Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Canadian Taxpayer’s Ombudsman

The prospect of doing battle with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) over a tax dispute is daunting. Often the taxpayer is under financial pressure, and trying to pay for lawyers in a fight with an organization with near limitless resources is a definite case of David vs. Goliath.

A potential ally in a battle with CRA is the Taxpayer’s Ombudsman who upholds the taxpayer’s eight service rights:

– 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; and
– the right to be represented by a person of your choice.

I’d like to hear from any readers who have tried to get help from the Taxpayer’s Ombudsman. Did you get your tax problem resolved in a timely and fair way?

3 comments:

  1. My brother-in-law is currently beginning the process of having the Taxpayer's Ombudsman look into a difficult financial matter for him. I'm curious to see the responses from everyone if this was effective or not.

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  2. I've only dealt with an ombudsman for a major Canadian bank when I did a brokerage transfer and one of the securities got lost. He was very polite and diligent in helping me, and ultimately it turned out the receiving institution had made the mistake, so I was chasing the wrong squirrel. Having ombudsmen is a very good idea.

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  3. @Canada: I'd be interested to hear your brother-in-law's impression of how useful this process is once he's been through it.

    @Gene: That sounds like one positive vote for a different ombudsman. It's no fun trying to solve a problem when two big organizations are blaming each other.

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