13 August 2009

Hassle

Ok, I pay my taxes if I owe on my taxes. I understand the need to pay taxes to receive the benefits that the Canadian government bestows upon me. I've always been of the mind that if I get audited and somehow have claimed something I shouldn't have or mixed up the numbers somehow, that I would gladly repay any amount owing. I have no problem with the idea of being audited because I believe I am honest in filling out my tax information.

A couple of weeks ago I received a letter from my lovely Canadian government tax department. It said that they conduct random checks on people with children in order to ensure they are receiving the correct amount for Child Tax Benefit and so on. "Random'. Really. There is one person at work who dislikes me intensely, it would be very easy to say that she has inflicted the tax department on me. Or it could actually be random, depends on my level of paranoia for the day :)

The letter was clear that I had no choice but to fill out the little questionnaire, the consequence of not doing so would be the suspension of any benefits. Seeing as how I like having money appear in my bank account once a month for the privilege of birthing children, I filled out the form within the time frame allotted. No problem. Except that I filed my taxes for 2008 as 'divorced' when it should have been 'living common-law". The letter was clear to define common law as 'living in a conjugal relationship with another person for twelve continuous months' (notice it doesn't define according to gender - the Canadian gov't could care less if it was same sex or not). So. Anyway. S and I had been living together for twelve continuous months by January of 2008. But for some reason S and I thought it was optional to file as common law...so we didn't.

I thought it was all taken care of, my file updated, and a mental note for next year to file as common law. Then I received another letter from the tax department to clarify things a bit. I did my taxes online using Intuit's program. All you do is input the data and it brings up screens that apply to you. So when I filed as divorced I got to claim one of my boys for a tax credit of $9,200. As common law, this credit didn't apply. The government needed me to answer some questions. This time there was no easy form to fill out, just questions that didn't really apply to me at all. Like needing to provide proof of disability of my adult child and the information of anyone else who shares custody of my boys (I have no adult children, no disabilities, and sole custody). Being very confused, tired, and grumpy, I called the number they helpfully added to the bottom of the letter. It turns out it's a form letter and I only take what actually applies to me and send them the information. That might have been helpful as an introduction to the letter. Anyway, the help desk woman was indeed helpful and got things sorted out for me. I dug through my files, copied all documents necessary, and sent off the new letter with the reference number boldly printed on every page of every attachment. And now I wonder...will I get a new letter? Did I forget anything?

Like I said, I don't mind the idea of an audit. I would rather get things sorted out as quickly as possible in hopes of owing less money or gaining a larger refund. But I didn't really count on the hassle of it. I'd hoped the first letter was quite enough, and now I'm hoping the second letter makes things crystal clear. But there is a tiny part of me that thinks my mailbox will be stuffed with more detailed forms and a flag placed on my taxes for a few years. Oh goody.

1 comment:

The Hyperlexian Aspie said...

i've had my tax information audited three times by CRA. three times. yeah. one time it came out even, one time i owed money, and once they found they had underpaid me. not fun to be audited!

love,
vicki
p.s. in my general experience (not related to my job) people are selected for audit according to:

-demographics such as wage, job, locale
-prior history (audited once, and it will happen again)
-random selection
-tips/squealing