Monday, June 22, 2009

Double Standard for Doer's Scandal

Gotta love double standards. Governments can be ruthless with taxpayers who don't pay their bills, but as we recently learned, a political party (Manitoba's NDP) is being let off the hook for repaying tax dollars it appears it received illegitimately. See here for details.

Basically, the NDP cooked their books during the 1999 election by counting volunteer time from unions as expenses. As political parties are reimburse by the government with fifty cents for every dollar they spend during an election, this scheme provided the NDP with $76,000 of taxpayer money it wasn't eligible to receive.

Although the NDP were forced to repay the taxpayer dollars they received illegitimately during the 1999 election, it appears they haven't repaid taxpayer money from previous elections. This despite an NDP cabinet minister and an official agent stating the scheme had gone on for years prior to that election.

If you're thinking it's too late to go after taxpayer money handed out during the 1995, 1990, 1988 or 1986 elections, consider section 6 of the Canada Revenue Agency's Information Circular IC75-7R3.

Basically, the feds have the ability to go in and reassess taxpayers at any time if they feel a taxpayer has made "misrepresentation attributable to neglect, carelessness or wilful default or has committed fraud under the Income Tax Act."

As you'll note, they can also assess interest and penalties.

Again, taxpayers can get raked over the coals for bills they don't pay, but it looks as though there's a separate set of rules for political parties.

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