Newfangled enters new realm

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To add to the list of the inevitable – death and taxes – let’s just say change in itself is pretty hard to avoid. In fact, change in how Canadians do their income tax is in the air and not everyone is happy.

As more people turn to online filing of their least favourite assignment, income tax returns, due the end of April each year, Revenue Canada is no longer mailing out traditional paper forms unless asked. CARP, a Canadian seniors organization, wants that decision reversed, saying not everyone has Internet access and not everyone is comfortable transmitting financial information online.

The group wants the government to continue to mail forms to everyone who filled them out on paper last year.

The qualms are understandable. And indeed society is on a slippery slope toward presuming everyone should own a computer and be tech-savvy. But there are alternatives where tax filing is concerned.

Revenue Minister Gail Shea responded to the group’s lobby effort reminding people that the paper forms and booklets are available on request at post offices and at Service Canada locations. Obtaining them is by no means out of the way.

From the federal government’s point of view, this updated trend is about saving some money on printing costs, but also about cutting waste. Shea reported in the House of Commons the other day that 1.3 million of the paper packages sent out last year – and it’s a hefty ream, 80 million leafs of paper – were never returned.

We have to get used to the idea that things don’t stay the same.

It’s a little like doing away with the penny. Some would like to hang on to that relic for sentimental reasons, or because they know it could ultimately cost them an extra two cents on some purchases. But considering the cost of producing the nearly valueless coin, it’s best to say goodbye.

Considering the chore of filling out taxes – or the expense if you use an accountant – a trip to the post office for a form is the easy part.

Organizations: Revenue Canada, Service Canada, House of Commons

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