Just How Difficult are the Canada Tax Laws?
Perhaps you have attempted in the past to do your own taxes and just gave up, because even with the guidelines you just couldn’t decipher each and every line. Or maybe you assumed that the tax guide you used to get with your tax return package was the absolute law and every word was part of legislature.
If you are thinking that you are just an average person and don’t have the smarts for being able to decipher all of the tax data then be aware there are many people that may have a much higher education than you, have a good knowledge of tax law, or be great in business, but still have a great deal of difficulty deciphering the Canada tax law.
The CRA doesn’t gather material into guides and self help pamphlets to try and fool you or misrepresent the law. They do this in an attempt to assist you with as clear as explanation as possible so you can be independent in knowing what your tax obligations are.
What you have to realize however, that all of this material is summarized from the actual tax code, that is totally written in legal jargon. These materials that you receive are the CRA’s interpretation of the laws. In most cases they may be right, but not always, and this is why we have Canada tax courts which determine whose interpretation of a tax matter is right if there is a discrepancy between a tax payer and the CRA.
Throughout your perusal of tax guide information you may come across what is called ITs. These are formally known as Income Tax Interpretation Bulletins. The CRA has made it known that these specific types of information are more applicable for departmental staff, tax specialists and other interested in a specific area of tax. What this tells us that even those working for the CRA may have difficulty understanding specific areas of the law and need an even further explanation which these IT’s provide. In the same sense it is also pointed out that these technical interpretations do not replace the law.
What all of this means to you is one if you don’t think that an experienced tax accountant has additional knowledge of the tax law, and there is no point in using their services, then this explains how difficult taxes can be. Secondly it also points out that the interpretation of the tax laws can be so complex that it doesn’t always mean the CRA is right all of the time. If you have a valid discrepancy with the CRA you have the option of going through the tax system to get the final interpretation of the tax code all the way up through the Courts of Canada.