CRA reverses $1,200 demand from 94-year-old

Elizabeth LeMoine was right.

She didn’t owe the tax department more than $1,200 as the Canada Revenue Agency had demanded.

Now, less than a month after a Global News report exposing the agency’s insistence she pay up anyway, the 94-year-old Bradford, Ont., woman is off the hook.

“We’re appreciative of all the help and most of all, we appreciate that it has all been resolved,” said Elizabeth, whose daughter Christine emailed Global News when the pair could not get an explanation for the tax bill.

“Once they’ve got their boot on your neck, they’re not taking it off until they’ve got your money,” Christine said in an interview.

The CRA believed Elizabeth had moved to live with her daughter in Ontario in 2016. She actually relocated in 2017 when she told her house in Pasadena, Newfoundland, and moved to Bradford, north of Toronto.

Mother and daughter said their efforts to resolve the dispute were unsuccessful, in part because they could not reach anyone at the CRA by telephone. Months ago, they said they were assured verbally that no money was owing;  but subsequently, Elizabeth began to receive written demands again.

Following the Global News report, viewers and readers expressed anger that the CRA appeared to be targeting Elizabeth, who described the CRA’s actions as “harassment.”

After seeing the story, two lawyers also offered their services to Elizabeth free of charge: Alvin Leung, co-founder of Erudite Law LLP in Markham, and Marie-France Dompierre, tax litigation lawyer at Deloitte Tax Law LLP in Montreal.

CRA representatives arranged a conference call with Elizabeth and Christine and re-evaluated her account.

Afterward, they acknowledged that Elizabeth didn’t owe more than $1,200 as originally billed. The actual amount was $25.08, which she has since paid.

“Thank you, Global News,” Christine said in a video message, her arm around her smiling mother. She also thanked Leung and Dompierre for their interest and assistance.

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