need professional help with tax debt in Toronto
February 7, 2011 5:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for professional help with settling an old tax debt. I would like to know what kind of professional I should be looking for and recommendations for an individual or firm in Toronto would be most helpful.

The background is that I went through a bad period of depression and didn't file taxes for two years. I was a student at the time and, had I filed properly, would not have owed anything. Instead, I filed years late, was arbitrarily assessed for more than I could afford, and then ignored the problem.

Now, more than 10 years later, I am more financially secure and want to resolve the debt. However, I still find it very stressful and have not been able to deal with it myself. I would like to get professional advice to plan a settlement and perhaps act as an intermediary with Canada Revenue. I understand that I have probably left it too long for an accountant to help. Perhaps a lawyer could help with a settlement but it seems very difficult to find someone suitable. Does anyone have experience or insight into dealing with this kind of problem?
posted by Occam's Aubergine to Law & Government (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Seek out a tax acountant who specializes in this kind of thing. Simple.
You haven't left it too long for an accountant to help - it's their job.

Generally if you don't owe any taxes, you shouldn't owe an taxes by filing late.... something is fishy there.

But first, get a good tax accountant to go over everything and explain your options.
posted by TravellingDen at 5:37 AM on February 7, 2011

I would like to get a good tax accountant to help. After a (very brief) phone consultation with a tax accountant I was advised that it was too late for a tax accountant to help me. If anyone knows a helpful tax accountant, recommendations would be welcome.

I think there may be different degrees of late. I'm not sure what you mean by 'fishy' but assessed taxes, penalties and interest do, in fact add up to a considerable amount of money.
posted by Occam's Aubergine at 6:04 AM on February 7, 2011

I am a former tax collector with Revenue Canada (CRA). You need an accountant, not a lawyer. CRA does not negotiate "settlements", other than an agreeable payment arrangement (usually 6 months or less, however, you can extend this if you press).
While CRA may provide some relief on Penalty and Interest (info here), you may now be ineligible. CRA does write-off debt (either full or partial), however, you will need to be bankrupt, destitute, dead or in some way never able to pay.
I am assuming that this is not a big debt (CRA wise), but big for you.
You should:
-get an accountant, file any outstanding returns, file your current one for 2010; get the arbitrary assessments reversed.

-once you get your Notice of Assessment, pay it off 100%, or send in post dated cheques of no more than 6 months for the full amount. If you can't do this, contact your local CRA Tax Services office, and speak with someone.

As long as you plan to remain in Canada as a citizen, you will have to take care of this eventually, do it now while you are young and able. Good luck.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 6:24 AM on February 7, 2011

I can recommend John Mott in Toronto as a Tax Accountant. Actually used him based on a reco here on askmefi a few years ago.
posted by dripdripdrop at 7:03 AM on February 7, 2011

Thanks for the advice - I'll contact John Mott. Additional recommendations would also be appreciated.
posted by Occam's Aubergine at 9:50 AM on February 7, 2011

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