Want to take on the CRA? Jamie Golombek shares his own fight with the taxman

Golombek was preparing for a day in court over a disagreement over work-from-home costs, however it never ever came

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Sep 21, 2022 – 3 days ago – 4 minute checked out – 13 Comments

Jamie Golombek's fight with the taxman came to an end last week when he was allowed almost all his home-office expenses. Jamie Golombek’s battle with the taxman pertained to an end recently when he was enabled practically all his home-office costs. Image by Getty Images

I never ever did get my day in court, however I came very close.

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I’ve been fighting the taxman for more than a year in an effort to get the Canada Revenue Agency to permit my work-from-home expenditures for the 2020 tax year. That battle pertained to an end recently, when I got a reassessment permitting almost all my home-office costs, reimbursing my paid too much tax, reversing the financial obligations interest formerly charged, and even paying me some refund interest (albeit, taxable).

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I’m sharing my complete story so you understand what’s in shop if you, too, choose to handle the CRA.

The origin of my tax conflict can be traced back to March 12,2020 I had Toronto Maple Leafs tickets for that night’s video game versus the Nashville Predators, and my boy was to satisfy me downtown after work for the video game. Things would considerably alter: that afternoon, the NHL suspended all video games due to COVID-19 and our workplaces shut down that night for what would turn out to be numerous months.

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As of March 13, I started working from house full-time, utilizing an extra bed room as my brand-new workplace. I subtracted some home-office expenditures for the very first time in my profession when I submitted my 2020 income tax return.

Employees who are working from house due to the pandemic have 2 techniques to declare work-from-home expenditures: the short-lived flat rate approach ($ 2 each day, as much as $500 in 2022) and the comprehensive approach, where staff members tally up the real expenditures sustained and assign them on a “sensible basis” to figure out the part associated to work usage. This is usually done by dividing the work space location by the house’s overall completed square metres (consisting of corridors, restrooms, kitchen areas, and so on).

Expenses consist of energies, house web, lease, upkeep and small repair work expenses, and workplace products. You can’t subtract home mortgage payments, capital spending or devaluation (capital expense allowance), and just commissioned-based workers can subtract their real estate tax and house insurance coverage.

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In my case, the in-depth technique showed to be the much better alternative, however it suggested needing to corroborate each and every expenditure in case the CRA wished to “examine” my return, which is precisely what occurred.

In August 2021, I got a ” evaluation letter” from the CRA requesting for more info about different products on my return, including my claim for the digital news membership tax credit, evidence that I made a little political contribution and, a lot of considerably, assistance for my work-from-home work cost claim.

The CRA desired a copy of my signed T2200, Declaration of Conditions of Employment, and a “comprehensive breakdown of the quantity declared and the supporting files.” It likewise requested a copy of my T777, Statement of Employment Expenses, and a breakdown of how I computed the portion of the expenditures I might subtract, and “a copy of the layout of the house with the office.”

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I didn’t have a copy of my house layout, however I was quite conservative with my price quote, declaring less than 10 percent of my overall house expenditures for using my office. I prepared a comprehensive schedule of my regular monthly hydro, gas and web costs, total with dates and quantities utilizing downloaded info from my electronic banking.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to validate my claim. My $75 digital news credit and political contribution were permitted, however my home-office costs were rejected in their totality as I obviously did not send out adequately detailed info to corroborate my claim. This was verified in a January 2022 official reassessment.

I paid the reassessed tax for 2020 to stop the day-to-day compounding of non-deductible, financial obligations interest from being charged and, in February 2022, submitted an official Notice of Objection. I sent out the CRA PDF copies of all my month-to-month 2020 declarations from each energy supplier, amounting to 89 pages of paperwork, to validate my claim. And after that I waited. And waited.

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Periodically, I would go on the internet to the CRA’s My Account page and check under the Progress Tracker to see if any action had actually been taken. After numerous months, the status was upgraded online: an initial evaluation of my objection was performed, and it was identified to be of “ medium intricacy

Medium intricacy earnings tax objections fixed in August 2022 were finished in approximately 283 days from the date the objection was sent. That was too wish for me to wait, so I exercised my right to appeal straight to the Tax Court, which can be done 90 days after submitting a notification of objection if the CRA hasn’t reacted already.

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In late May 2022, I submitted my appeal and was informed my case would be heard in Toronto “at the very first readily available chance.” I was thrilled and positive. Other than a couple of parking tickets in the 1990 s, I ‘d never ever been to court prior to so I had to prepare. I rewatched 12 Angry Men and My Cousin Vinny. I was now prepared for court.

But my day in court was not to be. Soon after submitting my appeal, I got a call from a friendly CRA lawsuits officer who stated he had actually evaluated my file and was prepared to permit all my work-from-home expenditures, conserve for $99 I rapidly concurred.

A week later on, he had me sign a grant judgment, which was later on accredited by a Tax Court judge. On Sept. 14, I got my brand-new Notice of Reassessment, in addition to a direct deposit of my tax refund and interest.

I truly was eagerly anticipating my day in court. Maybe another time.

Jamie Golombek, CPA, CA, CFP, CLU, TEP, is the handling director, Tax & Estate Planning with CIBC Private Wealth in Toronto. Jamie.Golombek@cibc.com


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