OTTAWA – The auditor general says that the treatment you receive from the Canadian Revenue Agency depends on where you live in Canada and how friendly your tax man is.
This cuts the agency's "rights taxpayer's bill", which says that every taxpayer deserves the same service as all other taxpayers in the same situation.
Auditor Michael Ferguson reports on Tuesday that checks of some more difficult files in one regional office take about 320 days. In another, they take eight months longer. When taxpayers file new information that could change their tax bills in one region, getting a reply takes about three months. In another, it's more than nine. And the CRA can not really explain why.
Promises to reach the bottom by 2020
The agency is allowed to dispose of fees and penalties in some cases when their installation would cause extreme taxation to a taxpayer, but Ferguson says discretion is used inconsistently.
From 2013 to the beginning of 2018, the CRA waived £ 17 million in interest and penalties for taxpayers while they were in the middle of their inspection because the agency was not sure they were following the rules. In other cases, agents would not even give penalties even when the CRA blame existed that taxpayers failed to lose deadlines.
In response to Ferguson's findings, the CRA promises to track its work better and reach the bottom of the inconsistency by 2020.