Canada Revenue Agency resorts to ‘poking’ debtors on Facebook

Canada Revenue Agency resorts to ‘poking’ debtors on Facebook

Atlantic Canada — Remember a few years ago when people you barely knew would “poke” you on Facebook? Well, the Canada Revenue Agency is bringing that back as a method of subtly reminding people to pay their taxes.

“We don’t want to bother anyone, we just want to remind them that, hey, your 2016 taxes owing aren’t going anywhere,” said CRA collections officer Bob Carter.

“In addition to the poke, we may ‘like’ a photo of your vacation to Mexico last winter, or ‘react’ to your public rant about vaccinations. We figure it’s better in the long run to avoid sending threatening letters when instead we can insidiously — and cheaply — worm our way into citizens’ private lives through Facebook.”

Carter said the CRA has been modifying language used in correspondence, and has discovered that the more respectful the tone, the more likely people will be to pay the balance owing in full and on time.

“We can’t force people to pay on time, but we have learned how to delicately guilt them into doing so. Facebook pokes, though harmless, are extremely annoying and people would rather just pay the couple grand they owe than deal with the needy CRA on social media.”

Saint John native Bernard McCoullough said he was “poked” this morning on Facebook by the CRA’s page.

“I was playing Candy Crush when I got this notification that I’d been ‘poked’… I didn’t know that feature was still part of Facebook,” he told us. “For sure it got my attention. I haven’t filed my taxes yet, no, but like, is there some kind of deadline for doing it? I thought it was just a ‘pay when you get around to it’ type thing.

“S’pose I’ll take my bag of receipts down to H&R Block this afternoon. I’ve got nothing else goin’ on.”

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