What's a Notice Of Assessment, and What Do I Do With It?
Canadian small business taxes can be complicated to file, and sometimes, they only get more complicated when the notice of assessment shows up. That notice is the form that the Canada Revenue Agency sends you after they've reviewed the taxes that you filed - and it can open up the need for a whole process of filing objections.
The notice of assessment informs you of the taxes that you need to pay (or, alternatively, the amount of your refund). So receiving it is occasionally a reason for celebration, since it can confirm that you received a hefty tax return after what was likely a very expensive year.
However, it could also come bearing bad news - or, in some cases, a mistake may lead to owing more taxes than you had expected.
What Happens if You Don't Receive a Notice of Assessment
The notice itself will be sent to you once the CRA has completed their initial review of your tax filings. So if you're sure that you filed as necessary for the past year, but you haven't received a notice, then you need to contact your tax preparer or the CRA as soon as you can.
Alternatively, if the reason you didn't receive a notice is because you didn't file your taxes at all, then you'll need to do so as soon as possible - before the penalties and interest start to pile up too high. In this instance, you might want to contact a tax preparer with expertise in small business taxes - they can likely help you to manage the complications that might occur as a result of filing late.
What if You're Not Happy With Your Notice of Assessment or Receive a Notice of Reassessment?
Variances between the tax return results you anticipate and what the CRA assesses can occur.
If you find that the notice of assessment reaches a conclusion you didn't expect, then you'll need to file an objection - either on your own behalf, or through the help of a tax professional. Once you confirm that the discrepancies between what you owe and what the CRA says you owe are legitimate, then it's time to engage in an appeal.
You'll need to file an appeal with the courts at that point, listing your objections, the documents that support those objections, your personal and contact information, and more.
Before it gets to the appeal process make sure you have filed your objection within one year of when you filed your taxes, or within 90 days of receiving your notice of assessment from the CRA. Otherwise, your objection won't be considered valid.