Monday, 10 August 2015

Killing Trees for CRA

Every year it's the same old story.  Family has medical expenses, family claims medical expenses, family gets a level 1 audit (the please send us receipts level).

The first year, they came down on us in a very intimidating and aggressive manner.  I guess someone somewhere decided we were frauds and they were going to make an example out of us.  We got a scowling man in a suit who demanded to know where the receipts were to back up our claims.  (Annoying part: we'd already mailed in our receipts so I was bringing in copies of everything.)  I handed him a stack of paper one inch thick and an itemized list of all receipts being claimed and it was like someone let all the bluster out of the room.

He thumbed through the stack briefly and then said he'd have to review everything but that it appeared to be in order.  He took the papers and we were free to go.  I personally suspect no one ever actually looked at them.

Every year for the last decade, it's been the same story.  We file electronically now and while I include a pdf of our receipts, we're always asked to submit them again.  This year, the fax took over an hour to send and was over 100 pages.  And I'll have to wait two months before it will be processed and be in their system so that I can confirm they got it.

It's frustrating but we've set things up to minimize the impact.  The receipts all get scanned at tax time.  If we don't have a receipt then, we don't claim it.  Scanning in advance means we don't have to go through a flurry of scanning months later.  We actually have a nice division of labour.  I do the tax work and Dave does the tedious work of scanning everything in.

It's still an irritation.  After all this time, you would think they would be able to accept that we have a high level of medical expenses.  Our records should indicate that our children have autism and as long as we're claiming within our usual range, then the expenses are probably genuine.  However, I know how little flexibility government workers have once money is involved.  Everyone is so paranoid about being taken advantage of that there can be no exceptions (which, in my opinion, only makes it easier for fraudsters to take advantage because the system becomes predictable).

The folder for the 2015 tax season is growing.  Half an inch already.

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