Complaints about CRA pandemic benefit repayments fewer than reported

Initial numbers scaled back, according to OTO

Complaints about CRA pandemic benefit repayments fewer than reported

The Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson (OTO) had recently stated that the complaints they had received regarding Canadians that had been asked by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to repay a pandemic benefit debt that was already settled was fewer than they initially thought, as reported by CBC News in an article.

Last July, the office of François Boileau, Canada’s Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson, had previously stated that it had received almost 60 complaints regarding this since the end of April. However, a spokesperson from the office had recently reached out to CBC News about the issue.

The office’s spokesperson said that many of the complaints that were directed to the office were not related to a pandemic benefit debt that had already been repaid. Instead, they were about a general collection of pandemic benefit debts.

The spokesperson further clarified that the office had only received about 20 complaints regarding pandemic benefit debts that were already settled since April.

In a previous article, it was said that many Canadians had their tax refunds withheld after the CRA considered them to be ineligible for the benefits that they had received as Canada’s auditor general saw that almost $4.6 billion in pandemic benefits had been given to ineligible individuals.

One such benefit was the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a benefit introduced to provide financial assistance to Canadians that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who were eligible were provided with $2,000 each month.

Last May, the agency said that $237 million were collected from 775,000 Canadians through recovering tax refunds and other benefits.

While some taxpayers had disputed the claim and asked for their eligibility to be reviewed, others who had already given the money back were still being denied their tax returns. This had led them to file a complaint to the OTO.

The number of complaints had caused the office to face backlogs when it comes to processing as a spokesperson from the office said that it can take as long as 120 days to process them.

The office’s website stated that despite the delays in the processing of complaints, it was now working on addressing the complaints that were made in August.