Does Paying My Taxes Late Affect My Credit Score?

It’s no secret that paying your taxes late comes with consequences including interest and penalties that could negatively affect your finances.

But will these consequences affect your credit score?

It’s easy to assume that any money owing and debts will be held against your credit score. However, when it comes to late taxes, it works a little differently:

Does the CRA Report to Canada’s Credit Bureaus?

In general, the Canada Revenue Agency will not report to Canada’s Credit Bureaus if you owe a small amount in income taxes, paid your taxes late or received any basic penalties.

Because of the CRA’s privacy policy, they are restricted in the amount of information they are allowed to share with other organizations, including Canada’s Credit Bureaus.

However, there is an exception: If you owe so much in taxes that it results in a court case and a collection agency becomes involved. In this situation, the Canada Revenue Agency is able to put a tax lien on your credit report.

Overall, if your debts owing to the CRA become public information via a court case or collections case, your taxes owing will affect your credit score.

What Should I Do If I Owe Taxes?

An individual will usually end up late paying back owed taxes because they are not in a financial position to do so.

To avoid any late taxes affecting your credit, it is best to deal with it immediately before the debt becomes too large. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away.

In fact, ignoring owing taxes could result in ruined credit and even bankruptcy.

Even a small amount owing needs to be taken care of as soon as possible before interest charges inflate the original debt.

If you do owe taxes, here are some steps you can take to deal with the debt:

  • Contact the CRA immediately. The Canada Revenue Agency doesn’t want to drag you through court cases, so they are often willing to work out a payment plan. If you can prove that you absolutely do not have the means to pay your owing taxes in a short amount of time, you may be able to work out a multi-year payment plan.
  • The Taxpayer Relief Provision. If your tax situation meets certain criteria, your case may be forwarded to the Minister of National Revenue. Should your case be approved, you could receive tax penalty and interest relief.
  • Save and spend responsibly. You should consider establishing a savings account for tax purposes and other emergencies. Being able to pay a portion of your tax bill is better than not paying anything.

What Does Affect My Credit Score?

Knowing what actions affects your credit score is important in keeping your credit score high.

While your taxes only affect your credit if they become a substantial debt, many other elements come into play when determining your credit score:

  1. Payment History. The largest part of your credit score is based on how well you pay your bills and owing amounts on credit products. It takes into consideration late, short and missed payments – which can negatively affect your credit score.
  2. Utilization. Credit bureaus look at how much debt you have versus how much available credit you have. If you continually run your credit cards to their limits, this will lower your credit score.
  3. Credit History. How long you’ve possessed your credit products also impacts your credit score. Debts that you’ve carried, and maintain good payments on, for many years look better than newer debts.
  4. Credit Product Variety. The credit bureaus also like to see a variety of cresot products, not just credit cards. This includes loans, mortgages and lines of credit.

Why Take the Chance?

Any amount owing in late taxes, whether it be a large amount or small one, can spell trouble for your finances.

Contact Liu & Associates today for more information on how you can avoid interest and penalties when you owe money on your taxes.