In the course of an investigation, we noted that the Service des finances was not following up on cheques issued to citizens for the reimbursement of property taxes to ensure they had effectively been cashed in. Such cheques are often issued a long time after the citizen has contested his/her property assessment roll.

We contacted the Service des finances to explore how this situation could be improved, to the benefit of Montrealers.

Following our discussions, the Service des finances agreed to implement a new follow-up policy on cheques related to the reimbursement of property taxes. The Service des finances has since created a File on property tax cheques that enables them to identify the cheques that are not cashed in within 6 months of their issuance date. With this information, an employee can now try to retrace the taxpayer concerned and arrange for the issuance of a new cheque.

The implementation of this new procedure took some time, however, and the issuance of replacement cheques began only in early 2009: the Department fist handled expired cheques that had been issued in 2007.

This new policy is clearly positive for many citizens. The issuance of a new cheque or the application of a corresponding credit to another account of this citizen normally occurs within 3 to 6 months, depending on the time of the year.

The Service des finances estimates that, since the implementation of this new policy, approximately $540,000 have been returned to 1491 taxpayers.

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