Coming Clean with the CRA – Voluntary Disclosure Program

When you were paid in cash, did you fail to declare your income? Have you deducted any personal expenses from your income? Have you made a mistake when calculating your taxes?

Have you been scammed by a shady tax preparer? Have there been any amounts that have gone unnoticed that should have been reported? Or you simply misread or misinterpreted the law?

If you responded yes to any of the above questions, or if you haven’t filed your taxes, the CRA’s Voluntary Disclosure Program may be the best option for you.

What is the Voluntary Disclosure Program about?

Basically, Voluntary Disclosure Program or VDP allows you to file back taxes without having to incur any penalty. It grants relief on a case-by-case basis to taxpayers and registrants who voluntarily come forward to fix errors or omissions in their tax filings before CRA knows or contacts them about it. 

To Qualify for the Voluntary Disclosure Program

Because the Voluntary Disclosure Program can be challenging, you should seek professional guidance before proceeding.

There are three main conditions that must be met in order to qualify for the Voluntary Disclosure Program:

  1. It has to be voluntary – The CRA couldn’t possibly have contacted you already in order to obtain your tax returns.
  2. You must have more than one year’s worth of unfiled taxes or returns – Ensure that you know how many years you must file for.
  3. The information must be almost entirely correct and complete – You must understand exactly what you must file and for how long.

Anonymous Application

A voluntary disclosure application can be filed in two ways. The first is to reveal your identity, while the second is to remain anonymous. Your tax professional will assist you in determining which option is best for you.

Many taxpayers are hesitant to provide the CRA any information, especially if they haven’t filed in years. Fortunately, the Voluntary Disclosure Program has a clause that allows you to file an anonymous application. This will ensure that your information is secure, and the CRA will only be able to obtain information from you if you disclose it to them. We speak the CRA’s language because we do it all the time. You are not required to participate in the process other than to provide us with information. And we’ll handle everything else with the CRA on your behalf.

You have 90 days from the time your application is authorized to submit all of your returns or documents to the CRA. This allows us adequate time to complete all of the necessary tasks so that your claim may be submitted on time.

If the CRA is yet to contact you, make sure that you get the right help with this disclosure. It’s not something you want to tackle on your own. If you’re still unsure and you want some guidance, make sure you contact us and we can look at all the facts and determine the best way to move forward for you.