CRA Service Standards in a Word: Overwhelmed

Beth Graddon

An astounding 98% of Knowledge Bureau poll respondents have given CRA’s service standards a thumbs down this year. It’s not too late for you to weigh in, too and share your thoughts on the question: “In your view, has CRA’s service level to professional tax advisors improved this year?”

Weigh in on our April poll.

The April 19, 2021 federal budget proposed new funds for a number of CRA improvements that address cybersecurity concerns, faster T1 processing times, and other changes to “modernize the CRA”.  That comes too late for taxpayers and the professionals working with them who have been encountering extra challenges while trying to meet the upcoming tax filing deadline.

“The worst issue for me was a 2 hour wait, only to get a message when connected that this Rogers customer is unable to answer your call. I cannot afford to have my business line held up all day like this.” - Melanie Madsen

“Honestly, if feels it like CRA is trying to do our entire profession in.  Get rid of us completely so people will get CRA to file their tax returns with minimal to no deductions they're entitled to.  Or maybe they won't need us if we go to a universal basic income?” – Jodi

“I have found that over the past 5 years the workers at CRA have gone from bad to worse.  They read what is in front of them and don't think.  They don't listen and in some case are rude and become downright combative verbally when you question their answer or ask for a supervisor.  I just keep trying till I find someone knows what they are talking about and can support it with actual legislation.”  -Laura Ruby Stade

“This is the worst I have ever encountered with the CRA.  It is almost always a minimum 2 hour wait and many times the just hang up after that time.  I could usually get someone within about 10 minutes early in the season (mid-February to mid-March) but not since. They tell you that wait times may be longer than expected and then you wait, and wait... and wait........ and then get hung up on.” – Robert Litschel

“I either can’t get through at all, or get through, wait 2+ hours, then get disconnected. I still have unanswered questions but have given up trying.” - Pauline Clark

“Their service is so bad it is not worth calling them.  You wait online for hours (not minutes) and the person you talk to can't offer an answer because they are working from home.” - Frank Bird

“This is the worst year ever for service. CRA increased  the number of agents by hiring from Maximus Canada  which is  American owned.” – Enzo Gallano

“The inefficiency of CRA is mind-boggling. It takes hours before the phone gets picked up, their systems are constantly down, and their online services are outdated. If they would focus on getting the online services optimized, then many called would be eliminated, and as tax preparers we could get be able to help our clients faster. Why does CRA have so many roadblocks? For example: changing a GST period to match with year-end of corporation should be easy and simple, but no, faxing, calling, just not to get any results.... no wonder so many Canadians are delinquent in their taxes.” - Veronique Dewilde

“NO, ... Well, I guess zero is a little better than when they tried to do something.  Does that count? - Alan Rowell

“When the previous government was in power, they reduced the tax centres from 10 or 11 down to 4. Then they reduced the number of agents working at each centre.  Then they hired people, gave them a couple of hours training and told them ‘you now are qualified to answer any and all questions that come your way - all you have to do is go to the CRA website, look up the topic and read the results back to the caller.” – Pat Gamborg

“I had to call CRA twice this year. The first time I called, I was on hold for 45 mins, transferred to another agent, put on and off hold for over an hour and then the phone disconnected. I repeated the process again the next day, same results. I then repeated the process again and was able to get my answer. Today, I had the need to call and was on hold for 2.5 hrs and the call ended up disconnecting before I got an answer to my question. Tax Professionals should have a dedicated line to reach a senior resource agent.” - Connie Pettigrew

“I was on hold for 3 hours before I got to talk to an agent & then my issue was not resolved. Only recommendation was a possible work around. Extremely frustrating!” - Margrete Lambden

“March 26 I called, was put on hold for an hour, to be told by the agent my Notice of Objection filed 14 months prior was transferred somewhere, not sure where, and to call a person specialized in this area.  I called, was on hold for 2+ hrs, was then told they didn't know what was going on, she said she needed to discuss this with her supervisor, then hung up the telephone.” – Sandra Clark

“Are you kidding? Past years I was able to speak to agent even after long wait, this year every time I hear the same answer: ‘we're busy, call later’. A separate line for tax preparers was promised years ago.” – Val Kaushansky

Last word goes to Gilles Moreau:  “Rev Canada should have extended the deadline, at least until May 30.  Where I live, we are in lockdown. So how to manage this date.  Revenue Quebec has extended until May 30. Which make sense.   I don’t understand the Revenue Minister.  She obviously has no idea what tax preparers have to go through. Come on extend the deadline!!”  

Knowledge Bureau Report will keep you posted on any new enhancements to CRA service standards that may result from the federal budget. Thank you to everyone who weighed in with their feedback.

Next month we will be asking this question:  Are you in favor of the OAS raise of 10% in 2022 for those age 75 or older? 

For more important details and interpretations, sign up to receive Knowledge Bureau Report in your inbox. You’ll have access to download our Special Report on the April 19, 2021 Federal Budget, too.  Plus, there’s an opportunity to invite friends and colleagues to share in the knowledge.

Additional educational resources: RSVP now for an analysis of the April 19, 2021 budget and its impact on 2021/22 retirement and estate planning options at the May 20 Virtual CE Summit.