MP agrees with CARP: CRA’s move to eliminate paper forms will hurt seniors

SYDNEY — MP Mark Eyking says Revenue Canada’s move away from routinely mailing out income tax forms will be a hardship for some seniors.

Eyking, the Liberal MP for Sydney-Victoria, suggested Revenue Canada is trying to push Canadians to file online.

Many seniors in Cape Breton live on low incomes and don’t have access to computers, he said.

“For 70 or 75 per cent of the people, they can go online but there are so many people who don’t have Internet, so many seniors who don’t have computers, and many parts of Cape Breton don’t even have Internet connection.

“Anyone who filed a paper tax form last year should be mailed one this year.”

Revenue Canada is abandoning proactive mailings of income tax forms but the forms are still available on the web or can still be picked up at post offices and Service Canada centres, or requested over the phone. Canadians can also file online.

Eyking wondered if some Canadians are still waiting for a tax form that isn’t coming.

“Say they usually get the form mailed to them. They are waiting and waiting and waiting and the next thing you know, it’s going to be too late.”

Eyking has raised the issue in the House of Commons telling the minister for Revenue Canada, Gail Shea, she is making life harder for low-income seniors at tax time.

Shea has said too many of the mailed out forms went to waste. Last year, more than 1.3 million packages that were mailed out were never used, she told the House of Commons.

CARP, an organization representing people over 50, has said the government should have given people the option to order a paper form when they filed last year’s taxes.

The CRA monitors and refines its business processes on an ongoing basis to make sure it uses its resources responsibly and remains efficient and effective in delivering services to Canadians.

A spokesperson for the Canada Revenue Agency said in an email it encourages taxpayers to file and pay electronically, and more Canadians than ever are making the shift to its secure online services.

Mylène Croteau said a significant majority of Canadians now file their tax returns online.