Are You Going to Discover a Lien Against Your Property by the CRA?

tax lien

Perhaps you have been having difficulty paying a fairly large debt to the CRA and it has gone on for a while now.   You haven’t been able to come to a satisfactory agreement with the tax department in order to deal with your tax responsibility.   Basically, you have just thrown up your hands in defeat and taken on, let the cards fall where they may, sort of attitude.   Everything seems quiet though, and recently they have not been badgering you for money, or you have just been ignoring it.

You have gotten to the point where you are so overwhelmed with constantly being in debt and maybe it isn’t just a tax debt you have, but several others.   You don’t have much of an income and the only two options you have is either go bankrupt, or sell your home which you have a fair amount of equity in, and clear off all your debts and start new.

You decide the selling of your home is your best option.   Then all of a sudden when you get an offer on your home you discover that there is a lien on it!   It happens to have been put there by the CRA.

Now this may sound a little dramatic, and most likely you did receive notice that a Certificate has been registered in the Federal Court.    It may be you ignored this notice and didn’t even open thinking it was just another demand to pay.

Don’t panic, because you still own title to your property, but what this means is that the CRA can stop sale or even refinancing of your home until you make arrangements with them that the money you owe them will be paid out of the sale or the re-financing.    The money owed would be paid directly to the CRA.   Once this is done then the title will be cleared of the lien.

What you really need to understand is that the CRA has a lot of power and they are intent on collecting.    The collection process can be very slow and if it came down to where they registered a Writ of Seizure and Sale then you could virtually stand to lose your home.    They would have the power to sell it to clear the tax debt, and you can bet they are not going to hold up a sale to get the highest amount.   Their interest is only in recouping what you owe them, and not putting any extra money in your pocket from the forced sale.

The moral of this sometimes very true story is don’t mess around with your tax debt.   It is not going to go away and the situation is only going to get worse.

Start by consulting with a good accountant that has experience in dealing with tax arrears.   This expert can discuss with you your options, and perhaps help you deal directly with the CRA explaining your financial circumstances to them as they really are. Payment arrangement may possibly be made then and you are no longer avoiding the situation.   This is the biggest issue with the CRA when they are under the impression that the delinquent tax payer is simply avoiding paying taxes.


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Sam Seidman, CPA, CA, LPA
629 Sheppard Avenue West
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 2S3

Telephone: (416) 398-1700
Fax: (416) 398-6226

Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant, Licensed Public Accountant


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