Whatever the reason may be, sometimes people fail to file their tax returns on time, or in some extreme circumstances, ever! Failure to submit your tax return can have some nasty consequences, including hefty fines and penalties. If you find yourself in this situation know that not all hope is lost; the good news is that there is a way to file tax returns from previous years in Canada. However, how you handle the situation will depend on your circumstances. Read on to learn about what options you have if you need to file tax returns from previous years.
Scenario 1: You Think You Might Owe the CRA Some Money
If you believe that you will owe money to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), it’s best to file your late taxes sooner rather than later. As mentioned above, you risk facing sizable penalties and interest charges on any unpaid tax debt. The longer you wait to file, the more you’ll owe. Don’t think just because the CRA hasn’t contacted you that they’ve forgotten you – eventually they will come to collect. So what do you do?
- Speak to a professional. A tax accountant can help you through the process of sifting through paperwork and organizing it to submit to the CRA. They can also give you advice on any penalties that you might face.
- Ask about the Voluntary Disclosure Program. The CRA has created a program called the Voluntary Disclosure Program which provides Canadians a second chance to correct their taxes or submit any returns that were never filed. There are certain conditions that must apply, but if you qualify for the program, you can get relief from prosecution and certain penalties.
Scenario 2: You Don’t Think You Owe Any Money
Even if you are quite sure that you don’t owe the CRA any money, it’s still important to file your tax returns each year. Failure to do so could mean that you’re missing out on credits and benefits that could end up with the CRA giving you money! Examples of these include GST credits and child benefit payments.
Unless you are 100% sure you don’t owe any money, it’s still worth it to chat with a tax professional before filing to ensure you have a good understanding of your situation. Otherwise, it’s as simple as submitting the tax return late. The CRA allows you to use the same methods for filing that you would use to file your return on time. You can use a tax preparation software, mail in a return prepared by a professional, or complete the CRA’s General Income Tax and Benefit Package and mail it in. If you don’t owe any money, there are no penalties for late filing.
Searching For Tax Help?
Have you let your tax filings slip? Don’t worry! The team at Liu & Associates can help. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment to speak with one of our tax experts.