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Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) HST Audit

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) HST Audit

CRA HST Audit

CRA HST Audit

Canada Revenue Agency CRA HST Audit

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) frequently conducts HST audits and reviews to make sure Canadians are complying with the regulations. CRA HST Audits can also be referred to as GST Audits or GST/HST Audits. GST/HST audits focus on GST/HST filing errors and omissions. The CRA does have the right to examine records of the organization that are relevant to determining its tax liabilities.

What causes a CRA HST audit?

The CRA has a complex computer system that allows it to select returns to be audited by sorting them into various groups. There are four common ways the CRA selects files for audit:

  1. Computer-generated lists – In order to select specific returns for audit, the CRA often compares selected financial information for current and previous years of taxpayers engaged in similar businesses or occupations.
  2. Audit projects – The CRA often tests the compliance of a particular group of taxpayers, particularly if there is reason to believe that there is significant non-compliance within a group.
  3. Leads – Leads for audits often are the result of other audits or investigations, as well as information from outside sources.
  4. Secondary files – A business may be selected for audit if it is associated with another file that is being reviewed for audit, since the CRA often finds it convenient to look at all the records at the same time.

What is the CRA’s new approach?

The way the CRA conducts its audits has changed over the years. The CRA has switched from a combined audit approach to a detailed approach. In the past, most audits of smaller businesses have been done as combined audits – one audit covering both income tax and GST/HST. Combined audits have now been discontinued. Therefore, businesses are now subject to an income tax or GST/HST audit, leading the CRA to request more detailed information.

What can you do to prepare for a CRA HST audit?

Before you release any information to the CRA, make sure you seek professional advice. Once the information has been released the CRA can use it against you to assess penalties and interest. This requires you to be well prepared and know your rights as a business owner. In case of an audit remember the following:

  • Maintain good records: Organize the receipts and documentation to support your claims. You are required to keep your records and supporting documents and financial information for at least six years. Well-kept records will likely reduce the time required to complete the audit. some tips on good record keeping include:
    • Ensure you have copies of any GST/HST elections you have been relying on.
    • Ensure your documentation is neatly organized and in order. The CRA will likely request a copy of your electronic books and records.
    • If you have a combination of exempt and taxable supplies, ensure your ITC allocation methodology is documented and explained.
  • Be knowledgeable: Before the auditor begins the audit, confirm what taxation years are under review and what records he or she will require. This will ensure you have the required information ready for the auditor upon arrival.
  • Know your rights: Don’t give the auditor full accessibility to your files. Understand your rights as a taxpayer and exercise them when necessary.
  • Understand the information you are providing: Carefully review all information provided to the CRA and ensure that you are not providing more information than required.
  • Be courteous and professional: It is important to cooperate with the CRA and provide them with the information they request. However, always remember your rights as a business owner. Responding promptly and professionally to all correspondence received from the CRA may help complete the process faster and smoother.

A CRA audit can be time consuming and costly when you don’t have the right resources. For assistance, contact Cheema CPA Prof. Corp. and we will work with you through this process.

What are your rights GST/HST CRA audit?

Your rights are outlined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which states the 16 rights that apply to all taxpayers and registrants. This video, will mention three of the 16 rights that we want to highlight for you as you go through the audit process.

 

  • Right number three says you have the right to privacy and confidentiality. Auditors must respect the confidentiality of tax information and are obliged to take safeguards to protect your information.
  • Right number five says you have the right to be treated professionally, courteously, and fairly. You should expect this treatment from an auditor.
  • And right number six says you have the right to complete, accurate, clear, and timely information. You should expect to be kept informed throughout the audit.

If you need to learn more about your rights as a taxpayer please refer to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. 

Who can help during a GST/HST CRA audit?

Having the right team of professionals handling your HST audit is the key to success. As a taxpayer and a business owner you have rights. Before you release any information to the CRA make sure you seek professional advice. Once the information has been released, the CRA can use it against you to assess penalties and interest. Our firm is specialized in CRA HST Audits and Reviews. We can help you achieve a favorable result. Our team of lawyers and tax accountants can professionally handle your CRA HST Audit or Review.

Brampton Accountant: 2015 Income Tax Checklist

Brampton Accountant: 2015 Income Tax Checklist

Brampton Accountant: 2015 Income Tax Checklist. Cheema CPA Professional Corporation is a Chartered Professional Accountant firm located in Brampton, Ontario. We provide professional tax and accounting services. Each year we put together a checklist to help our clients assemble all the information required for personal taxes. This checklist will help you get more organized and help us minimize your taxes. To download: Tax Checklist.

