13 December 2013

Another reason not to behave badly

It never ceases to amaze me that some people think they can shirk their responsibilities when dealing with the CRA. For example, I've heard of several instances where certain taxpayers filed Notices of Objection just to hold off that agency's collection activity for months or even years, without raising legitimate issues. I hasten to add that I was not working for any of them!

That is not a good idea, especially if you have a history of risky behaviour. CRA always has the option to secure a jeopardy order from the court in order to initiate collection activity during that standstill period, if they believe you are in the process of wasting, liquidating or transferring property in order to make it unavailable to satisfy your tax liability. The following factors may provide support for the application for the order where a taxpayer has:

  • acted fraudulently or has been involved in illegal activities;
  • engaged in the liquidation or transfer of his or her assets so  as to put the assets out of the Minister’s reach;
  • engaged in unorthodox behaviour that raises a reasonable apprehension that funds may no longer be available to satisfy the tax debt (ie, keeping large amounts of cash in one’s residence or safety deposit box, or investing in significantly risky ventures);
  • engaged in tax evasion tactics, such as the failure to report income to the Canada Revenue Agency accurately;
  • a significant amount of debt in comparison with his or her income; or
  • assets that could potentially decline in value, deteriorate, or perish over the ordinary course of time.

There is a very good summary of the topic that can be seen here. Needless to say, I'm not in favour of any of the above tactics, not least because undertaking them really does take a significant amount of time and effort. Compliance is always cheaper and a more efficient use of your time.

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