There is a trucker meal allowance case under review by CRA in Ontario. The case involves two truckers working as a team.
One trucker has his tax forms reviewed and accepted in Ontario, the other trucker has his tax forms reviewed in the Manitoba district even though he resides in Ontario.
The Manitoba branch refused the meal allowance claims, audited and claimed several thousand dollars over three years of back claims. This has now bounced back to the second team member. The Manitoba office has taken over his Ontario file and now is going after his meal allowances also.
So living in Ontario will not necessarily allow a trucker to have a higher meal allowance. It will depend on what province eventually takes over the reassessment of the tax form.
The trucking team attempted to get some needed information on CRA procedures by asking for some TOMS—see Special Edition 2008. Should be relatively simple one would think.
They are being stonewalled. They sent money and a complaint to the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada. Here in part is their reply.
Dated June 20, 2008—replying to their letter dated May 21, 2008. Remember once CRA audits the interest starts to add up rapidly. Time is on the side of CRA not on the audited taxpayer.
The Information Commissioner states they have redirected the request for information to the CRA information coordinator—remember this over a month later—and we quote: “Please excuse the delay in acknowledging your complaint. We are currently experiencing an increased workload. However, we are committed to undertaking thorough and fair investigations of complaints. Please rest assured that an official from our office will contact you as soon as possible.” End of Quote.
This is one reason that these cases drag
on for years before they are finally resolved. Five years is not out of line as a time frame in contesting tax cases. After all what else do civil servants have to do than push paper and justify jobs by pushing more paper?
Meanwhile the taxpayer goes through hell as each new procedural event happens. Remember to CRA it is old hat. They have gone this route thousands of times before. It is only the hapless taxpayer that finds each delay or procedure an unsettling event in his life. This wears the taxpayer down. Some cannot take the five years of litigation and just give up.
Taxpayers have a right to expect a fair and honorable tax system from the governments they elect to serve them. A system that does not turn otherwise law abiding citizens into criminals; a fair across the board method of taxation treating all taxpayers equally with respect; a flat consumption tax would get rid of thousands of CRA paper pushers; a review system that speedily resolves disputes. All citizens would be forced to pay their share, including those in the underground economy; estimated at $50 billion a year. Only when taxpayers form into groups and lobby the government to bring in a wider tax load distributed fairly across the country will change come. Many countries worldwide are looking at changing their tax systems. See Canadian Bill of Rights for Taxpayers. r