Sudburians lament end of filing taxes by phone
Canada Revenue Agency axes tele-file program as more people opt to file online
Posted: Feb 21, 2013 8:46 AM ET
Last Updated: Feb 21, 2013 8:18 AM ET
Some changes to the way taxes are done is taxing the patience of some people in Sudbury now that the Canada Revenue Agency has discontinued its tele-filing service.
Filing a tax return by phone is no longer an option. For those who file by mail, returns will no longer be home-delivered — forcing taxpayers to make a trip to the post office to pick them up.For tax-filers like Nellie Hlisch, the loss of the ability to file her taxes by phone is upsetting. She doesn't own a computer to file her taxes online. Hilary Duff/CBC
Sudbury resident Nellie Hlisch, who has been filing her taxes over the phone for the past 15 years, said she is disappointed tele-filing is no longer available to her.
"If I am to receive a refund I'll either have to wait a long time or go to the library to go online because I don't have a computer at home,” she said.
The CRA is encouraging more people to file online. The agency says use of the telefiling service has declined by 10 per cent each year as more people switch to online tax filing— and it reports that more than 66 per cent of Canadians are now filing their taxes on the internet.
That means more work for an annual tax clinic at Cambrian College.
"The CRA wants us ... to file the tax returns with their downloaded software,” said Kayla Levesque, who helps run the clinic.
“[It’s] taking away that manual practice from the students and now forcing us to incorporate this software into our program, which is obviously going to take a bit more time."
Levesque said the clinic helps low-income students and families with their tax returns — a group that could be disproportionately affected by the changes.
"The government has now basically enforced more electronic filing, but if somebody is low income, chances are they might not even have a computer or even access to the Internet,” she said.
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