Ask an Accountant: Notice of assessment

Francesca Giroux, CPA
For the Lakeside Leader

After receiving your personal income tax Notice of Assessment (NOA) from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), some individuals may note that the CRA has made changes to the return that was filed and the income tax amount assessed is different than what was initially reported. If this is the case, the first step is to review why the assessment is different from the return filed. For example, was there an income tax slip (i.e. T4, T5, T3) filed in your name that wasn’t reported, or a small calculation error? The CRA generally reviews all T-slips filed under a tax payer’s social insurance number and matches them to the amounts that are reported on an individual’s tax return. It is a common misconception that if a taxpayer didn’t receive an information slip from the issuer, that they do not have to report the income; however, that is not the case. An individual is responsible for keeping an accurate record of their taxable income, and reporting income from all sources, regardless of a situation where the taxpayer did not receive an information slip from the issuer. If this is the case disputing the NOA is not practical. A good practice to undertake is to keep a record of the information slips received for your 2017 tax return (i.e. note the issuer of each slip) and use this as a guide for preparing your 2018 taxes to determine if a slip may have been missed.

If the reason for the disagreement with your NOA is not as simple as a missed slip there are several steps that can be taken. The first step would be to contact the CRA to discuss the assessment and provide reasons for your disagreement. This can be done by phone at 1-800-959-8281 (Note: you will be required to provide personal information as well as information from your most recently filed tax return) or by booking an appointment at your local Tax Service Office (a listing of such offices is available on the CRA Web site) to meet with a CRA representative. If the situation is not resolved are initial communication with the CRA you can file an objection to formally advise the CRA that you are disputing the NOA. To file an objection use from T400A, which can be found on the CRA’s website. The T400A should be sent to the Chief of Appeals at the taxpayer’s Tax Services Office or the Tax Center at which the return was originally filed. All objections must be filed by the later of 90 days from the mailing date of the Notice of Assessment or one year from the due date of the return which is being disputed. For 2017 tax returns the one year deadline would be April 30, 2018, or for self-employed individuals June 15, 2018.

After you have reviewed your Notice of Assessment (NOA) it is important to keep this document for the preparation of your 2018 taxes, not only does the NOA serve as verification of your tax situation for 2017, but it also contains information such as your RRSP contribution room for the 2018 tax year and any carry forward contribution amounts.

Please e-mail your questions to bonnie@nashgirouxllp.ca.

Information provided is of a general nature. As each individual or company’s situation is unique, you may wish to consult with your CPA for information specific to your own needs.

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