It’s everyone’s least favourite time of year: tax season. But for one Canadian barista, this time of year comes with a little extra baggage. CBC just shared a story dating back to 2018, when B.C. teen Alina Bukatova had all the money in her bank account seized after the Canadian Revenue Agency thought she owed over $8 million in taxes. Yikes!
So here’s how it all went down. At the time, Bukatova was making around $17,000 at her job at a coffee shop. She filed her 2018 taxes through a well-known tax preparation chain and, at the time, didn’t see any errors on the paperwork. When she received a notice of assessment claiming she owed over $8 million, the number seemed so ludicrous she assumed it was a thinly veiled scam.
It’s critical to double-check your tax forms this year, with more numbers to enter for millions of Canadians on top of their standard form, because the CRA expects COVID-19 emergency and recovery benefits to be reported on tax returns.https://t.co/VGJOArYVDj
— CBC British Columbia (@cbcnewsbc) March 15, 2021
Along with the physical notice of assessment, she also received a few phone calls from the CRA hoping to track her down for the money. Most Canadians have heard warnings about the infamous “CRA phone scam” so like many others would do in the situation, Bukatova ignored the calls.
That is, until the Canadian Revenue Agency seized her bank account and took the approximate $6,000 she had to her name. With that deduction she still seemingly owed $8,329,413.06 and she finally turned to a professional for help.
Of course, it didn’t take long for accountant Phil Hogan to realize there was a serious error and to correct it. Although to this day no one involved knows has figured out exactly what went wrong, it’s clear the CRA thought that her income was in the $17 million range, instead of $17,000.
All’s well that ends well and Bukatova’s finances are back in order. But we can only imagine what a scare it was for her at the time. The story serves as a stark reminder to double, triple, quadruple check your taxes as you file them this season.
For more information on what to expect if the CRA contacts you, you can check out the official tip page here.