Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Canada to have Taxpayer's Ombudsman

I imagine this move will have the support of all parties! Although Revenue Canada seems honest enough even assuring interest when they have kept my money or owed me money.However,they are sometimes difficult tocontact. I have been having an issue over the GST. We are poor enough to get a rebate but Revenue Canada denies this. I have phoned their free line for days with only busy signals. I have sent them our returns to show that our family income is not as they claim above the cut off but all to no avail. They just sent me another bill wanting their payments back! I filed a complaint on line but that too has produced nothing but silence so far.
Every year for about the last five years I get audited for the same deduction I claim. Every year I duly send them the documentation and they allow it. On the other hand I have had occasions when the service has noted errors I have made and corrected them even though it is to my benefit not theirs.

Ottawa creates a 'taxpayers' ombudsman'
Last Updated: Monday, May 28, 2007 | 2:21 PM ET
CBC News
The federal Tories have created the position of taxpayers' ombudsman to oversee a new "bill of rights" that will govern how the Canada Revenue Agency deals with the public.

The government said the new position is aimed at increasing the tax department's accountability and service to the public, and giving Canadians "renewed assurance that they will be treated fairly, equitably, and with respect."

The first ombudsman will be chosen and the office will be operating by the fall. Similar positions already exist in the United Kingdom and Australia.

The person who gets the job will investigate public complaints about service-related issues about the tax department — such as undue delays, mistakes, misleading information or rude staff.

The ombudsman's office will also provide the public with information about the complaints process.

But there are strict limits to what the ombudsman will do. For instance, he/she will not look into complaints about tax policy, tax law or court rulings. Also, the ombudsman will get involved only after all of the CRA's existing complaint resolution procedures have been exhausted.

The new taxpayers' ombudsman will also have no authority to make any changes or dole out discipline, but can suggest changes and make recommendations.

The ombudsman will not be part of the CRA and will report directly to the minister of national revenue. An annual report will be tabled in Parliament.

The terms of reference of the new job will be guided by the new Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which codifies much of what is already standard practice at the Canada Revenue Agency — such as the right to service in both official languages and the right to privacy.

The bill of rights spells out the appeal process for taxpayers if they disagree with a CRA decision. It also points out that individual taxpayers do not have to pay income tax amounts in dispute before they've had an impartial review.

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