Letter: Livelihoods wait as CRA impounds 2012 tax returns
To the editor:
Over the last 10 months the Office of the Minister of National Revenue, has continually refused to take a position on the practice of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Winnipeg Tax Office, withholding the assessments of hundreds, if not, thousands of taxpayer’s 2012 Income Tax Returns.
Hundreds of taxpayers have written personally to the minister; three petitions from Profitable Giving Canada have been sent to the minister’s office, the last with approximately 1,500 signatures. This issue was addressed by the federal court in the Alice Ficek and the Attorney General of Canada case by the way of a Judicial Review completed May 13, 2013. The final judgment in that case states: “This Court Adjudges and Declares that for reasons given, the Respondent failed to assess the Applicant’s tax return with all due dispatch.”
There were a number of reasons given which addressed all specific issues and the court refuted all of the reasons that had been put forth by the CRA.
As a former auditor/appeals officer with Revenue Canada; before it was ultimately changed to the CRA; and as an income tax consultant assisting taxpayers in exercising their taxpayer bill of rights of the last 29 years; this is to advise and expound on just one of the reasons given by the courts in the case noted herein:
Namely: “Concerns of superiors at CRA in Ottawa: Head quarters has cautioned that there may be unintended effects on taxpayers rights where taxpayers may have rights to certain benefits under the Act, such as Child Tax Benefits and the Goods And Services Tax Credits, as these would be delayed until the assessment of the return.”
These consequences have now affected hundreds, if not thousands, of taxpayers due to the inaction of the office of the Minister of National Revenue.
This [the writer’s] office has not only represented a number of taxpayers regarding this issue; we have also addressed all of the issues in question in writing to Mr. Murray Rankin, Official Opposition Critic for National Revenue on Aug. 1, 2013; to Mr. Scott Brison, Liberal Finance and National Revenue Critic on July 30, 2013; and to Nancy Ricard, CRA service complaints, National Intake Centre on July 22, 2013.
Myself and a taxpayer whom I represented in this matter also met with Mr. Dan Albas, Member of Parliament in the summer of 2013. In addition, these issues were provided to our Finance Minister and it was his decision that the responsibility was that of another ministry. All of the specific issues addressed in the Ficek Case have been provided to all parties noted above during this summer of 2013 and there has been no response in this regard.
This obvious abuse of administrative authority practiced by the CRA and condoned, by all parties noted herein by their inaction, has now resulted in punitive actions by third parties. Examples are as follows:
Canadian taxpayers are now being refused mortgages on their homes by the banks because they do not have their 2012 Notice of Assessments from the CRA.
Canadian taxpayers are now prevented from obtaining personal or business loans to continue their livelihood for the same specific reason.
Canadian taxpayer’s are now being denied legitimate child tax benefits as well, for the exact same reason.
Senior citizens as well as others are being denied their Goods and Service Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax Credits as was the concern of superiors at the CRA in Ottawa as articulated herein.
Taxpayers in British Columbia have been advised that BC Health has stated that their deductible for Pharma Care has been increased to $10,000 as records indicate the CRA does not have a record of their 2012 tax filing.
These consequences noted above have already happened and it is so blatantly obvious that these will continue for thousands of Canadian taxpayers who have filed their 2012 Income Tax Returns in accordance with income tax law.
This has now surpassed the obvious abuse of administrative authority by the CRA; the obvious disregard for the Canadian taxpayer’s rights, by the office of the Minister of National Revenue as a result of their inaction.
The same lack of respect for taxpayer’s rights is indicated by the complete lack of response of others in the government as noted above.
These actions or inactions by all of the parties noted herein have now resulted in punitive actions taken by other third parties; i.e., banks, BC Health Care and more to come that actually prevent Canadian taxpayers not only from being treated legally and fairly by the CRA under the law but now are actually being prevented from participating in our economic system; some may well lose their homes and their livelihood as the results of actions by Canadian banks; fathers and mothers are denied their legitimate child tax credits; many Canadians are being denied federal and provincial tax credits.
In conclusion; all Canadians have the inherent right to participate in our economic system as outlined by income tax law; banking laws; provincial regulations and many other personal and business financial transactions conducted with third parties that are the basis of our rights as Canadians to pursue our livelihood and to our pursuit of happiness.
As a member of Profitable Giving Canada, I urge all affected taxpayers to join with us to do all we can to prevent our fundamental rights from being taken from us. This is much more than an income tax issue; it is actually leading to a breakdown of our entire system and preventing Canadians from being participants in that system.
From a personal viewpoint; throughout my early years I learned that, in Canada, we have government for the people by the people. The ramifications outlined herein cannot, in anyway, give any credence to that most fundamental principle. Moreover; given the opportunity of many government entities to actually respond to these issues over the last seven months on behalf of taxpayers gives credence to the idea that our system is, in fact, broken.
A simple directive from the Office of the Prime Minister could and would reverse these dire, punitive actions by directing those responsible to have the 2012 income tax returns assessed forthwith.
R. G. Allen,
income tax consultant,