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CRA encourages flood-impacted Canadians to apply for taxpayer relief

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Province remains under state of emergency as third storm hits' B.C. floods: Province remains under state of emergency as third storm hits
WATCH: The third atmospheric river has now arrived on the B.C. coast and after days of frantic preparations, it's now a game of wait and see on Sumas Prairie in Abbotsford. Residents and crews are already dealing with rising water and localized flooding but two main factors are on everyone's mind how much rain will fall and will the dikes and sandbags hold? Emily Lazatin has the latest – Nov 30, 2021

The Canada Revenue Agency is encouraging flood-impacted Canadians to apply for taxpayer relief that could spare them from deadlines, penalties and interest as they grapple with disaster.

The CRA issued the notice Tuesday, as the third of of three back-to-back storms struck British Columbia, which is already reeling from the catastrophic floods of Nov. 14 and 15.

Communities in southwestern Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia were also struck by record-breaking storms last week, and additional rainfall is expected Tuesday.

Read more: Damage from B.C., Atlantic storms no easy fix, must be done quickly: experts

“The CRA understands that at this time, the safety and well-being of loved ones is the primary concern for those affected,” the agency said in a press release.

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“The CRA wants to ensure that Canadians facing such extraordinary circumstances will be treated fairly if they are unable to meet their tax obligations during this time.”

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Soaking up ideas: How ‘sponge cities’ can absorb water, prevent flooding – Nov 29, 2021

Flood-impacted residents, business owners and first responders can apply for the CRA’s taxpayer relief program, which grants relief from penalty or interest at the minister of finance’s “discretion” under “extraordinary circumstances.”

They can apply for that relief when they’ve been assessed by the CRA or charged penalties or interest, CRA spokesperson Gurm Kundan told Global News.

Read more: Abbotsford, B.C. sets all-time November rainfall record with 540 mm

“A taxpayer has 10 years from the end of the calendar year in which the tax year or fiscal period at issue ended to make a request for the cancellation of penalties and interest to the CRA,” he said by email.

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“When applying, it is important that taxpayers provide the CRA with a complete and accurate description of the circumstances explaining how they were prevented from meeting their tax obligations.”

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B.C. flooding catastrophe expected to be Canada’s costliest disaster – Dec 1, 2021

Taxpayers may also wish to enrol for direct deposit with the CRA instead of received mail cheques, the CRA added, as they may experience postage delays.

Anyone with debt who requires assistance at this time can also contact the CRA’s debt management call centre at 1-888-863-8657 for support.

April 30 is the deadline for filing taxes in Canada this year. The federal government did not prolong the deadline in 2021 as it did when the COVID-19 pandemic first struck in 2020.

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