Reminder of upcoming amendments to fairness provisions in the Excise Tax Act

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The following is now available on the CRA Web site:

Ottawa, Ontario, February 28, 2007…

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) reminds goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) registrants that they have until March 31, 2007, to review their records and send in any requests for penalty and interest relief under the fairness provisions for a reporting period that ended on or before December 31, 1996.

Legislative changes to the fairness provisions in the Excise Tax Act (both for GST/HST and non-GST/HST purposes) were introduced in 2006. Starting April 1, 2007, the Minister’s discretion to waive or cancel penalties and interest will be limited to requests for reporting periods that ended within any of the 10 calendar years preceding the calendar year in which the request is made.

Example

A fairness request made by a person (for GST/HST or non-GST/HST purposes) between April 1, 2007, and December 31, 2007, will only be eligible for consideration for a reporting period that ended in 1997 or subsequent calendar years. The 10-year time limit will give persons until December 31, 2007, to request penalty and interest relief for a reporting period that ended in the 1997 calendar year.

The fairness provisions give the CRA the flexibility to administer the excise tax system fairly. They allow for a common-sense approach in dealing with persons who, because of personal misfortune or circumstances beyond their control, are unable to meet their tax or excise duty obligations.

Examples of circumstances where relief from penalties and interest may be warranted include:

* extraordinary circumstances (for example, a flood, fire, or postal strike);
* actions of the CRA (for example, an error in a CRA publication); or
* inability to pay or financial hardship.

Registrants or their authorized representatives can make a fairness request by writing to their local CRA office and providing specific information about why they were not able to meet their tax or excise duty obligations.

The legislative amendments will improve the administration of the Excise Tax Act.

SOURCE: CRA News Releases

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