Canada Revenue Agency income tax debt can be crippling when your payments fall behind. Interest and penalties accrue at an alarming rate, and what starts off as a small debt can grow into something a lot more difficult to pay.

Income tax debt is much more serious than other types of debt because the Canada Revenue Agency has many more resources to collect the money from you, as opposed to regular creditors such as banks and finance companies. Banks and finance companies must take you to court and obtain a judgment against you before they can take any legal enforcement action. The Canada Revenue Agency does not.

When income tax debt is owed, it is a demand debt and the Canada Revenue Agency will demand to be paid in full. Very seldom will the Canada Revenue Agency consider making a voluntary payment plan arrangement with a consumer or a small business. If they do, they will request full financial disclosure, including your banking and employment information. This is done to ensure that if you can’t honour the payments, they know where to go to attach a lien or garnishment.

The financial disclosure is also used to determine your cash flow. They will not consider monthly payments that you have to make to other creditors, such as credit card companies and loan providers. They will deduct your basic living expenses from your income and they will want to be paid what’s left. For most individuals, this is unrealistic and results in total destruction to the consumer’s credit rating.

Outside of the financial implications of a tax debt, other problems can arise. The stress associated with a tax debt can cause medical problems like depression and anxiety. In extreme cases, individuals have even contemplated suicide when the stress of having an income tax debt to the Canada Revenue Agency proved to be too much to handle.

Similar to dealing with other debt problems, an outstanding income tax debt can also cause a strain on relationships. When financial problems emerge they can cause otherwise happy couples to have major problems. Wage garnishments sent to employers by the Canada Revenue Agency can cause unbelievable embarrassment and are very difficult to stop once they are in place.

If you have an income tax debt, the most important thing to do is attack it; don’t ignore it. It will not go away by itself. Ignoring it will eventually result in the Canada Revenue Agency taking collection and enforcement action against you.

There are resources available to individuals and businesses that are struggling with a tax debt. These resources generally do not involve bankruptcy. There are Federal Government programs available to help individuals and businesses that have tax debt. Do not attempt to negotiate with the Canada Revenue Agency yourself, as this could have dangerous consequences. Instead, work with agencies that have access to Federal Government programs and experience negotiating with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Goldenberg is the founder and President of DebtCare Canada. DebtCare Canada helps people who struggle with financial problems. For more information about Michael or the services offered by DebtCare please visit, or call 416-907-2582.