Scarborough, Ontario, June 26, 2013… 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, today announced the addition of a new right to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which gives Canadian taxpayers the ability to lodge a service complaint and request a formal review without fear of reprisal. Minister Shea, Mr. Dubé and MP James also met with members of Certified General Accountants (CGA) Canada to discuss taxpayer fairness.
“Our Government is committed to ensuring that all Canadians are treated with fairness and respect by the Canada Revenue Agency,” said Minister Shea. “In our system of voluntary compliance, taxpayers must have confidence in the objectivity and fairness of CRA’s actions as a tax administrator. This new addition to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights will help reinforce public confidence in Canada’s tax system, and ensure that Canadians taxpayers feel free to speak up if they have a disagreement with the CRA.”
Under the new right added to the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, if taxpayers lodge a service complaint or request a formal review, they can be confident that they will be treated impartially, receive the benefits, credits, and refunds to which they are entitled and pay no more and no less than what is required by law.
Although there is no evidence that Canadians have been subject to reprisal by the CRA, in his work across the country, the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman heard that taxpayers would sometimes hesitate to lodge a complaint for fear of being treated differently afterward. To address this unwarranted fear and encourage Canadians to speak up if they have a disagreement with the CRA, the Ombudsman recommended that a new right be added to ensure Canadians are confident they will be treated fairly.
The Harper Government has demonstrated a firm commitment to support taxpayers in their dealings with the CRA by creating the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman in 2007, which operates independently from the CRA and was established to uphold taxpayer service rights and to provide an impartial review of unresolved service complaints from taxpayers.
“We are pleased to welcome this evolution of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights,” said Mr. Dubé, who recently celebrated five years in the Office as the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman. “Although we work at arm’s-length, the CRA and our office have collaborated well to advance taxpayer fairness. The addition of this new right to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights is an important step forward in providing Canadians with assurances that they will be treated impartially, and, if they feel this is not the case, that they will have effective avenues of redress available to them.”
“The addition of this new right to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights builds on our Government’s longstanding commitment to maintaining the integrity of the tax system and, in turn, the trust of Canadians,” said MP James.