AUDITOR GENERAL: WHERE YOU LIVE DETERMINES HOW TAX MAN TREATS YOU

Nov 20, 2018

By Bob Komsic

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Apparently location is not only key when it comes to real estate.
Federal Auditor General Michael Ferguson says the treatment you receive from Canada Revenue depends on where you live.
(Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
This, he adds, violates the CRA’s ”taxpayer bill of rights,” which states everyone deserves the same service in the same situation.
Ferguson reports audits of some of the more difficult files in one regional office take just under one year.
In other they take eight months longer.
When taxpayers file new information that could change their returns in one region, getting a reply takes about three months.  
In another, it’s three times as long and CRA cannot explain the reason. 
The agency’s allowed to waive fees and penalties, in some cases, when imposing them would cause extreme financial hardship for a taxpayer, but the auditor general says that discretion is used inconsistently.  
For example, since 2013 to earlier this year, CRA waived $17-million in interest and penalties for taxpayers while they were in the midst of being audited, because the agency was not sure they were following the rules. 
However, in other cases, Canada Revenue agents would not waive penalties, even when it was the CRA’s fault taxpayers missed deadlines.  
In response, the agency promises to do a better job of keeping track of its work and getting to the bottom of the inconsistencies by 2020.
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