CRA Audit Procedures
Audit – a dreaded word for any taxpayer. This year, the CRA will send out about 30,000 audit notices. CRA audits are risk based, meaning that the CRA will go after categories of taxpayers they believe to be at higher risk of tax evasion. You are a high audit risk if you are self-employed, work in construction, work in the restaurant industry, have repeated losses reported from property or business sources, show dramatic swings in income, or live in a postal code that doesn’t match your declared income.
A CRA Audit can suck up a great deal of time and money, and may result in a reassessment that includes penalties and interest. This can be financially devastating, pushing taxpayers into bankruptcy. What is an audit and what can you expect from an audit? This article will briefly explore some CRA Audit procedures in a general manner.
An audit will start with a letter from the CRA, never a phone call, informing you that you are being audited. This letter will put you on notice and specifies the years that the CRA wants to audit as well as the documents and records it wants to see. You then have the opportunity to make submissions that the auditor is required to review and respond to. The auditor, after reviewing your submissions and documents, may either determine that you are correct or that there is a problem.
If the Auditor determines that there is a problem, you’ll get a “proposal letter” that sets out the proposed reassessment as well as the reason for it. You will have another chance to make submissions and provide documents to try and dissuade the auditor or to change the proposed reassessment. Once the auditor has reviewed your submissions to the proposal letter, you will be issued a notice or reassessment unless you manage to convince the CRA that their position in the proposal letter is entirely wrong. Once re-assessed, your only option is to either pay up or file a notice of objection to fight the reassessment.
Always hire a professional to help you with an audit right from the start. This way you stand the best chance of avoiding a reassessment or limiting its impact.
Note: Articles are for general information only and do not constitute tax advice nor can they be relied upon. Call Faris CPA for assistance.