Notice of Assessment meet Notice of Objection
With just ten days to go until the May 2nd extended personal tax filing deadline, many Canadians have not only already filed their 2010 tax returns but have begun to receive their Notices of Assessment.
If you disagree with the CRA's assessment, you can certainly attempt to resolve the matter by phoning up your local tax services office but if you are unable to come to a satisfactory resolution that way, you can always file a formal Notice of Objection.
You can file an objection by using the "My Account" feature on the CRA Internet site or by writing to the Chief of Appeals at your Appeals Intake Centre.
Be very careful, however, not to miss the deadline for filing such an objection, which is one year from your normal filing due date (May 2, 2012 for 2010 returns) or 90 days after the date printed on your notice of assessment, whichever is later. This tighter 90-day deadline is typically relevant where you have been reassessed in respect of a prior taxation year.
Under the Income Tax Act, you can request an extension of time to file your Objection as long as that request is submitted within one year of the expiry of the missed deadline and you can demonstrate to the CRA that you were either unable to act within the deadline or that you "had a bona fide intention to object" and acted "as soon as circumstances permitted."
In 2009, the CRA extended the filing deadline in 8,499 out of 8,740 applications.
The issue of deadlines for objecting and extensions of such deadlines was the issue in a recent tax case decided earlier this month. The case involved Robert Roland, who was reassessed by the CRA for the 2003 and 2004 taxation years by Notices of Reassessment dated March 29, 2007.
Mr. Roland attempted to object to these Reassessments by preparing and submitting Notices of Objection dated October 1, 2007 however the CRA, by way of a November 2007 letter, rejected his Notices since they were not received within 90 days of March 29th. In the letter, however, the CRA informed Mr. Roland that he could apply for an extension of time, as discussed above.
On September 11, 2008, the Mr. Roland submitted an extension request to extend the time within which he could file his 2003 and 2004 Notices of Objection.
The CRA rejected his extension request because he was too late. As outlined in the Act, he only had one year from the Objection deadline to request a time extension. Since his Objection deadline was June 27, 2007 (90 days after his Reassessments), his extension deadline was June 27, 2008 and thus the Judge was unable to accept his application for a time extension.
This case demonstrates, yet again, the importance of sticking to filing deadlines and engaging a tax professional early in the process to ensure that you have the right to have your objection heard.