Editor’s Note – February 8th 2013: As predicted the CRA’s sudden and ill-advised shift in tax-form policy has created issues for everyone involved – but seniors and those who are mobility-challenged seem to be getting the worse of it. CARP recently issued an open-letter to Minister of Revenue Gail Shea, requesting the CRA reverse the decision and mail out tax form to those who submitted by mail last year as well as accommodate those who used the Telefile service – now also defunct.
The Minister refused to consider CARP’s proposal saying that “the way Canadians file their taxes is changing and we are changing to meet those needs…”
Today we received the following letter from noted writer, educator, policy analyst and CARP member, John Stapleton:
“Yesterday, I did a tour of local postal outlets and found all of the small ones to be out of the tax package – some had copies of the guide still available.
Handmade signs ask people to come back on February 15th…
When I went to the large post office in the Atrium at Dundas and Yonge [ in Toronto], I witnessed a scene that has doubtless been repeated over and again.
An elderly gentleman with a decided limp lined up in front of me and asked for the tax forms that had been (now) brought behind the counter.
He said he needed one for himself and his wife.
“Sorry” the clerk said “Only one per customer”.
The man said he needed one for his wife and he had a hard time getting around.
“Sorry – I told you – one per customer”
I told the man to wait and I asked for a form. The clerk gave one to me but he did not hand me the envelope to mail it in – I had to ask him for the envelope that goes with the form. I handed both to the elderly gentleman.
The clerk glared at me.”
This story perfectly illustrates the additional anxiety and grief the CRA is causing some seniors in the middle of the tax-season without warning. The Minister says the CRA is trying to better serve Canadians – are people who cannot file online not also Canadians? Then why should they be mistreated while trying to fulfill their civic duties?