 408 people for CRA tax evasion. This involved $122 million in federal tax evaded and court sentences totaling approximately $44 million in court fines and 3,103 months in jail.

If you’re worried you’ll miss the 2017 income tax deadline, here’s what to do instead:

  1. File Before April 30, 2018

If you’re owed money and you don’t file before the 2017 income tax deadline, you’ll just have to wait longer for your refund — and who wants that? Even if you’ll owe a tax debt, it’s better to file before the deadline to avoid CRA penalties.

Interest begins accumulating on your tax debt on May 1, 2018 at a daily compounded rate. And on top of the interest, you’ll have to pay the CRA late-filing penalty.

The CRA late-filing penalty is 5% of your 2017 balance owing, plus 1% of your balance owing for each full month your return is late to a maximum of 12 months. And if you’ve been charged a late-filing penalty in a previous year, you could be charged 10% of your balance owing, plus 2% for each full month your return is late for up to 20 months. That’s a lot of extra money to pay on top of the balance you already owe. It’s in your best interest to file by April 30 and avoid the CRA penalties.

  1. Make a Plan to Pay

If you can afford it, paying your tax debt in full is the best option for avoiding CRA penalties. Look at your budget and see where you can save to pay the tax debt.

If you absolutely can’t pay in full with your current income, you may have other options available to you. For example, if you own a home with equity available and have good credit, you could be eligible for a home equity loan, which would allow you to pay off your tax debt and then pay your loan off over a fixed repayment schedule. If you don’t own a home, or don’t have equity available, there could be other lending options that you can access.

Don’t share your income and expenses with CRA. Get a plan together first.

  1. Seek Professional Help

If you’re going to miss the 2017 income tax deadline because you can’t pay your tax debt, even with a loan, consult a financial professional. Debt counsellors can help you go over your options, see what options are available to you, and help prevent or stop CRA collection action. Burying your head in the sand isn’t going to change your situation and will actually make it worse. If you’re not sure what to do, a professional debt consultant can help you find the way.

DebtCare Canada can help you avoid the consequences of CRA penalties.

Call us for a free consultation at 1-888-890-0888 or visit us online at www.debtcare.ca.

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