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Go Public inbox: CRA mistake

06/03/2013 07:16 EDT | Updated 08/03/2013 05:12 EDT
yourComment: I work at the cra and am astonished at the lack of response from the agency in addressing this type of breach. Mail is not considered misdirected unless the wrong taxpayer opens the letter.

I can give you countless examples of people calling in reporting miss addressed mail and we were told to have them mail it return to sender. We would only take steps to address it if the mail has been opened. These are the official guidelines and I can print these and show you.

yourName: anonymous subject: [cbc.ca/contact]

yourComment: Your CRA story today reminded me of something that happened two years ago already, but with Passport Canada. I was renewing a passport and was told mine was damaged and I would need to reapply as if for a new one. That was fine.

Unfortunately I never got my old passport back and they lost my photos (which I had to replace at my own expense). It turns out they had mailed to QC instead of BC, with my name also spelled incorrectly. I didn't put up a fuss because I wouldn't want to be in Passport Canada's bad books, but it still bothers me where my passport, with all its European travel stamps, might have ended up.

yourProvince: Alberta yourCity: Calgary

I just finished reading your story on the CRA sending confidential information on multiple people to the woman in BC and I was reminded of my own experience with the CRA's insecure handling of information.

In March 2010 I prepared my personal income tax. I realized that I could not find my access code so I called the CRA. After giving whatever information they required to prove who I was they told me I had given them the wrong last name.

I was very confused, all the more so when they told me that my name had changed when I had gotten married within the year. I explained that I had never married but they insisted that I had and my name had changed. They then insisted that they couldn't give me my access code as I wasn't who I said I was.

I was told I would need to send documentation proving that I wasn't married before I could change my marital status back to being single and then I would receive the code and could file my taxes. I insisted that I had never changed my marital status so I didn't understand why I was the one now having to do extra steps but I had no option if I wanted to file taxes.

I was sent information telling me what options I had to prove my marital status. Very few of them seemed to make sense as they did not seem to me to prove I was not married (including sending in my utility bills that only had my name on it). I had to ask my employer to write a letter stating that to the best of his knowledge I had never married. It was very embarrassing to ask for that letter.

Through the course of this experience I made multiple phone calls to the CRA and spoke to different people. One person told me what my supposed new name was and where I supposedly lived (in a different province). They seemed to recognize that a mistake had happened but didn't seem to have the power to fix it.

Finally, one time I spoke to a woman who traced back what had happened through the files and realized that there was a woman in Winnipeg who had previously had the same first and last name as me, then had married and changed her name. For some reason they had updated all of her information to my file. This person, recognizing that the mistake had been made at their end, gave me my access code and allowed me to file my taxes.

I later found the person with whom my identity had been flipped on facebook. Actually, our parents knew each other somewhat. I told her the story and she was surprised but said it explained why the wrong social insurance number had been on her income tax return information that year. She didn't go look to see what it was but we could only assume that they had sent her my SIN.

At the time I was very relieved to leave the situation behind but it has shaken any trust I had in the system. I, unfortunately, was not surprised to read of the mess they made for the woman in BC.

[Name withheld] (not the one living in Winnipeg!)

Hello,

My name is [name withheld] and I am submitting an idea for a story that was prompted by your "CRA privacy story".

This happened to me a couple of years back.

This story revolves around the death of my common law wife, transfer of a substantial RRSP to me and the CRA continued harassment and subsequent over zealous collection effort that resulted in my assets being frozen.

It turns out that this shouldn't have happened in the first place as I had explained to them from the beginning however they took it upon themselves to make my life a living hell over a 6 month period.

I had filed all the necessary papers for the transfer of approximately $200,000 to me as provided in her estate back in 2007.

This was later proven right although the CRA at the time didn't believe me even though I provided them with copies. It turned out they had the documentation all along and decided not to bother searching for them.

This a summary of the sordid incompetence which I witnessed first hand by our beloved CRA.

Please let me know if you care to pursue.

Thanks for listening.

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