CRA is failing to ensure that all Canadians can access their tax forms

A few weeks ago, CRA decided to stop mailing out income tax forms and instructed that people retrieve their forms either online, post offices or Service Canada offices, or phone-order. This raised many concerns especially for those who are mobility-challenged and those who cannot or do not feel comfortable doing their taxes online. One CARP member shared about his unfortunate experience at Toronto post office, since other local postal outlets did not have tax packages available, and the post office denied customers more than one tax package.

CARP wanted to know how many others are also subjected to such obstacles, so several CARP Chapters across the country went to their local postal offices to check. The responses were ran the gamut, some expressing similar concerns while others reporting good news. Despite how good some experiences were, they do not offset the problematic ones or negate the fact that some are still unable to pick up paper tax forms.

Responses from Chapters:

Ajax Pickering, Ontario Chapter:

“I dropped into multiple offices located in Shoppers Drug mart and they all had boxes of forms and were pleasant.  They did indicate that the customer had to ask for an envelope as they were not part of the form package.  All offered to let me take multiple forms.”
Brighton, Belleville, and Quinte, Ontario Chapter:

“The Main post office in Belleville was set up ok. The post office at the Quinte mall had very limited space. The Guide was in very limited supply. The Forms were on back order. They probably carry only one box of each. Normally they should carry two boxes of forms. I can see this being an issue.”

“I picked up my forms at the Post Office here in Frankford. The experience was terrific. I was told where they were, to take as many as I required and not to forget to pick up the envelopes, as they were in a box next to the forms…..couldn’t have asked for better, more friendly and helpful service.”

South Fraser, British Columbia Chapter:

“I have checked with 2 local post offices (one in Langley and one in Abbotsford). There are boxes of both French and English tax forms available. Doesn’t appear to be any limit. Also more are available to the public at Service Canada offices located in each community.”

Lanark, Ontario Chapter:

“Post office out with sign on door saying come back another day. Sign has been up for a week.”

CARP is still concerned that CRA is not ensuring that tax forms are being made available to everyone. Based on these responses, many may still continue to face challenges. We are not sure if Minister Gail Shea is fulfilling her goal of better serving Canadians. We reiterate our call on her to simply mail out forms to the people who filed on paper last year or ensure that all postal outlets have a ready supply of the paper forms.

Read CARP’s open letter to CRA Minister Gail Shea for reversal of income tax filing policy change.

Visit CRA website to print off a copy of the income tax form or call 1-800-959-2221 to order by phone.

February 22, 2013.