Anatomy of a blunder: How Veterans Affairs quietly buried a $165M accounting error | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Anatomy of a blunder: How Veterans Affairs quietly buried a $165M accounting error

It was an incredibly simple (and incredibly daft) mistake — and it led to a $165 million federal fiscal faux-pas.

In 2001, the Liberal government of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien made what appeared to be an innocuous change to federal tax forms.

It separated federal and provincial tax exemptions, shuffling the basic personal tax credit from one part of the document to another.

Staff at Veterans Affairs, who administer disability awards and pensions, did not pick up on the modification to the tax law for several years and ended up short-changing former soldiers — most of them elderly — who received disability pensions and awards benefits.

It was a mistake that cascaded, over time, into a whopping, multi-million dollar fiscal mess that Justin Trudeau's Liberal government began to mop up last fall.

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