Giant tax return blues
T4 mistake frustrates workers

Janet Smellie
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Feb 23/00) - Some former workers at Giant mine are fuming over delays a mistake on their T4 slips has created for the processing of their tax returns.

Canadian Autoworkers' plant chair Steve Petersen, who runs the transition centre for workers, said about 15 workers have come forward so far with T4s that were incorrectly filled out.

According to Petersen, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the receiver who issued the forms, admitted last week that an error was made on some T4s in the box used to record insurable earnings.

"There's at least 15 cases we know of and every day more and more are surfacing," Petersen said, adding "this is unbelievable considering these guys are one of the biggest accounting firms in the country."

The union learned of the errors on the T4s after several workers went to H&R Block to get their taxes done.

Former Giant crusher operator John Van Dine, who was expecting a "substantial" refund, said he couldn't believe it when H&R Block told him he wouldn't be getting his refund cheque immediately via 'Cash Back.' It was because his T4 was improperly filled out.

"They (PwC) aren't doing their job," Van Dine told Yellowknifer.

"It's typical. We've always hoped for something better and we get screwed every time."

Petersen said because the majority of workers laid off in October remain unemployed, the union put in a request asking PwC to process the T4s early, so workers could get a head start on filling out their tax returns.

"A lot of people are counting on these cheques to cover transportation costs out of here. For many, this return is the most substantial amount they will get their hands on since October's layoff," he said.

Petersen said PricewaterhouseCoopers confirmed on Feb. 15 it had "become apparent there were some irregularities."

"So we contacted John May, the manager for PwC in Edmonton. He was quite glib and informed me at least they'd mailed them out early," Petersen said.

"I said, 'That's fine and dandy, but they're wrong.'"

As of Monday, Petersen said PwC confirmed that they had hired a student to redo all the T4s and that they'd be mailed out to workers as soon as they're done.

In the meantime, Petersen said the union is urging all workers to check their T4s to make sure all the data is correct.

Telephone messages left on John May's voice mail at PwC were not returned by press time.