Important message to current and former Government of Canada employees regarding pay

On Wednesday, February 8, I provided an update on our progress in resolving public service pay issues.

Preparing for your tax returns

With the upcoming tax season approaching, we have prepared helpful tools that current and former employees can use to prepare for their tax returns.

Starting the week of February 13, tax slips will progressively be available in Phoenix. Employees registered with a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and a Revenu Québec My Account will also be able to access their tax slips through their websites.

The following are five steps you should take to prepare for your tax returns. You can also consult our infographic, Helping employees understand their tax slips and prepare for tax season.

  1. Obtain your T4 or Relevé 1 slip, available the week of February 13, through Phoenix.
  2. Consult your final 2016 paystub in Phoenix. This paystub will provide you with the total of all payments received in 2016.
  3. Compare your T4 or Relevé 1 slip to your final 2016 paystub to verify that the earnings listed on the paystub match those on the tax slip. If these documents align, you can proceed with filing your tax returns as usual.
  4. If there is an issue with earnings listed on your paystubs or tax slip, consult our online questions and answers, which provide information on a range of tax scenarios. You can also see the comprehensive guide developed in collaboration with the CRA and the unions.
  5. If you still have questions about your earnings or taxes, contact our Call Centre at 1‑855‑686‑4729. Employees not serviced by the Pay Centre should call their departments first, but if they do contact our Call Centre, our agents will transfer them directly to their department’s compensation units, which can answer their questions.

Overpayments and underpayments for tax returns

Overpayments and underpayments are the two biggest tax-related issues employees may encounter for this end of year. Almost all employees who had received an overpayment, and contacted us before December 31, will not have an overpayment showing on their 2016 tax slips, whether the full amount was repaid or not.

However, there were a small number of complex overpayments that could not be processed before December 31. For these, and for employees who did not contact us before December 31, overpayments may appear on the tax slips. In this situation, employees should still file their taxes as they normally would, but they should contact us if they have not done so already. We will then issue an amended tax slip with the overpayment corrected when we process the employee’s outstanding transactions and a repayment arrangement is made.

Any employees who receive an amended tax slip after they have filed their taxes will not have to refile their tax return. We will provide the corrected earnings information to the CRA, which will adjust the tax return. Employees who receive an amended tax slip before they have filed should use the amended slip for their tax return.

For any employees who received an underpayment, any money owed for 2016 that is received in 2017 must be reported on 2017 tax returns. This means that someone could pay lower income taxes than usual in 2016 and higher income taxes in 2017. If this affects your taxes or eligibility for government benefits after 2017, such as child care, you can submit a claim under the claims process. Each claim will be reviewed based on valid receipts and other supporting documentation.

Monthly public service pay dashboard

To be transparent and make sure we provide employees with reliable, useful information, we posted our first monthly public service pay dashboard. This information shows you how we are doing against our service standards and provides estimated wait times for various transactions.

As I have mentioned in previous updates, we are tackling our service standards category by category. Some of the estimated processing timelines will frustrate employees, especially those who have already waited many months for their pay. We are working hard, and wherever possible, we will accelerate these timelines. I am also aware that some employees, like Canadian Coast Guard and Correctional Service Canada employees or nurses in the North, have more difficult work schedules and possibly more complicated pay issues. We are well aware of these specific situations and are looking for solutions.

I want to remind all employees that emergency salary advances and priority payments are available for anyone facing financial hardship, so there is no reason for any employees to go without their pay.

Over the next few weeks, you will begin to see change and improvement. There is still much to do, but we are picking up momentum.

Thank you all for your continued patience.

Marie Lemay, P.Eng., ing.
Deputy Minister
Public Services and Procurement Canada

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