Excellent post by Suzanne Smythe about the Canada Revenue Agency’s ethnography on homeless citizens’ access to tax filing.
Yes, you read that right. The CRA has carried out an ethnographic study to better understand barriers to income tax filing among those who experience homelessness and insecure housing. Thanks to Christine Pinsent-Johnson for drawing my attention to this fascinating research!
The CRA study began with the premise that homeless citizens may be foregoing crucial access to income and benefits due to barriers they experience filing their taxes. Researchers interviewed 50 people in shelters and social service agencies about their tax filing experiences. The honesty and insight in this study refreshing. Among the barriers that people described (and that many frontline service workers and homeless citizens will recognize):
- Government communication cultures can be intimidating. (see section 5.33, para. 1)
“CRA communication, whether online, over the phone, or by mail, can pose a barrier to some homeless and housing-insecure individuals who may struggle to understand the CRA’s technical communication style, or…
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