Revenue Canada asks southern Alberta family for parental proof
Published Friday, July 25, 2014 4:34PM MDT Last Updated Friday, July 25, 2014 6:35PM MDT
A Black Diamond mother thought she was done dealing with taxes for the year until she received a letter from Revenue Canada on her son’s first birthday asking her to prove the boy’s parentage.
Tania ’s Brouwer son Jace has a social insurance number and birth certificate so when the CRA came calling asking her to prove he was her son she was a little surprised.
“It’s kind of upsetting. You’re trying to raise your son and you ‘ve got the birth certificate, you’ve got everything signed and you figure you've got all your Is dotted and your Ts crossed,” said Tania. “I’ve already got his SIN and they’ve issued it to me and I’ve got his birth certificate and now they’re telling me I have to prove it again, a year later, that he is mine.”
Tania also had to get Jace's dad to sign an agreement that states she is the mother and primary caregiver, which could have created a problem as he spends most of his time on the road working.
“Thank God his father was home because if he wasn't I’d have to go through lawyers and doctors and get it signed and all of that, then get it sent in and there’s no way I would have had that done in thirty days either,” said Tania.
Caroline Battista is with H&R Block and says letters like this are not uncommon.
“At this time of year its standard that the CRA sends out, they’re more review letters, where they’re asking you to send in documentation or some type of proof validating the claims you've made,” said Battista.
Battista says the letters don’t necessarily mean there is an issue but people do need to pay attention to them.
“If you do not follow up this letter by sending in your receipts and your documentation, they can reassess your return from the previous year and at that point you would be asked to give back any refund you might have gotten, any GST, your child tax benefits that were triggered by your tax return that year,” said Battista.
The Canada Revenue Agency’s website has a post that explains the reason for the letter and what could happen if it is ignored….
Have you received a validation letter or a validation questionnaire?
Letters and questionnaires are sent to make sure that the information we have about you is correct and up to date. Having the correct information ensures that you receive the family benefits/credits you are entitled to. If you have received a letter and questionnaire, it is important that you reply. If you do not reply, your child and family benefits/credits may be stopped and in some situations you may be required to repay benefits/credits already received. We will inform you of the results of our review within 45 calendar days after we receive the information requested.
Tania Murray wonders if there is a better way to make sure people aren’t lying.
“It’s not going to stop people who are defrauding the government when you’re randomly picking people,” said Brouwer.
The CRA also asks for validation on other types of claims like moving and daycare expenses.
Tax experts say people should keep tax information for six years and make sure returns and receipts are easily accessible in case you are asked to provide proof of a claim.
(With files from Rylee Carlson)