Ombudsperson Probes CRA's 2023 Bare Trust Filing Rules

Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsperson

The Taxpayers' Ombudsperson, Mr. François Boileau, has formally opened a systemic examination into whether the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) respected taxpayers' rights in its administration of bare trust filing requirements for the 2023 tax year.

The Government introduced new reporting requirements for trusts. For most trust types, including bare trusts, the deadline to file a T3 Return and Schedule 15 for 2023 was March 30, 2024. On March 28, 2024, the last business day before the filing deadline, the CRA announced it will not require bare trusts to file a T3 Income Tax and Information Return (T3 return), including Schedule 15, for the 2023 tax year, unless directly requested by the CRA. Since this announcement, several taxpayers and representatives, as well as members of Parliament, have reached out to the Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsperson (OTO) to express their concerns.

Many stated that some bare trustees had already paid their representatives hundreds of dollars in order to meet their 2023 filing obligations that were waived by the CRA. Representatives were also concerned because they had spent time and money on training, software updates, research and other areas affected by legislative changes. That said, the decision was welcomed by some organizations.

Based on the information received so far, the OTO is launching a systemic examination into the clarity and timing of the CRA's communication and into the cost of compliance issues for taxpayers and their representatives. The examination will look into whether the CRA respected service rights outlined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, including:

  • Right #6, "You have the right to complete, accurate, clear, and timely information."
  • Right #10, "You have the right to have the costs of compliance taken into account when administering tax legislation."

With this examination, the OTO is looking to better understand the processes in place by speaking with stakeholders, including the CRA. The Office is committed to carrying out this review fairly and impartially. Based on the examination's findings, the Ombudsperson may make recommendations on ways the CRA can prevent similar issues in the future.

Background information

The Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsperson works independently from the CRA. Canadians can submit complaints to the Office if they feel they are not receiving the appropriate service from the CRA. Our main objective is to improve the service the CRA provides to taxpayers and benefit recipients by reviewing individual service complaints and service issues that affect more than one person or a segment of the population.

The Taxpayers' Ombudsperson assists, advises and informs the Minister of National Revenue about matters relating to services provided by the CRA. The Ombudsperson ensures, in particular, that the CRA respects eight of the service rights outlined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

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