stamp taxes with red text over white background

LETTER – A well-organized paper trail is important when filing taxes

Dear editor,

The tax man cometh… and your money goeth but not as much as the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) would like to get. Filing online might seem to be quicker and more convenient but it pays to have a well-organized paper trail especially when you get a Notice of Assessment or Reassessment, neither of which should be accepted at face value.

Either it simply isn’t true that the CRA seldom makes mistakes or their supposed errors aren’t so accidental. Not surprisingly, their “mistakes” are always in their favor, not yours.

Figuring out what’s really going on especially in a reassessment takes some shrewd detective work and trying to work out why you’re being charged yet again can be daunting. There are, however, some common strategies used to try to make you pay more than you actually owe.

So what do you do if you get one of CRA’s unwelcome assessments? First of all, don’t panic and reach for your chequebook. Go through the notice and figure out what’s really going on then immediately file a written appeal with the Chief of Appeals at the Western Intake Office in Surrey explaining exactly why the assessment is wrong and providing copies of all the documents to prove your case.

It’s time-consuming and annoying having to keep track of all your data for several years and sifting through it but it’s necessary, especially nowadays with the federal government digging a bottomless pit of debt. Filling up at least part of the hole with tax dollars is an obvious move.

After all, they have to get the money from somebody, don’t they? Just make sure it isn’t you.

Leith Stewart,

Comox

Letter to the Editor

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