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Never Say Never, and Never Give Up!

December 01, 2013 | Written by: Diane Potter, EA
Pyramid made of wooden cubes with message "Never Give Up"
My story began in May of 2011 when the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) was inquiring about the education expenses of my member. He lives in Canada and was taking online classes at University of Phoenix to earn his MBA. We had all necessary documents with the exception of Form TL11A, Tuition, Education, and Textbook amount certificate, which must be completed by the university. After going around and around with the University of Phoenix, their attorneys would not give them permission to fill out this form, which is a requirement by CRA to get this credit.

The CRA has special rules when you are taking online classes that make it somewhat difficult to qualify. The student must participate in regularly scheduled interactive virtual classroom type sessions. Proving this can be difficult, however, the record keeping system that the University of Phoenix has in place was perfect and provided just what we needed. If you did not attend when you were supposed to, you were dropped from the class.

We provided the taxpayer’s transcript of classes, enrollment verification, a copy of the University of Phoenix expectations and regulations for students, tuition, fees, and proof of payment. The only thing we were missing was the completed Form TL11A.

After being denied several times, we filed an objection with the CRA, similar to an appeals conference in the United States. We had found someone who understood the circumstances and allowed the credit. Success! The taxpayer received his refund.

But the story does not end there. Since we were able to get the credit for 2010, the taxpayer wanted to pursue getting the same credit for 2009, as he had previously been denied the credit and had not pursued it at that time. Come to find out, the deadline had passed to contest this. But he had a membership for Audit Defense, so we went to bat for him again.

We filed an objection based on the fact that the taxpayer was not aware that he could have objected earlier. Again, we had all of the required documentation with the exception of the Form TL11A. After denial because we missed the statute of limitations, we weren’t sure if we should continue or give in. We decided that the taxpayer would appeal to the Tax Court on his own. His day in court came, and although the case was thrown out of court, the taxpayer was in touch with an officer of the court, who promised the taxpayer if he submitted his documents again, he would make sure that they would be viewed by the right department for reconsideration.

We submitted the documents again through the officer of the court, and he forwarded them to the correct reassessment department. We received a couple more denial letters. Then, on August 7, 2013, we received what appeared to be another denial letter. At this point I had little hope that we would get this through the system. The letter stated that his information had been sent for taxpayer relief to the appropriate department. I hadn’t seen that statement before so I just assumed it was over and that we should give up.

Yesterday I received an email that the credit was approved and the member had received his refund. The moral to the story is, never say never, and never give up!

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