News Provincial

Province ends carbon tax clawback for deceased rebate recipients

By Shawn Logan, Postmedia Network

Strathmore’s Darlene Piche holds the carbon tax rebate her mom received along with the bill for it’s return after she passed away this past January. At least three Alberta families say they’ve been issued bills from the province to return carbon tax rebates after loved ones died.

Strathmore’s Darlene Piche holds the carbon tax rebate her mom received along with the bill for it’s return after she passed away this past January. At least three Alberta families say they’ve been issued bills from the province to return carbon tax rebates after loved ones died.

Families of Albertans who died after receiving carbon tax rebate cheques will no longer be asked to return the money, the province says.

 

And officials said they’re working on finding a solution for those who had previously received the notices, admitting they deserve better than to be billed while they’re still in mourning.

Alberta’s NDP government came under fire last month when a number of people were issued notices from the Canada Revenue Agency, which administers the carbon tax rebate program for the province, demanding they pay back the money after a recipient passed away.

More than a dozen families who received the clawback notices reached out to Postmedia after the story broke, incensed at the order to pay back the money. Premier Rachel Notley vowed in the Alberta Legislature to swiftly put an end to the practice after facing questions from the Wildrose opposition.

Mike Brown, press secretary for Alberta finance boss Joe Ceci, said the minister was quickly able to halt any further bills from being issued, but officials are still trying to figure out how to deal with those who’ve already received, or paid, notices.

“As soon as we were made aware of this issue, our government took action,” he said.

“Minister Ceci started immediate discussions with the CRA and he continues to work with them to resolve this issue.”

In January, some 1.1 million rebates worth about $138 million (an average of about $125 per person) were issued to Albertans who met the income threshold, with the cash expected to help cover the financial impact of the carbon tax for the first six months of the year.

According to the Finance Ministry, of those rebates some 1,299 required reassessment after they were issued, though not all were sent out due to the province’s request to end the practice. It’s unclear how many households received the reassessments.

Brown said the province is still trying to figure out not only how to deal with the problem going forward, but how to deal with those who’ve received the bills and in some cases paid them back.

“As for those who already received letters, they deserve and expect better. We are working to address that too,” Brown said.

“We are working hard with the CRA to ensure that this does not happen in the future and we will have more to say on that in the coming weeks.”does not happen in the future and we will have more to say on that in the coming weeks.”

Strathmore’s Darlene Piche received a reassessment notice for her late mother Marie Casey on March 3, insisting she as the executor of her mother’s estate pay back the $100 rebate she received.

“Oh hell no,” Piche said Wednesday when asked if she had repaid the $100 her mother received just 16 days before she succumbed to COPD.

“I haven’t heard a peep from anybody about it either. I have no intention of paying it either.”