Income Tax Audits: How Long Do I Have to File An Objection?

If you have filed your income taxes in Canada and have received a notice of Assessment, Re-Assessment, Determination, or Redetermination, you or your representative are allowed to file an objection in order to dispute them.

It is wise to take some time to gather all relevant facts, documentation, and reasons for your dispute. However, there is a set time limit to file your dispute as an individual. You can file either online or by mail using Form T400A. How soon your dispute is addressed and assigned to an appeals officer depends on the level of complexity involved.

income tax audit

What Is The Time Limit?

There are two potential deadline dates that you may need to remember, depending on your circumstance:

  1. April 30th or June 15th the year after you filed your personal income tax return, depending on your deadline date
    90 days after the Notice of Assessment, Re-Assessment, Determination, or Re-Determination is sent — this can be either the date on the notice itself or the day that you received it.
  2. The deadline to file your objection is the later of these two dates. It all depends on how long it took the initial audit to take place — if it happens not long after you file your income taxes, you could have several months. If it happens close to a year or more after the tax deadline, you will at least have around three months. If there is any confusion about what the exact deadline date is for your specific circumstances, you can clarify it with your representative or a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) representative.

Are There Any Exceptions To That Time Limit?

If you did not file your objection within either of the two deadline dates, you may fear that you are completely out of luck. Thankfully, that isn’t necessarily the case. The CRA allows for some exceptional circumstances so you can apply for a time extension so you or your representative can still file your objection. Here are some of the allowable circumstances for which you can file for a time extension:

  • You had a “bona fide” intention of filing the objection on time
  • Your application for an objection was made as soon as was practical in your circumstances
  • The circumstances for why you could not file your objection on time or have someone do it for you are justifiably outside of your control

It should be noted that the courts are very strict when it comes to granting an extension, especially for the final point, and determining that circumstances really were outside of your control. There is also a time limit on filing for an extension, however, as all applications for an extension must be filed within one year of your original deadline to submit an objection.

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