More Rights For The Canadian Tax Payer

Taxpayers bill of rights 

New Taxpayer Right

It is not too often that we seem to get good Canada tax news, but it would appear as though the Canadian Government wants to create a better relationship with tax payers. As many of you know we do have a document called the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Up until now it was thought that this document contained all that was needed by way of fair protection when it came to the taxpayer. It would seem that this is not quite right since the Harper Government has just announced a new right that is to be added to this Taxpayer Bill of Rights, where now a person can lodge a service complaint and request a formal review without fear of repercussions.

This is a little confusing. Is this saying that this is what happened in the past for those individuals who asked for a formal review? That by doing so, they were subjecting themselves to some form of retribution? This concern was quickly covered during an announcement that took place amongst a group of Government officials that included The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Mr. J. Paul Dubé, the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman, and Roxanne James, Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre.

The Taxpayers Ombudsman said that it had been brought to his attention there were concerns amongst taxpayers that reprisal could occur in their future if they were to request a review, although there was no evidence that this had actually occurred. Based on his findings he felt that this new addition to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights would put this concern to rest.

It is natural for the average individual to be concerned about this sort of reprisal even without there being any direct evidence that this has occurred. Many individuals are hesitant to challenge the Government just based on their mere size and power. There has always been the old adage that “you can’t fight the government.” It seems that the Harper government is set on changing this way of thinking and do not view a review of taxes or complaint as a fight but as a resource to taxpayers that feel they have been treated unfairly.

Potential tax problems certainly can be reduced by starting off on the right foot and using the services of professionals like Toronto tax accountants to get the taxes done right in the first place, and then use them to assist in sorting out any discrepancies.

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Sam Seidman, CPA, CA, LPA
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