Own a business and owe the CRA? Don't try to avoid it.

By Andrew Rickard | May 24 2016 11:31AM

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is warning businesses with tax debt not to ignore it.

In a message posted to its web site on May 19, the CRA warns that business owners face both financial and legal consequences if they avoid paying the taxes they owe. The CRA points out that overdue taxes are charged interest at the prescribed rate (currently 5%), which is compounded daily on debts owing until they are paid in full.

Payment arrangements

The tax authorities are encouraging businesses to pay their debts online, describing it as the "quickest and easiest" way to discharge tax debts. If business owners cannot pay their debt in full at the moment, the CRA says it is willing to work with them to set up a payment arrangement.

It is possible for businesses to set up a pre-authorized debit agreement through the CRA's My Business Account web page, or they may contact the CRA and speak with an agent:

  • For individual tax debt: 1-888-863-8657
  • For GST/HST debt: 1-877-477-5068
  • For payroll tax debt: 1-877-548-6016
  • For corporation tax debt: 1-866-291-6346

"To help the CRA determine your ability to pay, you may have to give details of your financial situation and proof of your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities," reads the message. "You can do this by telephone or by filling out a financial questionnaire sent to you by a collections officer."