Those who attended a recent event in Truro learned more about their rights when dealing with Canada Revenue Agency.
When taxpayers’ ombudsman Sherra Profit spoke at a Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce breakfast on Aug. 30 she discussed the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights and what actions can be taken by people who feel they’ve been denied those rights.
“We opened 1,920 complaint files last year, and we also have systemic examinations,” she said. “Issues most frequently raised are delays in processing personal tax and benefit returns and adjustment requests, unclear and inconsistent information provided by agents answering inquiries lines, and lack of fairness.”
The office of the ombudsman isn’t designed for appeals, but provides independent reviews of service-related complaints and systemic issues.
“We want to help the CRA improve its services and increase awareness of taxpayer rights and what redress mechanisms there are,” said Profit. “When there’s a complaint, we look at everything and try to find a resolution.”
She said that although people often say they want to be treated the same as everyone else, that really isn’t the case, as individual circumstances need to be taken into consideration.
“When we find issues affecting a large number of people we work at resolving them, and that’s where we can do a lot of good work,” she stated.
The office has completed and published 12 systemic examination reports and provided 57 recommendations. The reports are online at https://www.canada.ca/en/taxpayers-ombudsman.html
Profit is the second taxpayers’ ombudsman. She took on the five-year non-renewable position in July 2015.
The ombudsman’s office can be contacted at 1-866-586-3839 from Canada and the U.S. From outside of North America, it can be reached at 1-613-946-2310.
Taxpayers’ service rights:
Taxpayers have eight service rights, outlined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which govern a person’s relationship with the Canada Revenue Agency.
- the right to be treated professionally, courteously, and fairly;
- the right to complete, accurate, clear, and timely information from the CRA;
- the right to lodge a service complaint and to be provided with an explanation of the CRA findings;
- the right to have the costs of compliance taken into account when tax legislation is administered;
- the right to expect the CRA to be accountable;
- the right to expect the CRA to publish service standards and report annually;
- the right to expect the CRA to warn you about questionable tax schemes in a timely manner;
- the right to be represented by a person of your choice.