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Tax Relief and CRA Advice

I found this article to be very clear and succinct .

Why taxpayers cannot rely on advice from the CRA.

The full article is found here.

Why Taxpayers Cannot Rely on Advice from the CRA: A Canadian Tax Lawyers Perspective

Taxpayer reassessed for acting on information given to him by the CRA

Frankly, for any of us who have dealt with CRA for more than a few minutes, this is nothing new and moreso, for those of us who read case law. There are quite a few attempts at estoppel from poor advice, none of which I can recall as being successful.

Worse, the same can happen with “us”. Failure to find out the full facts (in the instant, and quoted case, exactly WHAT the driver was doing) and making a reasoned judgement about same, followed by the caveat that it is easy to be incorrect…

Tax advice is often wrong. GST advice is often wrong. The source is irrelevant. The only certainty is by obtaining a ruling…and occasionally even that, if carried out in a manner inconsistent with the ruling, is problematic.

With the quoted case, a simple call to a qualified GST/HST practitioner would have evinced the following:

  • the use of the term “employer” is misleading
  • the appellant was actually delivering to consignees (specifically excluded from the definition of interlining)

With those pieces alone, a competent practitioner would have done more research. The taxpayer, to his own detriment, (presumably) sought to save some cash, call CRA and then rely on incorrect info provided and incorrect answer received. Sad lesson for him.

(I used to work on CRA’s PubInfo telephone line/counter back in the 1970s when there was actual real service…taxpayers often could not ask a technically accurate question or provide technically accurate details, and I’m sure that has not changed!)