Filed under: Taxes
Imagine this: You file your taxes, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) disagrees with your return, you file an appeal, and CRA denies it. You ask for an explanation of the appeal decision, and you're stonewalled. You're told that if you want an explanation, you can go through the lengthy process of filing an Access to Information request. Are you stressed just thinking about it? You betcha.
According to a report filed yesterday by the federal Taxpayers' Ombudsman, that's exactly how CRA routinely deals with taxpayers when they request explanations of appeal decisions, with officials typically refusing to justify their decisions in writing. And that needs to change, Ombudsman Paul Dubé says.
In keeping mum on appeal decisions, CRA says it's trying to maintain taxpayers' confidentiality. Mr. Dubé calls this thinking "misguided." After all, when a taxpayer requests an explanation of why their appeal has been denied, they're looking for information only on their own case file, so confidentiality shouldn't be an issue.