Taxpayers’ Ombudsman 2016-2017 Annual Report tabled in Parliament
November 22, 2017 - Ottawa, Ontario - Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman
Ms. Kamal Khera, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue, tabled the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman 2016-2017 Annual Report in the House of Commons.
"Fairness: A right, not a privilege" is the theme of this year’s report. It addresses the issue of fairness and how it applies to the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) delivery of service to taxpayers, and how the Ombudsman continues to help the CRA improve its service to taxpayers.
In 2016-2017, the Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman received 1,490 new individual complaints, up 5% from the previous year. Inconsistent or incorrect information provided by the CRA is the largest source of complaints representing almost 25% of all complaints received, while delays in processing T1 adjustments is a new trend in complaints.
Examinations into systemic issues that affect a large number of individuals or a segment of the population were also conducted. The Ombudsman completed the Rights and Rulings – Understanding the Decision report, which looked at the information provided by the CRA in Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance (CPP/EI) rulings letters. A new examination was also launched to look into the CRA’s procedures with respect to warning taxpayers prior to taking legal action to collect unpaid taxes.
The Ombudsman made significant outreach efforts throughout Canada to educate taxpayers about their rights, to raise awareness about the services offered by her Office, and to proactively explore service issues that may be recurring for certain groups.
"Service from the CRA is not only about the importance of being professional and courteous. It is about fairness. It is about the taxpayers and benefit recipients. I am proud to ensure their rights related to service are upheld by the CRA."
- Sherra Profit, Taxpayers’ Ombudsman
Key highlights for 2016-2017 include:
1,490 new complaints were received, up 5% from last fiscal year.
1,611 issues were closed.
Most common topics of complaints:
- inconsistent or incorrect information provided by the CRA (24%);
- issues with debt collection programs (14%);
- delays in processing income tax and benefit returns (10%);
- difficulties with CRA’s requirements for proof of eligibility for the Canada child benefit (10%);
- difficulties reaching the CRA by phone (7%); and
- delays in processing T1 adjustment requests (6%).
Five recommendations were provided to the Minister of National Revenue as a result of a completed examination on the information provided by the CRA in Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance (CPP/EI) rulings letters.
A new examination was launched to look at the CRA’s procedures with respect to warning taxpayers prior to taking legal action to collect unpaid taxes.
The Ombudsman releases information about new examinations on her website to promote greater awareness and transparency about the work being done by her office.
There has been a steady increase in the number of complaints submitted electronically, from 40% in 2014-15, to 57% in 2015-16, and now close to 60% in 2016-17.
The Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman moved its website to Canada.ca in March 2017.
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