Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson to monitor and examine issues related to CRA communications about the collection of COVID-related benefit overpayments
OTTAWA, May 4, 2023 - Today, the Taxpayers' Ombudsperson, Mr. François Boileau, announced his intention to closely monitor complaints received at his office concerning individuals who have already paid back COVID-related benefit overpayments to the Government of Canada yet are still receiving collection letters from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
It is possible that another department, such as Employment and Social Development Canada, has contacted these individuals for payment and that they have complied by making a payment, but the CRA is unaware.
If these complaints are not isolated cases, the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson could launch a systemic investigation to shed light on these issues and, if necessary, it could focus the analysis beyond individual cases to a systemic examination.
The Ombudsperson indicates that his Office will continue to examine individual complaints received and those yet to come. He invites anyone facing such a situation to contact his office.
However, he cautions that his Office has been impacted by the recent labour disruptions. Therefore, it may take longer than normal to process complaints.
The Ombudsperson would like to remind you that if your financial situation is urgent, if you cannot make ends meet, if you are having difficulties meeting the necessities of life and you are experiencing delays in getting your tax refund or other benefit, do not hesitate to call his Office or file a complaint electronically. Mr. Boileau expects that, despite the recent labour disruptions, the CRA will give these complaints priority.
The Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson works independently from the CRA. Canadians can submit complaints to the Office if they feel they are not receiving the appropriate service from the CRA. Our main objective is to improve the service the CRA provides to taxpayers and benefit recipients by reviewing individual service complaints and service issues that affect more than one person or a segment of the population.
The Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson assists, advises and informs the Minister of National Revenue about matters relating to services provided by the CRA. The Ombudsperson ensures, in particular, that the CRA respects eight of the service rights outlined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
To learn more about our open systemic examinations, go to https://www.canada.ca/en/taxpayers-ombudsperson/programs/reports-publications/opened-systemic-examinations.html.
“If, after an analysis of the complaints received, we see a systemic issue, we will not hesitate to examine it. The individual should not have to pay for an administrative mess between two federal departments.”
Mr. François Boileau, Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson
Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson / Government of Canada
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