Archived: Government of Canada special update on tax preparation

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February 22, 2017

Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us.

As many of you know, we are now providing monthly updates on pay processing and service standards, and new information on that front will be available on March 8.

While monthly reporting will be the norm moving forward, I am here today, along with my colleague Randy Hewlett from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), to give you a specific update on what we’re doing to help public servants prepare their tax returns.

Tax implications

Last week, over 300,000 employees received their 2016 tax slips online through Phoenix.

Out of the 440,000 tax slips issued, there were two situations that required attention.

Some Relevé 1 tax slips for employees who live or work in Quebec listed incorrect taxable benefits information. As a precaution, we decided to remove all Relevé 1 slips to address the issue. We are currently working on ensuring the completeness and accuracy of the Relevé 1 slips, and employees will have access to them by February 28.

We also encountered an issue with health benefits being reported in the wrong box in T4 slips for employees who work in British Columbia. This issue is being rectified, and new slips for these employees will be issued by February 28.

To ensure that employees are working from the right information, we encourage them to print out their tax slips after February 28.

We have information on our website to help employees confirm that the earnings listed on their last paystub of 2016 match those on their tax slip. For most employees, these amounts will align and their tax preparation can proceed as usual.

Employees who still have questions about their earnings or taxes after consulting our website can contact our Call Centre, where agents are ready to help them understand paystub information and tax slips. Employees serviced by the Pay Centre who have more detailed questions about their earnings will be connected to a specialized support group within Public Services and Procurement Canada. If needed, employees will also be connected with experts at the CRA for questions related specifically to taxes. Employees in departments not served by the Pay Centre should contact their compensation unit.

We are seeing an increase in our call volume at the Call Centre, which was expected as tax slips were progressively made available to employees last week. Since February 13, we’ve received approximately 2,000 calls regarding their tax slips.


One of the main issues that may affect employee taxes this year is overpayments. In general, overpayments occur when employees leave the public service or go on leave without having their pay stopped. Overpayments have always been an issue. For example, in 2015, about $78 million in overpayments was identified. Last year, because of delays in processing transactions, the number of overpayments was higher than previous years. In 2016, as of December 31, if we include the old Regional Pay System and Phoenix, we generated approximately $140 million in overpayments. This amount represents less than 1% of the total value of annual pay. We continue to take steps to improve the pay system, and we don’t expect to see repeats of this situation once we reach steady state in the categories creating most of the overpayments, such as terminations or leave without pay.

We have asked all employees who received an overpayment to contact us. The vast majority of overpayments flagged before December 31 will not appear on tax slips since earnings were corrected before tax slips were issued.

For anyone who did not have an overpayment processed before December 31, overpayment amounts will be included on tax slips.

In these situations, employees should still file their taxes as they normally would, and we will issue an amended tax slip with the overpayment corrected.

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.

Repayment of overpayments

All employees in a repayment situation are being contacted so they fully understand how much they owe. We are also providing repayment options, such as timing and installments. Our goal is to ensure that repayments do not impose a financial burden on anyone.

Thank you.

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

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