Q&A: CRA wants payment

Question: I got a notice from the Canada Revenue Agency saying that I owe them $4,000 because two places that I used to work for did not send me my T4 slips. I followed up with them and they said they will send them to the CRA instead of to me. Now I am on the hook for $4,000. I am out of work and have been for two years now. Can the CRA still come after me even though I do not have any more money and I am taking care of sick parents? – Daniel L.

Gordon Pape answers: The short answer is yes, they can. It is your legal responsibility to file your tax return each year stating all your income whether or not you received the T4 slips. I suggest you contact a CRA representative, explain your situation, and work out a repayment schedule with them. They will normally accommodate someone in your situation, but they will insist on being paid.

As far as the former employers are concerned, they have a legal obligation to send reporting slips both to you and to the CRA. The fact they did not do that does not take you off the hook but it could open them to fines. You have a right to demand a copy of those T4 slips. The employers were supposed to withhold taxes from your pay. If they in fact did this, it may reduce or even eliminate your debt to the CRA.

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