CRA TERMINATING 120 EMPLOYEES FOR CERB VIOLATIONS – AGENCY EMPLOYEES DO MAKE MISTAKES, OPTIONS EXIST, IF AGGRIEVED, DO CONSULT
News outlets have announced that CRA fired 120 employees for inappropriately claiming Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was their official statement:
“The CRA takes any form of wrongdoing very seriously and is strongly committed to protecting the integrity of Canada’s tax and benefit systems and demonstrating to Canadians that [we are] a trusted and fair organization… When misconduct is identified, we ensure that the appropriate actions are taken to address it.”
So how does this relate to the reader? These employees were fired for falsifying documents/forms claiming CERB benefits meant for individuals whose employment and earnings were impacted by COVID-19. CRA has a reputation for strict compliance. Notwithstanding its reputation, gross ethical violations were occurring in the agency. It proves that employees at the agency are human and can engage in dubious transactions.
CRA call center employees often give taxpayers inaccurate advice. CRA audits also often involve mistakes. CRA’s word is not gospel. If a taxpayer feels they were treated unfairly, or their situation is misunderstood, they do have the option of appeal, as CRA employees are clearly fallible.
In these cases, a consultation with an accounting firm or specialized income tax law firm is well worth your time. You need to understand what the law is before appealing. If you have a worthwhile case, you can file a Notice of Objection to appeal within the CRA. If you are then turned down but still believe you are right, you can appeal to the Tax Court of Canada. The Court does step in to reverse CRA assessments that are found to be legally incorrect.
The court case in the next blog post is a very recent example of Tax Court finding a judgement in favour of the taxpayer.