Accountability Check: Is it Easier to Access Info from CRA?

Beth Graddon

In response to a scathing report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer back in 2017, CRA initially promised to improve its service standards by 2020. CRA has made small steps in the right direction with an upgraded phone system for the business inquiries line.  Do you find that call requests are being resolved more quickly and accurately?

Last January the CRA still received a “D” mark from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) for their ability to adequately support business owners and the financial professionals they work with, in navigating new Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) rules. Incorrect information provided by CRA agents, as well as lengthy wait times were among the reasons cited, which is consistent with ongoing service standard complaints of the CRA.

What mark would you give CRA now?

We noticed that the use of CRA’s website, especially as a key source of critical tax filing information throughout the pandemic has been prevalent. However, receiving information about website updates has largely been scattered, big changes are made frequently and it is a “taxpayer beware” scenario.  In other words, financial intermediaries can provide a high value service just by helping clients navigate changes to the CRA website.  

Bottom line:  CRA deserves kudos for turning on a dime to help Canadians hard hit by the pandemic.  But it’s hard to comply with laws that are highly complex, changing frequently and without adequate notice to taxpayers.   For these reasons, it is hoped CRA will be reasonable in future tax audits.

If you’ve been struggling to get access to information from the CRA, through their website or when dealing directly with their agents, you certainly aren’t alone.   Knowledge Bureau can help.  Tax and financial professionals can still gain access to the latest information relevant to their practice this year with a subscription to EverGreen Explanatory Notes™.

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