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

BC Ferries sailings filling up Family Day Monday

More than 20 sailings added between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen for long weekend

The Music of Cream touring band more than a tribute act

Ginger Baker’s son Kofi, Clapton’s nephew Will joined by rock stalwarts for 50th anniversary tour

Nainamo grew faster than Greater Victoria in 2019

Other Vancouver Island communities also recorded growth, but at lower rates

Sidney faces rising capital costs around RCMP building

Town staff expect RCMP model to remain ‘cost effective’ option

VIDEO: Kawhi Leonard wins first Kobe Bryant All-Star MVP award

Leonard scored 30 points and hit eight 3-pointers to lead Team LeBron to a 157-155 victory

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

B.C. man released from quarantined cruise ship in Japan

Because Spencer Fehrenbacher has American citzensip, he was evacuated by the U.S.

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

Most Read