CRA a Grinch year round
Author: Dan Albas
When former prime minister Stephen Harper introduced the Universal Child Care Benefit program that provided direct financial benefits to parents with kids, it was mocked and criticized by the Liberal Opposition.
The Liberals suggested the money that would be provided to supporting children under this program would instead be spent by parents on “beer and popcorn.”
Fast forward to the present, and the Liberal government have not only continued this program, with changes that adds a means test, they have also significantly increased the funding.
In the House of Commons, some Liberals refer to this program as the most significant social policy innovation in a decade as many believe it has helped to reduce child poverty in Canada.
The Canada Child Tax Benefit has become particularly important for divorced single parents who will often receive an increase of overall monthly financial support, if their household income has been reduced as a result of a divorce.
As with all taxpayer-funded financial programs, there is a need for government to confirm eligibility for a program and to take measures to protect against fraud. In the case of the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB), this typically requires an applicant to provide various forms of documentation to confirm eligibility.
In my view, it is a reasonable expectation to provide this documentation.
Recently, I have become aware of a number of cases where the Canada Revenue Agency may also request additional documentation from a separated or divorced spouse.
The challenge in these circumstances is what if a separated or divorced spouse refuses to co-operate with the Canada Revenue Agency or cannot be located?
Amazingly, in these situations, the benefits of some single parents are being frozen or denied.