They have an “us” and “them” mentality. CRA insiders can do no wrong – to ensure this, complaints are referred to the person complained for investigation. Conversely, outsiders are all presumed to be wrong and putative tax evaders.
To illustrate this, let’s take one case in particular: although it’s a reported case, we’ll call it the “John Doe” case and see, how CRA does when real facts and taxpayers are involved.
Taxpayer Right No. 1 assures taxpayer that they have right to pay no more and no less than required by law. In Doe, the CRA didn’t complete an audit and made no final accounting conclusions, at all. Their auditor wouldn’t permit allowable deductions; used subjective estimates, rather than verifiable amounts; ignored loan agreements; impermissibly pierced the corporate veil; and imputed the same dollar amounts to multiple taxpayers.
CRA must follow the Income Tax Act (“ITA”) absolutely; yet, nothing CRA did in <
Doe complied with the ITA.
The trial judge found CRA had engaged in misconduct “intentionally to mislead the issuing Justice as to the amount of the taxes owing.” CRA prosecuted taxpayers when it didn’t even know if any taxes had been imposed by the ITA.
So, Right No. 1 is meaningless where CRA officials refuse to follow the ITA and are prepared to manufacture the evidence they use against taxpayers.
Taxpayer Right No. 2 assures taxpayers that they have a right to privacy and confidentiality. Did CRA protect the privacy of one of the Doe taxpayers when over a few year period it permitted ninety-two (92) officials from twenty-seven (27) tax service offices to access his account information? Did CRA protect their rights, by permitting criminal investigators to access their information, knowing that it was a violation of ss. 7 & 8 of the Charter? The answer is of course, no.
When an official of CRA stole taxpayer information from CRA’s custody in violation of the privacy provisions of the ITA, did CRA stop it? No, they didn’t; in fact, when the Privacy Commissioner found that their officials had violated s. 241 ITA and s. 8 of the Privacy Act, CRA refused to discipline or charge their officials with the offences their acts justified.
Their Bill of Rights doesn’t guarantee that when CRA officials are found at fault in violating your privacy, that they will do anything to protect your privacy.
Taxpayer Right No. 3 assures you have the right to be treated fairly. Eventually the taxpayers in Doe were exonerated, but that was despite CRA, not because of it. Was it fair that CRA officials who committed crimes like intentional fraud, theft of documents under the court’s management; fabrication of documents; and witness intimidation weren’t disciplined, but rather promoted?
Was it fair for CRA to continue a prosecution after its investigator admitted that he didn’t believe his figures, were accurate or reliable? Or, was it fair that CRA continued its prosecution when it knew that it was “impossible” to convict the taxpayers as they had relied on tax planned loans to legally defer taxes?
Was it fair that officials for CRA hid exculpatory evidence that could be used to “impugn” its official’s false and intentionally misleading evidence?
The answer to all of these questions is “no;” it wasn’t fair, but CRA did.
Taxpayer Right No. 8 assures you have the right to have the law applied consistently. If true that means, based on Doe that you, your family and friends could be charged with a tax crime you didn’t commit, on the unsupported word of any CRA official. That’s not a right you will wish to avail yourself of.
Taxpayer Right No. 11 assures you that you have the right to expect CRA to be accountable. CRA is not accountable – by common consent, within the Agency, its officials are above the law. They can make unsupported allegations against you any time they like. Their supervisors will join in on the conspiracy.
Theft, altering of documents, forgery, back-dating of documents, witness tampering are all ways that CRA will make you appear to be guilty, even when you are not. You have the right to do what CRA tells you to do; when they tell you; just because they tell you to do it.
The taxpayers in Doe took their complaints up through the ranks of CRA to Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Minister of National Revenue (“MNR”). They provided court and Privacy Commissioner’s rulings that supported their allegations. They adduced admissions by the CRA officials, under oath and concessions by the legal counsel for the Attorney General, confirming the perfidy of its officials.
What did the Honourable Ms. Findlay do to be accountable? Nothing, she did nothing. CRA would rather convict innocent taxpayers, based on manufactured evidence, rather than admit its insiders were wrong.
The facts are clear; CRA and the MNR are willing to trade your rights for their expediency. That is a trade-off that Canadians cannot live with, it takes too great a toll on the truth-seeking goal of the Administration of Justice and on those principles that separate us from tyrannies that prey upon their citizens.
Future articles in this series, will address some of the many blunders that CRA auditors or criminal investigators make. The articles will tell you how to find these errors and take advantage of them in asserting your legal rights.