OTTAWA, Ontario (LifeSiteNews) –– After recent pushback from Conservative MPs, the cabinet of the federal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau now says it will not enforce a new forthcoming rule which will ban citizens from paying tax debts over $10,000 by check.
“People can continue to use paper to file their return if they choose,” clarified Pierre Leblanc, the director general of personal income tax at the Department of Finance during testimony at a Senate national finance committee held two weeks ago.
“They can continue to receive communications with the Canada Revenue Agency by mail if they choose and they can continue to receive checks instead of direct deposits if they choose.”
The new rule regarding banning paying large tax debts by check was inserted into part of the federal omnibus budget Bill C-47, or Budget Implementation Act. It will likely become law soon.
The bill is currently being debated in the House of Commons; however, it has faced resistance from the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) which has been trying to stall its passage via a filibuster.
Trudeau’s finance minister, Chrystia Freeland, has vowed to try and stop the filibuster but has not yet been able to.
Lindsay Gwyer, who serves as the director general of tax legislation at Canada’s Department of Finance, said during testimony at the Senate national finance committee, “The intention is not to force people to do things electronically if it is not possible or if they have been historically filing on paper.”
Gwyer stated that a portion of Trudeau’s Bill C-47, which mandates electronic payment of a tax bill over $10,000, was intended to encourage the digital filing of taxes over paper filing.
LifeSiteNews had reported that Gwyer last month testified at a House of Commons finance committee meeting that “Large payments above $10,000 are required to be made electronically.”
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) spokesman Charles Drouin said that the new policy will not “come into effect until January 1,” 2024 and that more details would be coming “in due course.”
At the time, some Conservative MPs questioned why getting rid of paying by check is needed.
CPC MP Marty Morantz said, “This piece about having to pay electronically over $10,000, what if somebody doesn’t want to do that or doesn’t know how?”
“Why can’t they pay by check?” he asked.
Paying taxes by check has been allowed for over 100 years
Since 1917, the CRA has allowed anyone with tax debt to pay by “cash or check.”
When senators during the committee meeting pressed Gwyer on why the threshold of $10,000 was picked, he responded that “$10,000 was identified as being a number that was high enough that it would be reasonable to expect that most people would likely be making that payment electronically anyway.”
“That number is a judgment call,” he added.
Leblanc noted that most Canadians file their yearly taxes electronically, with about 30.5 million returns in 2021 being done digitally, however, some 2.7 million returns were filed on paper.
Gwyer detailed how the changes would allow employers to send their employees their yearly T4 statements of income electronically, but admitted if one asked, they could still get it by paper.
This is not the first time Canadian government officials have tried to stop the use of checks in favor of digital banking.
In 2012, the Department of Public Works tried to mandate that all recipients of tax refunds, as well as federal benefit payments, give over their bank account information to enable direct deposit. Despite a push, the Department of Public Works was not successful in stopping payments via check.
The CRA’s in-house research shows that those who use checks are not in favor of change.
A survey from 2014 from the Department of Public Works showed that about 26 percent of Canadians are opposed to mandating payment electronically.
Forcing Canadians to pay via electronic funds transfer as opposed to check comes around the same time that governments worldwide are touting replacing cash with central bank digital currencies.
While Canadian banks thus far have not been hit with collapse like some banks in the United States in recent months, experts have warned that a financial crisis could spell the acceleration of the introduction of central bank digital currencies.
As noted in a recent report from LifeSiteNews, experts warn that central bank digital currencies are a “control tool” by the government.
“Government-backed digital currencies issued by a central bank. They can be issued to financial institutions or to the general public, effectively giving people a bank account the government can directly access, in an account held either by the government itself or a commercial bank,” the report read.