I recently received the following e-mail from the Senior Public Affairs Advisor Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman
It is tax filing season and Canadians want and need to be as informed as possible before they file their returns for the 2009 tax year. At the same time, you are no doubt eager to provide valuable information on issues related to taxation to your audience during tax season.
To that end, I am writing to inform you that there is new and important information for you to share with your audience about their rights as taxpayers and the type of service they are entitled to from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You are in an ideal position to provide your audience with valuable information about the Taxpayer Bill of Rights and the existence of the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman.
Canada’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights was expanded in 2007 to include eight service rights. Mr. J. Paul Dubé was appointed as Canada’s first Taxpayers’ Ombudsman in February 2008 to uphold these eight service rights by ensuring that taxpayers get professional service and fair treatment from the CRA.
In that light, the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman plays an important new role by providing independent and impartial reviews of complaints about how the CRA serves and treats taxpayers. The Office also addresses systemic problems that affect large numbers of taxpayers.
The activities of the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman have already resulted in a number of disputes between taxpayers and the CRA being resolved. It provides a few examples of the types of cases in which we have made a difference in the lives of taxpayers. As a result of our intervention, the CRA has:
- issued apologies;
- released bank accounts they had seized;
- cancelled penalties and interest they were charging;
- reviewed some of its internal policies and procedures; and
- in some instances, ended collection activities.
Please note that confidentiality is a requirement of the Income Tax Act and a cornerstone of the practice of ombudsmanry. To this end, the Ombudsman cannot confirm or comment on individual cases.
Additional information is available on our Web site at: http://www.taxpayersrights.gc.ca/mssg-eng.html