Taxes are already stressful, but the threat of an audit makes it that much worse. It doesn’t help that there are so many myths and falsehoods floating around there about audits. Here are the 5 most common ones that we’ve debunked.
Myth 1: Filing Online Increases Your Chance Of Being Audited
There is no evidence that backs up this up. This myth stems from the fact that when you file online you can’t file paper recipes or tax slips. That means that when the CRA needs these documents they will send a request for them. Many people interpret this as an audit when in fact it’s nothing more than a simple routine verification. Filing online is actually great because there are fewer errors and you get your returns quicker.
Myth 2: Amending Your Taxes Means Getting Audited
Most people file an amendment when they realize they have made an error, put in a wrong figure, or forgot to add something. Some people won’t file amendments though because they are worried this will increase their risk of an audit. An amendment will be screened, but so are your initial taxes. This is a chance to explain what mistake you made. This can actually help you avoid an audit.
Myth 3: The CRA Will Show Up At Your Door
Here’s the thing, the CRA can show up at your door but they only do that after sending you a notice and scheduling an appointment. In some audit cases, they need to inspect one’s home and or workspace. Most audits take place entirely through the mail, though. If anyone contacts you online or shows up claiming to be the CRA and you haven’t received a written letter then it’s probably a scam.
Myth 4: Getting Audited Means You Did Something Illegal
People have this perception that people only get audited when they do something illegal. Sometimes that’s true, but in most cases, people get audited because of simple mistakes. Hiring an accountant is a good way to avoid this.
Besides errors, there are a ton of other reason people get audited. It could be a secondary audit, your business might have made more than the average, or the CRA could dispute the one portion of a claim you made. An audit is a chance to argue your case, not that you immediately did something wrong. Sometimes the CRA even audits at random. Audits are stressful enough without the stigma.
Myth 5: Audits Are Horrible Experiences
This myth stems from a history of truth. In the past, tax agencies were cruel, ruthless, and unnecessarily harsh. They earned a reputation that has stuck long after serious changes were undertaken. Today, the CRA is more focused on working with people rather than against them. An audit isn’t pleasant but it doesn’t have to be horrible. To make an audit go as smooth as possible by being cooperative, compliant, and honest. Hire a chartered accountant to help you out if you’re too scared to do it on your own.
Audits are stressful and can be scary but they’re not the end of the world. Honesty goes a long way when it comes to an audit. Contact us today if you need help with your taxes or an audit.