Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Canada Revenue Agency Consequences of Missing the Income Tax Deadline

In Canada, this year’s Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) income tax deadline was April 30th, 2012. The CRA’s income tax deadline is the last date that individual Canadian taxpayers can file their annual income tax returns with the CRA without incurring penalties and interest. Corporations are not subject to this deadline and have their own year-end filing dates. 

If you file your income tax return after the income tax deadline of April 30th, 2012 and you owe tax, the amount that you owe will be subject to interest and penalties. Penalties and interest are calculated based on the length of time it took for you to file following the tax deadline.

The Canada Revenue Agency will apply a penalty equal to 5% of the balance owed. For the next 12 months, an additional 1% will be owed each month that passes that your tax return is late. Repeat offenders (those who filed their income tax returns after the income tax deadline in 2008, 2009 or 2010) could be subject to a penalty of up to 10% and for the next 20 months, an additional 2% of the balance owing for 2011 for each month that your income tax return is late.

Penalties and interest are calculated separately. If you miss the income tax deadline, the Canada Revenue Agency will charge you daily compound interest beginning May 1, 2012 on any amount owing for 2011 that is not paid. The CRA will also apply the same interest to any penalties they have assessed.

It doesn’t pay to ignore late income tax return filings. Eventually you will have to file and will be subject to the penalties and interest retroactively. Failing to file your income tax return is tax evasion and eventually the Canada Revenue Agency will catch up with you. Depending on how many years you haven’t filed they could prosecute you for tax evasion.

Notional assessments are more common. A notional assessment occurs when the Canada Revenue Agency estimates how much income that they believe you earned based on tax slips filed by others or on returns you filed in previous years. When this happens, the Canada Revenue Agency essentially prepares a return on your behalf and then calculates how much tax you owe and assesses interest and penalties based on their income estimate.

Most individuals who miss the income tax deadline do so because:

  • They don’t think they owe taxes
  • They are busy and it slips their mind
  • They know that they will owe and don’t have the money to pay

If you fall into the third basket there are financial solutions that can assist you. Simply ignoring your income tax problem will not make it go away. Over time, the size of the tax debt, interest, and penalties will continue to grow and the Canada Revenue Agency will become more aggressive in their efforts to force you to file and collect your tax balance. The faster you face it the faster you can get back on track. If you are behind filing for many years, it is never too late to become tax compliant and deal with your tax debt.

For more information about the income tax deadline, interest and penalty calculation, or if you need help to deal with late income tax returns and income tax debt, please call DebtCare Canada 416-907-2582 or visit www.debtcare.ca

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