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Remissions

After you make a request

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We may ask you for more information

You should be prepared to provide other documents we may request during our review. For example:

  • If you're making a request based on your financial circumstances, we may ask you for full financial disclosure. This may include a complete statement of your income and expenses and assets and liabilities. To see the type of financial information we may request, review Form RC376 Taxpayer Relief Request - Statement of Income and Expenses and Assets and Liabilities for Individuals).
  • If relevant to your request, we may ask for copies of contracts, separation agreements, wills (where the request relates to an estate), registered charity documents, corporate records, or other types of documents.

How we review your request

Remission requests are reviewed based on the broad terms set out in section 23 of the Financial Administration Act. Consistent with these terms, we'll assess whether collection of the tax or other debt or enforcement of the interest or penalty is unreasonable or unjust, or if remission is otherwise in the public interest.

Broad concerns must be considered in assessing whether it's in the public interest to recommend the extraordinary remedy of remission, including: maintaining the integrity of the legislative appeals process, the self-assessing nature of Canada’s tax system, taxpayers’ responsibility to understand and meet their tax obligations – and importantly – fairness to other Canadians.

We also consider our remission guidelines, which are based on characteristics common to past cases where remission has been granted. The guidelines set out categories where remission may be supported, such as:

  • Extreme financial hardship
  • Financial setback with an extenuating factor
  • Mistake made by the CRA, and
  • Unintended results of the legislation

The guidelines aren't exhaustive and don't limit what circumstances we may consider. Each request for remission is considered on its own merits, based on the facts and circumstances specific to the request.

When reviewing a request, we consider all relevant facts and circumstances and will seek out additional information and documentation as needed (for example, notes, correspondence, and reports stored in our systems that contain information about your compliance history, past communication with us, current or past employers, assets and income amounts, other financial information, information found in court decisions or from third parties, credit reports, property and internet searches, or other relevant substantiation).

When you can expect a decision

We generally advise you, in writing, within 30 calendar days if your request will be considered for a remission review.

All requests considered for review are processed on a first-in, first-out basis. Given the extraordinary nature of remission, our review process is thorough. There is no set timeframe for completing a remission review.

If we consider that remission could be supported in the particular circumstances of your case, your request will be submitted to the Minister who may make a recommendation to the Governor in Council for a decision. We do not have the legal authority to grant remission. Only the Governor in Council can issue a remission order under section 23 of the Financial Administration Act.

All remission orders are published in Part II of the Canada Gazette. A remission order includes the taxpayer's name, the amount remitted, the tax years or reporting periods, and a brief explanation of the basis for remission.

Receive a credit or refund if granted

If remission is granted, we will advise you of the Governor in Council’s decision. We will then apply a credit in the specified amount to your account. If the credit results in a refund, that refund will first be applied to other amounts you owe or are about to owe. A remission order does not result in the reassessment of your tax return.

The Financial Administration Act does not permit refund interest on remitted amounts.

What recourse is available if denied

After a review, if we consider that your facts and circumstances cannot support remission, we'll advise you, in writing, and provide you with our reasons.

Taxpayers who request remission are expected to provide full and complete disclosure of their circumstances. However, we understand that in some cases there may be new information or documentation related to the remission request that you could not previously provide. If this is the case, you should contact us to see if further review of your remission request is warranted.

If your remission request is denied and you do not believe your request was properly considered, you can apply for judicial review to the Federal Court within 30 days of the day you were advised your request is denied. For more information about how to file an application for judicial review or other general enquiries, please visit the Courts Administration Services website.

If it’s determined that your request was not properly considered, the Federal Court can’t replace the decision but it can refer the matter back to us to be reconsidered.

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