Eligibility Criteria for the Taxpayer Relief

If you want to consider sending out an application under the Taxpayer Relief Program in Canada, you have to first think in terms of hiring some professional consultants who can help you go through with it. This should be done even when you find a lot of information on the web around CRA’s Taxpayer Relief Program which was previously referred to as the Fairness Program.

Not everyone who reads the information on taxpayer relief scheme can understand it thoroughly. The information could turn very easily into misinformation around this program. It is the experienced tax accounting firms who can interpret all the details concerning the taxpayer relief program.

The important objectives of the taxpayer relief program are worth going through after investing time and effort into their application. It is better, still, to employ the service experts who know the program, in and out.

The Taxpayer Relief Program in Canada was created to enable the Minister of National Revenue to offer relief schemes from penalty and interest charges when certain circumstances held a taxpayer back from meeting the tax obligations. The taxpayers could be individuals or business corporations. The term `taxpayer’ also includes employers or payors, partnerships, organisations, trusts, estates, Goods & Services Tax (GST) and Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) claimants or registrants.

These exceptional situations could be broadly categorised as:

  1. Inability to pay the taxes on account of financial hardship.
  2. Certain actions taken by the CRA; those were of an erroneous nature.
  3. Extra ordinary circumstances such as acts of nature of Force Majeure.
  4. Other Circumstances.

 

The taxpayer relief program makes a distinction between the cancellation and the waiver of the penalties and interest charges. The justification behind this was provided by the CRA as it understood that the granting of relief to a taxpayer was redundant if the same taxpayer was burdened by interest and penalties, making the whole relief scheme a futile exercise. The term `cancellation’ refers to penalties and interest amounts after they are assessed or charged, towards which the relief is provided in whole or in part by the CRA.

The extraordinary circumstances cover penalties and interest charges that are either cancelled or waived in part or in whole when they are affected by circumstances beyond the control of the taxpayers. These extraordinary circumstances may prevent taxpayers from paying their taxes when they fall due, preventing them from filing their tax returns in time or complying with the tax obligations. These circumstances include natural or man-made disasters like a fire or a flood. They may include civil disturbances with services being disrupted. There may be circumstances like a serious ailment or an accident that causes partial or permanent disability. The circumstances also include severe emotional and mental distress that may arise out of certain events that occur in a family such as a death in the immediate family.

A response from the CRA concerning the Taxpayer Relief Program may take anywhere from three months to a couple of years depending on the number of request applications that fall due. It is, therefore, advisable, to engage the services of tax professionals as they will be in the best position to assess whether your request is adequate or not. This makes it worthwhile before you file the application for the review and consideration of the CRA.