Nova Scotia

Halifax man cleared of having to pay stranger's tickets

A Halifax man has won his battle with three levels of government after being told his income tax refund was going to be diverted to pay overdue parking tickets.
James Sampson is relieved his dealing with three levels of government over a case of mistaken identity is over. (CBC)

A Halifax man has won his battle with three levels of government after having his income tax refund taken to pay overdue parking tickets.

James Sampson said he's never had a parking ticket in Halifax Regional Municipality and was surprised to receive the letter from the Canada Revenue Agency last Thursday.

The parking tickets belonged to another man with a nearly identical name.

"Things have changed.  I actually got a call yesterday from Services Nova Scotia. They told me that the matter between the two Sampsons has been resolved and that my money would come back to me in a cheque in the mail," Sampson told CBC News.

Service Minister John MacDonell understood Sampson's frustration.

"The name of the department is Service Nova Scotia, so we don't like to see Nova Scotians be wrongly used in any aspect, MacDonell said.

"I don't think he should pay for somebody else's mistake.  I think that would be a pretty reasonable comment from the minister."

The mistake may be understandable, the two James Sampsons not only share the same name — they have the same birthday.

"It was very frustrating because all levels said that they weren't able to help. But then when CBC was involved they corrected it right away," Sampson said.

"There was no apology or anything. They just said that it was a human error and that it had been corrected, and that they had sent a letter off to Department of Justice and that I wouldn't need to appear in court."

The province said his refund cheque is in the mail.

But Sampson said he isn't taking any chances — since his licence plate was similar to the other James Sampson, he's getting his changed.