Mr. Speaker, from the inception of the GST, Joe Arling's motel in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, has remitted payments as instructed in Revenue Canada's guide which states that lodging rentals for periods exceeding 30 days are GST exempt.
An auditor has now informed Mr. Arling that the exemption only applies if more than 90 per cent of the rooms are rented long term. This is not in the guide and only recently became known to Revenue Canada staff, let alone to taxpayers.
Revenue bureaucrats acknowledge that Mr. Arling tried to be compliant but maintain the ignorance of the law, even when agents of the crown provide misinformation, is no excuse. They will not consider a negotiated settlement and are determined to play hardball at any cost to the department and to my constituent.
Businessmen who do their best to serve as unpaid tax collectors do not deserve shabby treatment by unyielding bureaucrats.
This case was brought to the attention of the Minister of National Revenue two months ago, and I am still awaiting a response.