Income tax

Canada’s 2022 income tax season: CRA plans to fully resume collection efforts, documents say

OTTAWA — The federal minister responsible for the Canada Revenue Agency learned after the election that the agency plans to ramp up debt collection just in time for tax season.

Briefing materials for Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier indicate that the agency plans to resume full collection activities early this year.

The move was the latest of four actions the ARC planned to take after having to adjust its efforts due to health and economic concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While those concerns have subsided, the agency and the departments it assists are bracing for an increase in outstanding debts that will take extra effort to collect, especially as tax season approaches.

The deadline for filing tax returns this year is May 2, because April 30 falls on a Saturday.

The revenue agency says a return is considered filed if it is received, or if a paper filing is postmarked, by May 2.

The deadline for payment remains April 30, however, for anyone who has to pay taxes. This date this year is also the deadline to pay any outstanding income tax debt from the 2020 tax year for anyone who qualifies for Interest Relief.

Peter Fragiskatos, Lebouthillier’s parliamentary secretary, says the agency plans to keep its “people-centric” approach and work with those who are struggling to settle their debts.

“Recognizing how difficult the pandemic has been, we have worked and will continue to work with people who have struggled financially,” Fragiskatos said. “We’re going to take an empathetic approach throughout.”

The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic swept the country in March 2020 and in the middle of tax filing season.

As the economy entered a downward spiral, with three million jobs lost and others having their hours reduced, the government pushed back the deadline for filing and collection efforts. The move allowed CRA officials to focus on distributing pandemic aid and aimed to keep more money in the pockets of Canadians to help pay the bills.

That fall, collection activities resumed, but not to the maximum.

And by then, the amount of taxes owed had increased, but not by as much as it could have had it not been for the “vast reduction in reassessments”, officials wrote to Lebouthillier.

“Collections are expected to increase as compliance and auditing activities resume, leading to a sharp increase in tax debt with the upcoming filing season,” the officials wrote in the briefing document. recently made public.

The government recommends that anyone filing their taxes try to do so online to speed up processing times. It can take weeks for a paper return to be processed and a tax return to be issued.

Fragiskatos said the CRA has posted tax filing tutorials on YouTube and government websites to help online filers.

“I just encourage people to make sure they file before the deadline,” Fragiskatos said. “It’s really important to do this to access the benefits and credits that are available.