Last updated: March 05 2008

Service from the CRA

What kind of service have you been receiving from the CRA? If you're not satisfied with it, there are now more options available to you to resolve any problems.

The Taxpayer's Bill of Rights outlines the following right for individuals:

  1. to receive entitlements and to pay no more and no less than what is required by law
  2. to service in both languages
  3. to privacy and confidentiality
  4. to a formal review and a subsequent appeal
  5. to be treated professionally, courteously, and fairly
  6. to complete, accurate clear, and timely information
  7. not to pay income tax amounts in dispute before you have had an impartial review
  8. to have the law applied consistently
  9. to lodge a service complaint and to be provided with an explanation of CRA findings
  10. to have the costs of compliance taken into account when administering tax legislation
  11. to expect CRA to be accountable
  12. to relief from penalties and interest under tax legislation because of extraordinary circumstances
  13. to expect CRA to publish their service standards and report annually
  14. to expect CRA to warn you about questionable tax schemes in a timely manner
  15. to be represented by a person of your choice

Plus CRA's commitments to small business:

  1. to administering the tax system in a way that minimizes the costs of compliance for small businesses
  2. to working with all governments to streamline service, minimize cost, and reduce the compliance burden
  3. to providing service offerings that meet the needs of small businesses
  4. to conducting outreach activities that help small businesses comply with the legislation we administer
  5. to explaining how we conduct our business with small businesses

These rights and commitments are explained in the CRA's publication RC17 Taxpayer Bill Of Rights Guide: Understanding Your Rights As A Taxpayer.

If you find that a CRA representative is not respecting any of these taxpayer's rights of commitments to small business, you should follow up on taxpayer right #9: ìto lodge a service complaint and to be provided with an explanation of our findings.î

Probably the most common complaint we here is of the service received from the CRA. Some common service complaints noted in RC17 are:

  • undue delays in meeting service standards
  • errors, omissions, or oversights on CRA's part
  • poor or misleading information received in your dealings with CRA, and
  • unprofessional behaviour from CRA staff.

The CRA even has a form (RC193 Service-Related Complaint) for you to file such complaints.

If you're feeling that you're getting nowhere with the CRA, the government has recently appointed Mr. Paul Dubé to act as a Taxpayer's Ombudsman to help resolve issues with CRA. According to the Taxpayer's Ombudsman website Mr Dubé's mandate is to:

  • ensure that CRA respects taxpayer's service rights
  • conduct impartial and independent reviews of service-related complaints about the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA);
  • facilitate taxpayer access to assistance within the CRA;
  • identify and review systemic and emerging service-related issues within the CRA that have a negative impact on taxpayers; and
  • provide advice to the Minister of National Revenue about service‑related matters in the CRA.
To file a complaint to the Taxpayer's Ombudsman, you must file the Tax Ombudsman's Complaint Form which is available online. The complaint form can be mailed or faxed to the Ombudsman's office (along with any supporting documentation).
The ombudsman cannot review complaints dealing with tax policy or legislation, or decisions that can be dealt with by the courts.