B.C. couple stunned with $8,900 tax bill

Local family had to prove children exist, audited for in-home nannies

Rishi and Amy Sharma in Gordon Head were shocked earlier this year when they received an adjusted tax bill for the 2016 tax year from Canada Revenue Agency that said they owed $8,943 and change.

The main problem was that CRA dismissed the Sharmas’ childcare claims of more than $18,000, among other factors.

“Amy has two jobs, we try to ensure everything is by the book,” said Rishi, a government manager. “When we get a bill for $8000, I’m like, ‘Holy shoot, you kidding me?’”

What really set the Sharmas over the top was the eight-month, back-and-forth rigmarole to try and prove their tax claims, Rishi said.

First, the couple had to prove their children existed. “Children who have had SIN numbers since birth,” Amy said.

“The process was ridiculous,” she added. “You call the number at the bottom of the letter, they answer, ‘sorry, we don’t deal with this.’ You’re constantly bounced from one place to another.”

Eventually, CRA confirmed the Sharmas have children. But CRA still didn’t accept the childcare expenses, Rishi said.

“But you can’t call anyone to get a straight answer, or just some help,” Rishi added.

The childcare expenses came down to the use of in-house nannies that CRA needed better proof of.

READ ALSO: Canadians tuning out real CRA agents because of CRA phone scammers

It was understandable, but took a long time and could have been easily explained, Rishi said.

“We hire locally, they’re usually students who come and go, and they travel. So it was cumbersome. One was traveling in Australia and New Zealand, one was in Vancouver, we don’t keep in contact with the nannies after they’re gone.”

Each one submitted a signed letter that they’d received the claimed money for child care.

As of last week, the tax bill had been reduced from $8,300 to a little more than $3,000 with the Sharmas’ accountant telling them the rest of the bill should also be reduced, Rishi said.

At one point, Rishi was so frustrated with the process he called the office of the signatory whose name is on the letters they keep getting, Bob Hamilton, commissioner of the CRA.

Someone in his office answered but said, “‘Sorry, we don’t deal with that, why are you calling us, this is the wrong department.’” Rishi said. “I said, because ‘his name is on the letter.’ So something is completely screwed up here, it’s 2018. Why is this so difficult.”

All the while, however, interest was accumulating.

“It’s very scary, very stressful, and very frustrating,” Rishi said. “All this information is due in a little amount of time, the letter is very threatening, it says we face penalties and interest.

“We need to fix the system so we can have more of a conversation with someone. Someone we can say, ‘We’re sorry, just explain what we need to do, so we can do it.’ This has taken eight months and we do end up with an accounting bill.”

reporter@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ucluelet releases COVID-19 Recovery Plan

Part of the recovery plan involves deploying three district staff as COVID-19 Community Monitors

Tofino mayor urges “kindness” as tourism reopens

“Health and safety matters to everyone.”

Resorts in Tofino and Ucluelet prepare to reopen in June

“We need to get the tourist economy in our communities back up and running.”

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve plans limited reopening on June 4

The Park Reserve shut down on March 18 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Pacific Rim Hospice Society gifting free wellness “check-ins” to all West Coast residents

“This pandemic has led to a lot of isolation and it’s helpful for anybody just to have a soundboard.”

Vancouver Island bride held wedding in seniors home so dying stepdad could walk her down aisle

Ceremony held amidst pandemic in order to fulfill bride’s wish to have stepdad give her away

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

COVID-19 cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a B.C. mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Yukon ready to lift COVID travel restrictions with B.C. in July: premier

Premier Sandy Silver says the territory’s health-care system can cope with the virus.

‘It is dire:’ Study finds B.C. logging continues on critical caribou habitat

The federal Species At Risk Act requires provinces to identify critical habitat for caribou herds

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Telegraph Cove Resort will open June 1 to self-contained campers only

Washrooms, showers and all other amenities will remain closed for now

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

Most Read