Time for some Canadian Politics

Are you a person living with a disability? Do you care for someone in your immediate family who has a disability? Perhaps you are a professional who has contact with persons with disabiities? Or maybe you’re just a concerned citizen with an interest in the political happenings in your country. This post is for you so please read on.

A major developent happened very quietly on May 29, 2014. That is the day Private Members Bill – C-462, Disability Tax Credit Promoters Restrictions Act, An Act restricting the fees charged by promoters of the disability tax credit and making consequential amendments to the Tax Court of Canada Act; received Royal Assent.

Most people find the task of applying for Government Benefits daunting and this is only compounded by the stress of managing disability issues. Many who apply on their own will be denied simply because the forms are not completed appropriately.

The need for assistance with accessing these benefits is a very real and needed service. There are many non-profit organizations who offer legal advocacy services free of charge, but they are often heavily reliant on volunteers, and simply cannot keep up with the demand. There are also businesses that will offer legal advocacy services for a fee. Most are staffed with experts coming from accounting, legal, or insurance backgrounds to name a few and offer extensive information free of charge, in addition to the paid services. It should be recognized that the clients accessing these services are being provided a valuable, and legitimate service.

The enactment of this Act could mean that people who are disabled and those caring for their immediate disabled family members will be protected from what has become a predatory industry.

There are some businesses that have established themselves to assist people with the Disability Tax Credit application. These firms are often set up with fee structures that resemble those of law firms, operating on a 30 percent contingency fee basis, in addition to charging retainers. The clients are actively pursued and enticed into the business through the hosting of “free” seminars, tax assessments and eligibility assessments. The “specialists” and websites are full of truthful but very slanted facts. The clients are assured of their approval and sign the dotted line of the iron clad contracts because of the allurement of potential refunds as high as $35,000.

It is these firms that are the subject, for the most part, of this important piece of legislation.

The reality is that not everyone with a disability meets the legislative criteria to be approved for the Disability Tax Credit, and of those that are approved, there are some with no income to which the credit will be applicable and are therefore not going to get a tax refund at all. Those who are going through the process in the hope that they will receive a big payout in the end are often sorely disappointed. It is of course still of benefit for those persons to apply as approval of the tax credit is required in order to access other Government benefits.

The Government of Canada has recognized the need for this service, and the need for regulation. The Canada Revenue Agency has undertaken to conduct a series of consultations regarding the setting of rates for this industry, reporting requirements, and to whom those regulations should apply.

You the Canadian public have a unique opportunity to participate in these consultations. Should you wish to participate, I would encourage you to follow the link below.

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/dtcconsultations/?utm_source=stkhldrs&utm_medium=eml&utm_campaign=dtc

Hodie mihi, cras tibi

Mentally Me – C/P

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