John Douglas Business Solutions Inc.

   
Discover The Top 5 HST Mistakes Auditors Find
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     John D. McQuarrie
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Request HST relief?

There is form that exists than enables a taxpayer (including a GST/HST registrant, supplier or recipient) to request GST/HST relief from the Canada Revenue Agency (often in the form of interest and penalty relief, but can include GST/HST). While the CRA has broad discretion to grant relief, they also have broad discretion to deny relief.

The CRA is working to improve its procedures for dealing with Requests for Taxpayer Relief. The CRA should send a letter to the requester acknowledging receipt of the Request for Taxpayer Relief when a completed form is filed with the supporting documentation. The file should be assigned to a CRA officer and the taxpayer should receive requests for relevant documentation (unless a full set of relevant documents is provided with the Request for Taxpayer Relief).
If the taxpayer gets a decision that is not favourable – it happens often – then there is the ability to request an impartial review of the CRA officer’s decision by the CRA (not the same CRA officer who rejected the request).

If the review procedure ends in a rejection of the requested relief, it is possible to seek a review by the Federal Court of Appeal by way of a judicial review. Judicial reviews often are an expensive legal procedure and can cost tens of thousands of dollars (even hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases depending on the complexity of the issues). There have been judicial review applications filed and the Federal Court of Appeal has in some cases sided with the taxpayer.

I will be honest with you – the Request for Taxpayer Relief Program can be frustrating for persons seeking relief. That does not mean it is not worth the effort and one should not try. Just know that you may feel like you are still stuck in the mud while pursuing a process that may take time.

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