On Your Side: T4 mistakes can turn to living nightmares
Published Thursday, April 12, 2012 4:40PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 7, 2012 2:40PM EDT
MONTREAL- Jennifer McKinley might not have imagined that she'd go from delivering the news to making the news, particularly based on the way she was paid.
McKinley rose before daybreak for three years to deliver the Montreal Gazette and obediently complied with the tax rules as she understood them.
Much to her surprise, a letter carrier brought her a note from Revenue Quebec that shocked her more than news she herself delivered.
It came in the form of a Revenue Quebec bill for around $13,000 in unpaid taxes for three years, including penalties and interest.
McKinley said that the problem started when she was instructed that the would receive no T-4 slips from her employer and was further told that she would not have to pay tax on what she earned tossing the morning news onto Montreal doorsteps.
She even demanded the T4 document from her employer, just to be sure.
"I had requested at the end of the year twice and they told me both times I didn't have to pay tax on it. So I believed them," said McKinley.
A Gazette representative said that carriers are considered independent contractors and are therefore not issued T4s, leaving it up to them to calculate what they owe in taxes.
"Now I'm stuck and charged penalties and interest for something I feel like it's not really my fault," said McKinley of the tax reassessment.
Catching T4 clerical errors
Meanwhile Angela Koernert endured a different sort of T4 tax boondoggle. She noticed that one of the boxes contained a number that was meant to be in another box on the form.
Had she not had some accounting background, she would never have spotted the error and would lost $1,700 in deductions.
The employers who made the error refused to issue Koernert a corrected T4 and Revenue Quebec was no help either.
"Basically they told me there was nothing I could do. I had to deal with the employer," said Koernert.
Eventually she succeeded in getting the company to issue her a corrected T4 and ended up saving almost $2,000 in taxes.
She learned that it pays to be vigilant when it comes to such T4s.
"Don't just assume it's correct," she said.
Jennifer McKinley is similarly wiser for her nightmare, which leaves her in serious debt.
"If someone's going to be paying you in a cheque and they tell you it's tax-free, I would question it," she said.