5 Years of past due Canadian tax returns.


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Phil Hogan, CPA, CA, CPA (CO)
Cross-Border Tax and Investment Specialist


Hi, I hope you can help.

I’ve neglected to file my Canadian taxes for the last 5 years (please no lecture thanks….I know I’ve been bad)…

I’m self employed and I’m finally caught up with all my bookkeeping records. I’ll be taxable in 2007 to 2009 and not taxable in prior years. To top it off I’ve just incorporated my business (yoga instructor) and I need to file for 2010 corporate year end.

How should I handle the past due returns? A colleague of mine suggested that I file the returns with a voluntary disclosure to avoid possible penalties. I’m not quite sure how to proceed.

Any thought or advice?






If you don’t owe any taxes for any years prior to 2007 I suggest simply filing those delinquent tax returns as is. For 2007, 2008 and 2009 it’s a different story. These returns are taxable and as such you will be assessed a penalty if they are filed. You should file under CRA’s voluntary disclosure program for these years as long as CRA has yet to contact you with respect to the past due returns.

You can read more about CRA’s voluntary disclosure process here.

Give me a call and we can discuss your situation in more detail including filing your corporate tax return.



Phil Hogan, CA


  1. My partner hasn’t filed his taxes in many years (I think 10+). He is 38 and has worked in the restaurant industry since his early twenties. This situation worries me a lot and I really want it to be taken care of this year, even if it means owing a significant amount of money. I am concerned about deciding how much he should be declaring in tips, as there does not seem to be a consistent standard and of course he has never kept track. Because he is behind by so many years, I am particularly worried that this will draw extra attention to him, so making realistic estimates of his tips may be more important. I am also curious to find out more information about the voluntary disclosure program. He has no memory of ever being contacted by the CRA, but they easily could have sent notices to an old address and, if so, he would not qualify. I want to know if there’s a way to find out whether the CRA has taken any compliance action against him without drawing unnecessary attention before we are ready to file. Finally, I am wondering what the best way is obtain T4s from business that he worked at many years ago. Currently we only have papers copies of the last 3 years.

    I really appreciate any help you can offer.


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