An Open Letter to the Canada Revenue Agency

Dear Canada Revenue Agency:
Pour l’Agence du revenu du Canada:

In 2013 you sent me a letter kindly asking for my 2011 and 2012 tax returns. In response, I called your agency and informed you that I have been living in Japan since 2010 and that my subsequent income in Canada has been negligible. You verified that this was true and requested I send you a written notice to this effect. I did.

This year you have now sent me two letters to my Japanese address, requesting my 2013 tax return. I’m somewhat baffled by this. Obviously you are still aware that I am living in Japan. You must somehow think that I have acquired a secret source of income in Canada. If this is the case (you seem to be able to verify these things on your own) I would love to hear about it. I’m a little strapped for cash at the moment.

It seems that I have no alternative now but to send you yet another letter detailing the exact same information I have already given you, as you appear to have saved nothing from the previous letter other than my current mailing address.

For the record, I am not currently living in Canada. I have no income in Canada. The total sum of money I have in Canada would not be enough to cover Prime Minister Harper’s teeth whitening, let alone register as taxable income. When I do return to Canada, I will be sure to inform you, as I will be returning penniless, as a student, and I will most assuredly need you to be keeping very diligent account of all the money you will owe me at that time.

You Won’t Let Me Vote, But You Still Hassle Me For Taxes


15 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Canada Revenue Agency

  1. I went through something similar a few years ago. I’d been in Japan for 2 years at the time, they sent me a letter saying I didn’t file my taxes. I called them, telling them I was not a resident of Canada, had no Canadian income, and therefore had nothing for them to tax. They confirmed it and said the letter was actually sent to many people by mistake. I have heard nothing since. Seems they remembered I’m not in Canada. It’s been 8 years since that letter.

    • Damn! Well, at least I’m not the only one. This letter is threatening penalties and fines if… I don’t tell them what I already told them. Having worked in a paper in, paper out job before, I know how easy it is to lose information in an automated process but they sent it to Japan. That didn’t raise any eyebrows with anyone involved in the mailing process?

      • I’d think it’d be pretty odd to demand taxes from someone who doesn’t live in Canada, not to mention someone who hasn’t had income in Canada for quite some time. But then, I’ve encountered government workers who didn’t seem to know what they were talking about.

    • I was really polite and prompt the first time it happened. I called them, then called the additional number they gave me, AND sent the letter they requested. WTH?! If you’re sending me a letter in Japan, I’m probably still living in Japan guys. SMH. This is why desk jobs need to be more exciting. People just put themselves on auto-pilot and sleep through their day. I should know, I had a job like this before. 😦

  2. Thanks for my laugh of the day. 🙂 Don’t you just love bureaucrats? It sounds like they’re desperate for money and are hoping you’ll just send them some to avoid the annoyance of dealing with them.

    • Yeah. I actually had to look up if I actually owe them anything as an expat. Technically no. Aside from not filing an ‘exit tax return’ which would have been nill anyway, I don’t have any duty to them, as I don’t qualify as a Canadian resident anymore. It’s just frustrating, ’cause I thought I settled this with them over a year ago. If they wanted me to do something more, they should have said so back then. :/

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