Beware your path to dealing with CRA issues.

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CARP spokesman Bill VanGorder says CRA must do more to make people aware of the tax credit and help them obtain it. (CBC)

Unfortunately there are offerings out there to assist with your recovery of tax benefits – for a price. There are also those who simply scam by posing as enforcement officers. Fundamentally you want to deal with your own accountant(s), especially if you want confidential advice, or the CRA directly. Intermediaries tend to either want to charge excessive fees for assistance in obtaining benefits or, in the worst case, simply want to scam your money fraudulently.

This article from CBC News covers these issues. It includes why some seniors – especially those with cognitive disabilities – may have to resort to assistance in obtaining the appropriate tax credits.

But those who advocate for the disabled say CRA must do more to make people aware of the tax credit and help them obtain it.

“If that many people are looking for outside help, then it can’t be as easy to access as government officials are claiming,” said Bill VanGorder, the Atlantic Canada spokesman for CARP, an organization that promotes the interests and rights of older people.

“It raises tremendous questions about the accessibility of government service to the people who need it, and frankly, are paying for it.”

VanGorder said while CRA has online help and videos explaining how to fill out the form, not everyone is computer savvy. “The older and more disabled folks are, the less likely they are to have access to the internet,” he said.

Personally, when my mother passed away several years ago, on filing a final return, I was alerted to her eligibility for a disability benefit. As recommended in this article I simply sent the form to her doctor, who had her records. We received the appropriate credits going back four or five years, within a short time period. I may have paid a fee to the physician of $10-$25 – orders of magnitude less than 30% – for the service as it is not covered by our healthcare plans.

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About Jim Courtney

Jim Courtney is a young senior who, while tending to focus on technology issues, has encountered many of the challenges of being a senior. Having survived four potentially fatal conditions through the application of modern medical technology, he has found much enjoyment from providing services, often as a volunteer – including with Paralympics Canada and the Invictus Games – to support activities involving athletes with disabilities, . He is also the instructor in Caregiving Matters’ “Internet for Seniors” project available on this website.

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