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

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, left, joined Rob Douglas, right, NDP candidate for the Cowichan Valley in the upcoming provincial election, on a tour to meet people in Lake Cowichan on Oct. 16 and discuss local issues. (Robert Barron/Citizen) Douglas’s campaign continued to pull out all the stops with a visit on Sunday from Premier John Horgan for some spearfishing in Duncan. (Submitted)
Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh visits Lake Cowichan

Rob Douglas, NDP’s candidate for Cowichan Valley, joins him

Duncan-based author Jennifer Manuel took home the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for her first novel, The Heaviness of Things that Float, at the 33rd Annual BC Book Prizes. She will be part of an online reading session on Oct. 22, 2020, featuring Cowichan Valley writers. (Submitted photo)
Cowichan Valley authors to be featured in online readings Oct. 22

The Cowichan Valley Writers Spotlight will feature readings by eight area writers

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

Fuller Lake Arena change rooms only opened up again on Monday, but only for putting on skates and not shower use. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Fuller Lake Arena change rooms only opened up again on Monday, but only for putting on skates and not shower use. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Unusual season of minor hockey slowly taking shape in Cowichan

Teams doing a lot of practicing right now while awaiting the possibility of games

Lee Porteous will be one of the performers at the Duncan Showroom’s storytelling event later this month. (Photo Submitted)
Duncan Showroom hosts storytellers series

Monthly shows will be broadcast live on YouTube

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. sees record-breaking daily COVID infections with 499 new cases over weekend

Two people, both in the Lower Mainland, died due to the virus over the weekend

(Pixabay)
Wave of racist emails ‘unleashed’ on B.C. researchers investigating racism in health care

The team has received close to 600 calls and emails since the investigation started in July

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

(File photo)
RCMP: Two men face charges in reported Parksville fatal hit-and-run

Investigation into man’s death began in August of 2019

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Steven Michael Bacon pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder of Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang. (Photos submitted)
Accused pleads not guilty in Nanaimo teen’s 2017 murder

Steven Bacon appeared in Nanaimo court Monday via video link from Thunder Bay

Most Read