The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers recourse for clients who feel that they have not been treated fairly or the service they received was sub par. This post will touch upon the process to file complaints, deal with disputes, and applicability of tax relief provisions.
If a client feels that they have not received proper service from CRA staff, then they can file a service complaint for remedy. A service complaint can be filed against the CRA for various reasons including, but not limited to, supplying wrong information to client, causing undue delay to proceedings, and employee behavior. However, due to the wide scope of the causes, the CRA also defines matters that cannot entail a service complaint. This CRA page offers examples of such non-service complaint matters and routes to deal with those issues.
A client can proceed with a service-related complaint using the following steps:
- Speak to the CRA staff member in question, or their supervisor, to resolve the issue.
- If Step (1) above did not provide a solution, complete Form RC193 and mail or fax it to the CRA.
- Contact the office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman (last resort only)
More details about the process after a complaint has been filed can be found here and it is worth remembering that information provided to the CRA is covered by the Privacy Act and hence, kept confidential.
Dealing with Disputes
In case of a disagreement with the Notice of Assessment received from the CRA, a client can try to resolve the dispute by calling 1-800-959-8281. If the verbal method does not yield a solution, then depending on the situation (topic of disagreement), a client can follow instructions provided for each topic on the dispute resolution page. In order to ensure that everyone receives every benefit available, a client has the right to a formal review in the event of an unresolved dispute.
Taxpayer Bill of Rights
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is an extension of CRA’s core values including professionalism, respect, and integrity and also outlines CRA’s support to small business clients to ensure fair and accurate service.
In the event of a client being unable to meet their tax obligations due to unforeseen circumstances such as personal tragedies, natural calamities, or CRA errors, there are tax relief provisions available to address such cases. At the discretion of the Minister of National Revenue, the CRA may offer a waiver or cancellation of penalties/interest, accept late submissions, and offer refunds or reduce payable taxes beyond the normal 3-year period. The taxpayer relief legislations allow the CRA to exhibit flexibility and resolve issues depending on individual situations.
As with service complaints, there are certain requests that may not fall under tax relief provisions. Such requests may include seeking assessment/reassessment of a tax file, waiver or cancellation of tax, or inquiry about penalties/interest charged. If you are dealing with one of these non-tax relief issues, please call the relevant CRA toll-free number. More information about tax relief provisions can be found in the IC07-1 publication.
Have you had to file a service complaint, deal with a dispute, or use the tax relief provisions? How did your experience turn out?
About the Author: Clark works in Saskatchewan and has been working to build his (DIY) investment portfolio, structured for an early retirement. He loves reading (and using the lessons learned) about personal finance, technology and minimalism. You can read his other articles here.