Taking at the CRA: Jamie Golombek stocks his personal combat with the taxman


Golombek used to be gearing up for an afternoon in courtroom over a dispute over work-from-home bills, nevertheless it by no means got here

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I by no means did get my day in courtroom, however I got here awfully shut.

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I’ve been fighting the taxman for greater than a yr in an try to get the Canada Earnings Company to permit my work-from-home bills for the 2020 tax yr. That combat got here to an finish remaining week, once I gained a reassessment permitting just about all my home-office bills, refunding my overpaid tax, reversing the arrears passion prior to now charged, or even paying me some refund passion (albeit, taxable).

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I’m sharing my complete tale so you already know what’s in retailer should you, too, make a decision to take at the CRA.

The beginning of my tax dispute may also be traced again to March 12, 2020. I had Toronto Maple Leafs tickets for that evening’s recreation towards the Nashville Predators, and my son used to be to fulfill me downtown after paintings for the sport. However issues would dramatically exchange: that afternoon, the NHL suspended all video games because of COVID-19 and our workplaces close down that night for what would become many months.

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As of March 13, I started running from domestic complete time, the use of a spare bed room as my new workplace. I deducted some home-office bills for the primary time in my occupation once I filed my 2020 tax go back.

Staff who’re running from domestic because of the pandemic have two how to declare work-from-home bills: the brief flat price way ($2 according to day, as much as $500 in 2022) and the detailed way, the place staff tally up the true bills incurred and allocate them on a “cheap foundation” to decide the portion associated with employment use. That is in most cases performed through dividing the workspace house through the house’s general completed sq. metres (together with hallways, toilets, kitchens, and many others.).

Bills come with utilities, domestic web, hire, repairs and minor restore prices, and workplace provides. You’ll be able to’t deduct loan bills, capital bills or depreciation (capital price allowance), and handiest commissioned-based staff can deduct their belongings taxes and residential insurance coverage.

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In my case, the detailed way proved to be the simpler possibility, nevertheless it intended having to verify every expense in case the CRA sought after to “overview” my go back, which is precisely what took place.

In August 2021, I gained a “overview letter” from the CRA asking for more info about quite a lot of pieces on my go back, together with my declare for the virtual information subscription tax credit score, evidence that I made a small political contribution and, most importantly, fortify for my work-from-home employment expense declare.

The CRA sought after a duplicate of my signed T2200, Declaration of Stipulations of Employment, and a “detailed breakdown of the volume claimed and the supporting paperwork.” It additionally requested for a duplicate of my T777, Observation of Employment Bills, and a breakdown of the way I calculated the proportion of the bills I may just deduct, and “a duplicate of the ground plan of the place of abode with the house workplace.”

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I didn’t have a duplicate of my domestic ground plan, however I used to be lovely conservative with my estimate, claiming lower than 10 according to cent of my general domestic bills for using my domestic workplace. I ready an in depth agenda of my per thirty days hydro, gasoline and web bills, entire with dates and quantities the use of downloaded knowledge from my on-line banking.

Sadly, this wasn’t sufficient to justify my declare. My $75 virtual information credit score and political donation had been allowed, however my home-office bills had been denied of their entirety as I it seems that didn’t ship sufficiently detailed knowledge to verify my declare. This used to be showed in a January 2022 formal reassessment.

I paid the reassessed tax for 2020 to prevent the day-to-day compounding of non-deductible, arrears passion from being charged and, in February 2022, filed a proper Understand of Objection. I despatched the CRA PDF copies of all my per thirty days 2020 statements from every application supplier, totalling 89 pages of documentation, to justify my declare. After which I waited. And waited.

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Periodically, I’d go browsing to the CRA’s My Account web page and test below the Growth Tracker to peer if any motion have been taken. In any case, after a number of months, the standing used to be up to date on-line: a initial overview of my objection used to be performed, and it used to be made up our minds to be of “medium complexity.”

Medium complexity source of revenue tax objections resolved in August 2022 had been finished in a median of 283 days from the date the objection used to be submitted. That used to be too lengthy for me to attend, so I exercised my proper to enchantment without delay to the Tax Court docket, which may also be performed 90 days after submitting a understand of objection if the CRA hasn’t spoke back through then.

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In past due Would possibly 2022, I filed my enchantment and used to be instructed my case could be heard in Toronto “on the first to be had alternative.” I used to be excited and assured. However rather than a few parking tickets within the Nineties, I’d by no means been to courtroom earlier than so I needed to get ready. I rewatched 12 Indignant Males and My Cousin Vinny. I used to be now able for courtroom.

However my day in courtroom used to be to not be. In a while after submitting my enchantment, I were given a decision from a pleasant CRA litigation officer who stated he had reviewed my report and used to be ready to permit all my work-from-home bills, save for $99. I briefly agreed.

Per week later, he had me signal a consent to judgment, which used to be later qualified through a Tax Court docket pass judgement on. On Sept. 14, I gained my new Understand of Reassessment, at the side of a right away deposit of my tax refund and passion.

I truly used to be having a look ahead to my day in courtroom. Possibly over again.

Jamie Golombek, CPA, CA, CFP, CLU, TEP, is the managing director, Tax & Property Making plans with CIBC Non-public Wealth in Toronto. Jamie.Golombek@cibc.com


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