General Items

  • A copy of last year’s return
  • 2009 Notice of Assessment
  • Other years reassessments
  • Details of changes to your personal status such as dates of marriage, separation, divorce or widowed, births and deaths
  • Note consenting to provide your income tax information to Elections Canada
  • Installment payments
  • Details of foreign property holdings (if any*) including cost of property held

Income

  • Universal child care benefit (RC62)
  • Employment income (T4)
  • Pension income (T4A, T4A(P), T4RIF, T4RSP)
  • US social security
  • Old age security (T4OAS)
  • Investment income (T5)
  • Income from trusts such as mutual fund investments (T3)
  • Income from employment insurance (T4E)
  • Income from partnerships (T5013)
  • Workers compensation/social assistance payments (T5007)
  • Details of the sale of securities such as stocks and bonds (eg. trading summary from your broker)
  • Income from foreign investments
  • Spousal support payments received

Deductions General

  • RRSP contributions
  • Medical, dental, prescription drugs, nursing home expenses
  • Payments to a private health insurance plan
  • Charitable donations
  • Tuition fees/education amount (T2202A) for yourself or transferred from a dependent such as a child or grandchild
  • Interest paid on student loans c Professional dues, union dues c Public transit passes
  • Childrens participation in programs related to physical activity
  • Interest on loans assumed to purchase investments
  • Safety deposit box fees
  • Professional consultant fees
  • Legal fees paid to establish child or spousal support or to enforce a pre-existing agreement
  • Legal fees paid to recover wages from your employer
  • Details of people you support and their medical status
  • Child care receipts (for camp, list dates attended)
  • Moving expenses if you moved 40km or closer to work or school
  • Property taxes or residential rent paid and to whom
  • Political contributions receipts
  • Disability tax credit claim form completed by authorized health practitioner (T2201)
  • Spousal support payments paid
  • Adoption expenses

Deductions Employees

  • Declaration of conditions of employment form (T2200)
  • Details of expenses not reimbursed by your employer including travel expenses (eg. parking, taxis, bus fare), supplies and assistant salaries
  • Office rent if required as a condition of employment
  • Home office expenses if it is your principal workplace or used exclusively, on
  • a regular or continuous basis for activities such as business-related meetings; include details of rent paid, repairs and maintenance costs, utilities and if you are
  • a commissioned salesperson also property taxes and home insurance. Also indicate the total area of your home and the area used for your work-space
  • If you are a commissioned sales-person, details supporting advertising expenses, promotion, meals and entertainment
  • Motor vehicle expenses

Deductions Motor Vehicles

  • Total kilometers driven and kilometers driven just for work
  • Details of total expenses incurred for gas, maintenance and repairs, insurance, license and registration, loan interest and lease payments
  • New vehicle, purchase invoice/agreement

Unincorporated Businesses

  • Total sales revenue for the year
  • Total expenses listed by category for the year
  • Capital assets acquired (eg. computers and peripherals, furniture and equipment)
  • Home office expenses include details of rent paid or if you own your home, details of repairs and maintenance, utilities, property taxes, insurance, mortgage interest
  • Motor vehicle expenses

Unincorporated Businesses

  • Total sales revenue for the year
  • Total expenses listed by category for the year
  • Capital assets acquired (eg. computers and peripherals, furniture and equipment)
  • Home office expenses include details of rent paid or if you own your home, details of repairs and maintenance, utilities, property taxes, insurance, mortgage interest
  • Motor vehicle expenses

Download (PDF, 30KB)

2015 INCOME TAX

2015 INCOME TAX

 

GST/HST Rates Across Canada

Canadian Provincial Tax Map 2015

GST HST Rates Across Canada

 GST/HST Rates Across Canada

With eCommerce more and more businesses are selling goods and services across Canada. This has resulted in confusion on which sales tax rates apply. Majority of Canadian businesses must collect sales taxes from customers and remit them to the government. Depending on the province your business operates in, the rates are different.

Based on the province or territory in which your business operates in, you need to collect either:

  • A combination of GST and PST
  • GST only
  • HST

 What sales tax should I charge my customer in another province?

Generally speaking the sale tax you charge your customer depends on where the supply of the goods or services is made. If a business in Alberta sends products to a business in Ontario, the place of supply is Ontario and you will be charging your customer the HST at the rate for Ontario.

GST/HST sales tax rates that apply in Canada by province:

Province Type PST GST HST Total Tax Rate
(%) (%) (%) (%)
Alberta GST 5 5
British Columbia GST+PST 7 5 12
Manitoba GST+PST 8 5 13
New Brunswick HST 13 13
Newfoundland and Labrador HST 13 13
Northwest Territories GST 5 5
Nova Scotia HST 15 15
Nunavut GST 5 5
Ontario HST 13 13
Prince Edward Island HST 14 14
Quebec GST+QST *9.975 5 14.975
Saskatchewan GST+PST 5 5 10
Yukon GST 5 5

 

 

What sales tax should I charge my customer in another Country?

