May 20, 2016
Toronto - The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) continues to make it increasingly difficult for Canadians with disabilities to access a modest tax credit that means a great deal to people with marginal incomes.
"In this area our tax administration is unfair, inefficient and not accountable to anyone," says tax accountant Peter Weissman. "We are concerned about CRA's disregard not only for its own policies and procedures designed to protect the interests of the taxpayer but also numerous Tax Court of Canada rulings that have provided guidance as far as interpreting the legislative intent of the Income Tax Act."
The CRA has abdicated its mandate for fairness by denying the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) to eligible Canadians with disabilities. The tax system is too complicated or expensive for most people to appeal the CRA's decisions.
"It has become virtually impossible for the majority of people living with severe psychiatric illnesses to access the DTC without appealing to the Tax Court of Canada," says mental health advocate, Lembi Buchanan, who has successfully represented dozens of individuals navigate the appeal process. "CRA civil servants with insufficient medical and legal training are sending rejection notices without providing valid reasons for their decisions. Canadian taxpayers should be able to access the DTC without having to pay expensive legal bills for lawyers to represent them in court or excessive contingency fees to companies to act on their behalf."
Peter Weissman and Lembi Buchanan, members of the former Disability Advisory Committee to the Minister of National Revenue, created in 2005 but shut down by the government the following year, are appealing to the Minister of Finance Bill Morneau and Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier to address several systemic problems with the administration of the DTC by reinstating the Disability Advisory Committee.
In addition to a modest return on taxes, the DTC has become the screening tool for a growing number of federal and provincial income support programs including the Registered Disability Savings Plan and the Canada Child Disability Benefit.
TAGS - #DTC, #CRA