An Ottawa woman says the Canada Revenue Agency took $11,000 out of her bank account for scholarship money she didn't have to pay taxes on because she was a full-time student.
Heather Gilberds is a PhD student at Carleton University, and received more than $45,000 in scholarships in 2010.
Because she was a full-time student, she didn't have to pay taxes on the scholarships, but she didn't file the right form when she initially filed her taxes through H&R Block.
Gilberds has since been reassessed and repeatedly submitted the proper form, but CRA continued to claim that Gilberds owes $11,000 in taxes for the scholarship money.
She went back to H&R Block four or five times in 2011 and 2012 to deal with the CRA and resubmit the correct forms by fax and post. The agency repeatedly told her she either hadn't submitted the proper form or it hadn't received it, she said.
Gilberds received another notice in late January and decided to bring it to H&R Block with her in April when she filed her taxes for 2013.
The senior manager for the H&R Block branch called the CRA to complain, and Gilberds said she thought the issue was resolved.
About two weeks later, $11,000 was removed from her bank account.
H&R Block manager calls case 'outrageous'
"I went into my bank account to pay some bills, and I noticed that there was a legal demand payment ... and $11,000 had been withdrawn from my personal savings account," Gilberds said. "So I called my bank and they informed me that the Canada Revenue Agency had taken $11,000 out of my personal savings account."
The CRA is now reassessing Gilberds's file for the sixth time since 2010. She said she'll be speaking with a tax lawyer to find out what she should do next.
H&R Block files show that Gilberds had resubmitted the correct form several times over the years.
"When she came back this year, I tried to rectify that again. I think her balance owing is to the tune of $11,000 to $12,000, and that's really outrageous when it's something that should have been fixed automatically. When your tuition gets applied and you're a full-time student, all your scholarships are tax free," said Martine Guertin, a manager at H&R Block.
The CRA said it cannot comment on specific cases.
They did, however, provide a statement saying if a taxpayer disputes their assessment or reassessment, he or she can file a notice of objection.
If the two sides aren't able to come to a mutually acceptable agreement after 90 days — or no objection is filed — the CRA can take legal action to collect money owed.
The CRA said its policy is to warn the taxpayer in advance, either in writing or by phone, that funds are being taken out of the taxpayer's account.