If you sell good outside of Canada this is considered a zero-rated supply and you do not charge your customers GST or HST. However, if the goods are picked up from Canada then the supply is made in Canada and you are required to charge GST/HST depending on your respective province.

How to calculate GST/HST?

Example 1: In Alberta, where only GST applies and you sold a $100 item.

Retail price: $100
GST (5%): $5
Total: $105

Example 2: In Ontario, where HST applies and you sold a $100 item.

Retail price: $100
HST (13%): $13
Total: $113

Example 3: In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, PST, like GST, is calculated on the retail price only. The two taxes are then added to the retail price for your total. For example, in Manitoba:

Retail price: $100
GST (5%): $5
PST (7%): $7
Total: $112

 Visit the CRA website for more information 

CRA Audit & Objections

CRA Audit & Objections

CRA Audit & Objections

  CRA Audit & Objections

Challenge the CRA / Dealing with the CRA? Here’s what you need to know.

Every year the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) audits thousands of small and medium size businesses and issues notices of reassessments.  Many times the result of these reassessments requires these businesses to pay up to thousands and sometimes millions in tax, interest and penalties.

Is there a chance that these CRA reassessments can be wrong? Yes! It is absolutely critical that business owners are prepared to challenge incorrect reassessments. Handling reassessments improperly can have serious financial implications for your business.

Here are five things that you should be aware of when you receive the CRA’s notices of reassessment:

  1. The CRA isn’t always right. Notices of reassessments and tax disputes are not necessarily an indication that the taxpayer, or the accountant, has done something wrong. If you feel the CRA has it wrong, as a taxpayer you have the right to challenge the CRA’s interpretation and application of the facts and law to ensure you are not paying more than you have to.
  2. Act on time. You must file a notice of objection to dispute a notice of reassessment. Generally, you must file a notice of objection within 90-days of the date that the CRA mailed the notice of reassessment. If you do not deliver a proper notice of objection within the 90-day period, you may apply for an extension of time to object. The CRA will consider applications for an extension of time to object if the application meets all relevant conditions and if it is filed within one year of the 90-day period. However, the CRA may deny your application for an extension of time and, therefore, it important to file a proper notice of objection within the 90-day period.
  3. The onus is on you. The normal reassessment period is three years for individual taxpayers and four years for corporate taxpayers. If the CRA issues a notice of (re)assessment within the normal reassessment period, the onus is on you to prove that the assessment is wrong in fact and law. You should be prepared to present factual and legal support for your position that the reassessment is wrong. If the CRA issues a notice of reassessment outside the normal reassessment period, taxpayers should understand the impact of this shift in the burden of proof. This is an opportunity to take advantage of the shift and make strategic decisions.
  4. Know what you are talking about. In addition to knowledge of the relevant legislation, the tax dispute process is governed by the case law, rules of procedure, the onus of proof, the standard of proof and the rules of evidence. In our experience, the party with the greater understanding of the legislation, case law and rules often has a significant advantage.
  5. Contact the right people for help.Clients often struggle to research and retain the right tax accountant and tax lawyer. We recommend that clients take the time to understand their options and speak to competent tax professionals.

This is an example where the CRA made a mistake and resulted in Mr. Irvin Leroux losing millions of dollars.

It was a million-dollar mistake that turned in to a 13-year battle. A British Columbia man lost almost everything in a tax battle with the Canada Revenue Agency. The CRA admits they were wrong, but now refuses to repay his money. His original documents were shredded by the CRA auditor.

The judge found that the auditors owed Mr. Leroux a duty of care and that they breached it in the manner in which they imposed penalties. However, the judge concluded that she was unable to find a causative link between that breach and Mr. Leroux’s losses.

Mr. Leroux had a legitimate position to put forward in saying that if the assessments had been done correctly in the first place, he might have been able to handle all the other problems he had.

The full case can be found here.

Contact our firm Cheema CPA Professional Corporation for all your CRA review and audit needs. Our team of tax accountants and lawyers can professionally handle your file.

CRA uses Facebook to audit

Why did the CRA audit me?

Why did the CRA audit me?

CRA uses Facebook to audit

The CRA only provides a generic description on how they select files for audit. According to the CRA website, they select files based several different conditions, such as “the potential for errors in tax returns or indications of non-compliance with tax obligations.”

Techniques used by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) are never clearly disclosed. Over the years the CRA has adapted and developed unconventional audit techniques in hopes of catching tax evaders. One of these techniques is called Indirect Verification of Income, where the CRA tries to match a taxpayer’s lifestyle to their reported income. In order to do this the CRA has relied on sources such as Facebook and other social media outlets to build cases against taxpayers.

With falling tax revenues and increasing deficits governments will continue to use unconventional audit techniques if it results in more taxes being collected.