Tax time is just around the corner, and for many Canadians this is just another item on the to-do list that takes a bit of time. For others however, tax time can be incredibly stressful, especially if you owe, or are going to owe, money. Once the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) finds out about this debt, collection agents can get pretty aggressive – so how can you deal with this? Here are some tips on how to protect yourself when CRA collections come calling.
Firstly, if a debt is owed to the CRA, and you have the ability to do so, pay it off completely. Once you are paid up, collection calls will cease and you will no longer have to worry about it.
However, if you are not in a financial position to pay off the debt, other arrangements will be required. In this case, the CRA will often start out with a friendly call in an attempt to obtain your personal information and to create a monthly payment plan. At the beginning this may not seem too bad, but keep in mind this can end up hurting you in the end. As a result of your giving information freely, the CRA now has the ability to commence enforcement action (freeze your bank account, etc.) when you cannot meet their strict and unmanageable payment requirements (the CRA will not accept extended payment plans and interest continues to accumulate).
If you refuse to give your personal information freely, this is when the situation can turn very ugly, very quickly. That ‘friendly’ CRA agent likely won’t seem so friendly anymore, and when collection calls begin it can be difficult to get them to stop. At this point, since a debt is owed, the CRA may initiate enforcement action, including garnishing your wages or placing a lien on your property.
Negotiating directly with the CRA is not the best idea. However, paying the debt is – and therefore that should be your very first consideration. Certain avenues exist that may help you to rid yourself of those troublesome and concerning collection calls. Depending on the size of your tax debt, some of the options available may include a consumer proposal or debt consolidation.
As mentioned, if you have the ability to pay a tax debt completely, do so. This will end up saving you not only interest, but the stress that accompanies this type of financial problem.
For more information about how to deal with CRA collections, please contact DebtCare Canada by calling 1 (888) 890-0888 or visit us online at www.debtcare.ca