Taxpayers’ Ombudsman

General Overview

Mr. Paul Dube has been named by order in counsel as the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman for a 3 year term.

The Minister of National Revenue announced the appointment of Canada’s first Taxpayers’ Ombudsman on February 21, 2008.

The position of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman was created to support the Government of Canada’s priorities of stronger democratic institutions, increased transparency and accountability, and fair treatment for all Canadians.

The Taxpayers’ Ombudsman is an independent and impartial officer who operates at arm’s length from the Canada Revenue agency (CRA). The Taxpayers’ Ombudsman is mandated to uphold, promote the Taxpayer Bill of rights and to ensure that Canadians receive professional service and fair treatment from the CRA.

The Ombudsman reports to the Minister of National Revenue and makes recommendations to the minister on any matter that falls within the mandate.  He submits an annual report to the minister, which the minister then tables in Parliament.  He may also issue other reports and recommendations about matters within his mandate.

The Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman complements existing service-related, complaint-resolution mechanisms at the CRA.

The Taxpayers’ Ombudsman Role and Responsibilities

The Ombudsman’s mandate is to assist, inform, and advise the Minister of National Revenue about any matter relating to services provided to taxpayers by the CRA.  That mandate is fulfilled by:

  • providing an impartial, independent, and efficient system for handling individual complaints from taxpayers about the service or treatment they receive from the CRA;
  • investigating and reporting on emerging and systemic service issues related to CRA programs and processes and making recommendations for improvements or corrective action directly to the Minister of National Revenue;
  • facilitating taxpayer access to the CRA; and
  • developing awareness of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights and the role of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman

For example, the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman could recommend that the CRA:

  • change a policy or procedure;
  • make changes to systems or applications;
  • review its service standards;
  • give more reasons for a decision;
  • correct a misunderstanding, omission, or oversight; or
  • offer an apology.

What Type of Assistance Does the Taxpayer Ombudsman Provide?

When taxpayers come to the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman with a problem that falls within the mandate, the goal is to resolve the problem at the lowest level possible and as quickly as possible.  This may involve asking the CRA to provide information or assistance that the taxpayer was unable to obtain.  It may involve an exchange of information with the CRA that causes it to rethink its position with respect to a particular taxpayer.  However, if a taxpayer is unable to achieve a quick and simple resolution with the CRA, we will undertake a complaint investigation.

Canadians contact the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman for many reasons and with many different needs.  The Ombudsman’s staff provides valuable assistance even when dealing with complaints that do not fall within the mandate.  Staff members often assist taxpayers by explaining their rights, providing them with information, or directing them to the appropriate government department.

The Ombudsman cannot review any matter that arose prior to February 2007, unless asked by the minister to do so.  The Ombudsman is not mandated to review decisions of the courts or matters that are before the courts.  Nor can the Ombudsman review the administration or enforcement of CRA program legislation, except to the extent that the review relates to service matters.

Additional Information

Additional information on Canada’s first Taxpayers’ Ombudsman can be obtained as follows:

  1. Taxpayers’ Ombudsman
  2. Taxpayer Bill Of Rights or
  3. you can visit the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman website at www.taxpayersrights.gc.ca

If you have any questions or require assistance with any tax issues that you can not resolve with Canada Revenue Agency or any other taxing authority in Canada, please do not hesitate to contact Joe Truscott at (905) 528-0234 ext. 224 or by e-mail at joetruscott@josephtruscott.com