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April 24, 2009

Canada Revenue Agency turns Irvin Leroux’s life upside down!

Canada Revenue Agency screws up Irvin Leroux’s life with a million-dollar mistake and refuses to do anything about this.

Irvin Leroux, a resident of Prince George, British Columbia, who’s trouble began in 1996, when an auditor from the Canada Revenue Agency showed up to look at his books. At the time Mr. Leroux and his wife owned and operated a successful RV park in Valemount, British Columbia. In 2002, Irvin’s RV Park and Campground awarded the prestigious SuperHost customer service awarded by British Columbia Tourism. The auditor took Mr. Leroux’s business receipts and other records, he said, then misplaced those records at the Canada Revenue Agency office.

Missplaced? That is right. How can a professional misplace documents that people give them which have severe consequences if handled improperly.  Apparently the auditor told Mr. Leroux that someone put them on the pile that was to be shredded. Now what is an individual supposed to do? Federal Government especially Revenue Agency is a vortex and simply speaking people are intimidated by them. People should be able to trust them with documents or information that has dire consequences.

After the “auditor” lost or shredded all Mr. Leroux’s documents, Canada Revenue agency completed their audit anyways. Without receipts to show his business expenses, numerous CRA audits over several years concluded Leroux owed almost $900,000 in personal income tax, plus over $100,000 in GST, including interest and penalties. Can anyone in their right mind believe this? In 2005, Mr. Leroux took his case to the Tax Court of Canada, where the CRA gave up in a so-called consent to judgment, essentially admitting its mistake. That reduced Leroux’s personal tax bill to zero and his GST bill to $20,000. Documents show that by 2006, Leroux was actually owed a $24,000 tax refund. However, Mr. Leroux did not owe them a penny because he already have paid his taxes properly. This is the mistake that the so called incompetent auditor made.

Years before his case went to tax court, however, the CRA had obtained a writ of seizure and sale against Leroux’s properties so it could move in and collect on his alleged tax debt, if necessary. “These individuals have the right to come after every one of your assets without justification on what they are doing,” Leroux said. This part is really scary. I don’t understand WHY federal government would have the right to come into my bank account or on my property to collect their so called dues that is not properly justified? “Justified” is actually a tamed word compared to the frustration and anger that one must feel when this happens to them. When all these were happening, Mr. Leroux’s main creditor the Business Development Bank of Canada demanded that he pay back his very large business loan in 2001. Do you see the tidal wave that is taking place because of the mistake made by Canada Revenue Agency? He had to sale all his assets, his home, his business for a reduced price of approximately $4 million to pay off all his debts for a mistake that he did not make. “I’ve said to him the whole way, I will fight with you,” said Moore, his wife. “This is wrong. They can’t take it away and not even apologize. They can’t take it away and not be held accountable. They are not accountable apparently!

After Leroux’s tax bill was canceled, his MP, 16-year veteran B.C. caucus chair Dick Harris, stepped in and took his case to Ottawa. Correspondence shows that in 2006, Harris had several discussions with then minister of national revenue Carol Skelton a member of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet urging her to arrange compensation for his constituent’s losses. Isn’t it too little too late? Even if they pay Mr. Leroux back his money there is no way he could rebuild his destroyed life. This is not justice.

At first Skelton assured that if Leroux filed a lawsuit against the government, an out-of-court settlement could be arranged. Ok, talk about wasteful spending. They know they have done a mistake, they know they have devastated someone’s live and yet the want to go through all those bureaucratic channels!

Later in a letter to Skelton, Harris repeated what she had led him to believe: “I was told that ‘CRA does not have a mechanism to proactively pay damages however if Mr. Leroux launches a court challenge with a statement of claim, the department could settle out of court.’ ”

In an email to Leroux, Harris wrote: “I am convinced that things are going as we were promised. [The minister] wants the outcome of your case to be an example of how Revenue Canada must be held accountable for its abuses of Canadians.”

Later in 2006, when there was no sign of a settlement in the works, Harris wrote this angry email to the minister’s assistant:

“I am livid. This whole episode is the most inhumane treatment I have ever witnessed in my life. And I cannot believe that our own government would treat Canadians in this manner. Mr. Leroux is an honest, principled individual who had been driven to the brink many times by Revenue Canada. If Revenue Canada mount even the slightest objection to the statement of claim filing this week I ASSURE YOU AND THE MINISTER THAT ALL HELL IS GOING TO BREAK LOOSE. This is bulls–t!”

