Victimized by the Taxman's Algorithm

Many taxpayers are totally unaware of the egregious methods of the taxman to collect more than his due, and he does this at times, through the misapplication (some would say misappropriation) of the Income Tax Act (ITA), which is always in the taxman’s favor, and how he uses an algorithm to turn a small amount into millions of dollars.

An example will illustrate how the taxman uses a simple algorithm to nickel and dime us in order to add millions of dollars more in extra monies by applying this algorithm to what many would perceive and consider as an insignificant amount of money to worry about.

How many of us would really question a downward adjustment to our refunds of $50 or even $100 on our Notice of Assessments or Notice of Reassessments? Most people are just happy to have a refund of any of their overpaid taxes gathered through payroll deductions. They rarely clue into this slight adjustment in the taxman’s favor as it is easily overlooked. Even if noticed, and understood that they are being ripped off, it is too insignificant an amount to try to do anything about it.

But theft is theft none the less, deliberate or otherwise. So here’s how the algorithm turns that insignificant amount into millions of dollars of extra revenue for which the taxman earns incentives for meeting or exceeding his quotas.

John Doe is an employee who has his taxes deducted at source and paid in advance by his employer on his behalf. He like all normal taxpayers, files his tax returns yearly claiming his usual deductions that are available to him, which results in the overpaid tax being refunded to him. As such he looks forward to receiving the refund of this overpaid tax upon filing his tax return. Unfortunately, like many other taxpayers, he does not look at this refund as a refund of his overpaid monies, but mistakenly as some form of “Government” bonus or handout he’s entitled to. Like so many Canadian taxpayers he really doesn't’t understand the system and therefore is very vulnerable.

Now the taxman, subject to ever increasing quotas, looks to constantly increase its “maximum” tax collection. He comes up with the idea to improperly downward “adjust” John Doe’s deduction claims so that he can collect another $50 million or $100 million. John, if lucky, just merely gets an ambiguous statement on his Notice of Assessment stating that his return has been assessed and adjusted.

The amount of $50 or $100 is too small for John to either notice or even question. Even if he does notice, it is too small to file a Notice of Objection and deal with the hassle of it as he thinks that this only applies to himself. But little does he know and realize, is that the taxman has done the same thing to a selected group of 100,000, a million or more other taxpayers (the algorithm). If you take $50 and multiply it by a million people, that’s $50 million extra revenue to the taxman for misapplying the ITA.

Of course while John thinks, if he didn't’t miss it, that he is the only one so affected, he is totally unaware of the larger number of people also affected and manipulated. However the taxman knows who everybody is that they did this to. The taxman also knows that because these million people don’t know each other it is unlikely that they could unite collectively to bring an action against him for this unlawful misapplication of the ITA, and so he gets away with the rip off.

So what’s the point you might ask? The point is, that singularly it’s virtually impossible to stop this kind of misconduct because of the amounts involved and the inability to know who else is affected and so unite on a cost effective basis to counter this kind of misconduct.  However, as a collective and united group, were the million people affected, to know who was affected and unite, they could bring accountability and compliance to the taxman for this conduct.

The point then, is how do we unite taxpayers in a way so that they can see what this misconduct is, see who’s affected, and how it applies on a larger scale than just to them individually? How do we cover the costs, time, and effort to expose and correct this egregious conduct? The answer is Profitable Giving Canada (PGC).

For in PGC, we can both expose this misconduct as it applies to the group so individuals can see it applies on a bigger scale than just to them alone, and see it as the campaign it is. It allows the individual to band with others that are affected similarly to bring justice, accountability, and compliance to the taxman.

So while $50 is ripped off from a million people, a million people for $1 each can provide the $1 million to counteract the taxman and bring accountability and compliance back to him. That’s the power of collective action (social justice – by the people for the people). That’s the power of PGC and what the taxman is really fearful of. That’s the power of the collective over the individual and is the only way to ensure the system is accountable in order to protect the rights and freedoms of the individual.

This is the unique value of PGC membership and its social justice proposition. It is through the unification of the “people for the people” that this not for profit SRO (PGC) can identify and defend against such practices from uncontrolled bureaucracies and the usage of the taxman’s algorithm against the working citizens of this great country of ours.

Paul Lauzon