I do have to admire Mr. Dick Harris’s commitment to this.

However in March, CRA tried to have Lerou’x statement of claim thrown out of court. Leroux said he would have never filed the claim in the first place if he hadn’t been urged by his MP, because he can’t afford a lawyer. Who could after all these? Mr. Leroux even had a long discussion about his case with Prime Minister Harper.¬† Stephen Harper even promised to Mr. Leroux that he would look into the matter if Mr. Leroux supported him during the election. COME ONNNNN! What a shame. Just another broken promise. But this is much more severe than that. Someone lost his entire life savings, his life turned upside down. Politics shouldn’t play a role into this. If you really care show it!

Internal CRA emails written by assistant commissioner Rod Quiney in August 2006, obtained by Leroux under the federal access to information law, summarize the agency’s position in his case: “I believe we have been very fair and have in all respects provided the appropriate respect for his position and appropriate redress [by canceling the debt],” Quiney wrote. “No compensation will be paid,” he concluded.

I am outraged. It could happen to you, it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone. How can we do something about this? Why should we even bother trusting the people who we elect to serve us?

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6 Comment(s)

  1. Joey Rockefeller | Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    Isn’t that always the way? When a Government agency decides to serve its own interests, citizens get the shaft. Every. Fucking. Time.

    Which is completely disingenuous and backwards, because as a Government agency, they are nothing without accountability to the public. How is it that agencies that are supposed to work for citizens always get turned around and work against us?

    Anywhere else, a person who so utterly failed to do their job would be fired. These asshats (who, I might remind the rest of Canada are NOT elected officials) deserve nothing better than a lengthy public humiliation followed by dismissal without severance.

    What’s it going to take for the workers and entrepreneurs of this country to stop bending over for the politicians who do absolutely nothing to justify their paycheques?

    Oh yeah, and Stephen Harper really has class.. Stunning, copious amounts of class. By pinning his support in addressing a serious concern by a taxpaying citizen on a VOTE, he has shown us all the real state of Canadian politics.

    His way, or the highway?

    How about OUR way, because it’s OUR country, and if you suits fucking behave, we’ll let you keep your heads.

  2. blogger | Apr 26, 2009 | Reply

    I couldn’t have agreed with you more Joey. After the story came out I have done some research. There are quite a few examples of “Canada Revenue Agency” serving for it self. One person spent $300,000 on tax lawyer just to find out that he was right and CRA was wrong. Can you imagine that?

    Speaking about the dismissal without severance, that is never gonna happen. There are again few examples I have found where if you want to fire someone you have to have “JUST CAUSE” and even after that you have to pay them substantial amount of money based on their salary.

    Isn’t it also funny how most people don’t know about their paychecks? Stephen Harper was so dubious, I can’t believe that. During the election, they would do anything including begging for your vote but as soon as election is over – WHO CARES – that is the hat they wear.

  3. blogger | Apr 26, 2009 | Reply

    OK check this out, I am so outraged by this story I did a little research. An audit on the CRA has revealed that it paid at least $3 million in salaries to employees who no longer work for them! Can you believe this? You can find more on this here: http://www.portagedailygraphic.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1427113

    CRA apparently making the erroneous payments since 1999. In 2005-2006 apparently 1,922 employees (that is right) who no longer works with CRA received salaries from CRA. In 2006-2007 that number grew into 2,258. I guess to make up for their mistakes they just need to screw up hard working citizen’s life and Irvin Leroux is just another victim!

  4. Joe Taxpayer | Jul 25, 2009 | Reply

    Our government is out of control.
    They collect ‘taxes’ from every conceivable source including gambling monopolies (VLTs, lottos, casinos, etc., etc.) to alcohol, drugs, every continuously increasing user & registration fee, income & property taxes, etc., etc.
    But our government is still SWELLING out of control and running in the RED!
    So …… they allow CRA to use whatever terrorist tactics they want to rape the taxpayer!
    There has to be some way to fight them??

  5. admin | Jul 25, 2009 | Reply

    Lead the way Joe Taxpayer. I dont think there is any way to fight them. I have some friends who work at the CRA and according to them, its a nice place to be when things are going your way but if you are on their list for any reason you are in hell.

  6. Abuse Victim | Sep 18, 2009 | Reply

    Canada Revenue Agency fails to follow their own mandate which is published on their own website.
    Canada doesn’t need to worry about the MOB Canada has Canada Revenue Agency who are legalized racketeering agents.
    It is a pity that the government can’t stand up to it’s own agency.

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