Service delivery from the CRA

As a small or medium business owner or a representative, what is the most important thing you expect from CRA services?

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBR) defines 16 rights that apply to all taxpayers and describes the treatment you are entitled to when you deal with the CRA. It builds upon the CRA's corporate values of professionalism, respect, integrity, and cooperation. The TBR also sets out our Commitment to Small Business to ensure your interactions with us are conducted as efficiently and effectively as possible. Do you believe the CRA is meeting its commitment to small business?

If you live in a northern community, do you have any comments on tax services in the north? Can you suggest how the CRA can improve services to help small and medium businesses in the north meet their tax obligations?

 

Next card: Telephone service at the CRA

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Comments

Dominic A. CPA's picture
Aug 26, 2016 - 12:37

1) Mails being lost when we mailed to CRA or dropped off at a CRA office ( Drop off Box)
2) After months ( 4 months) T1 adjustments filed or mailed and amended returns mailed by way of registered or priority post, and tracked by sender as having been received by CRA, CRA has no record of the items being received
3) Direct telephone number contact list of varies sections of CRA should be made available rather than a general number for all types of issues
4) Business authorization forms (RC59) should be able to send on-line like T1013
5) Electronic Filing Remittance voucher (T7DR(A) should be able to download directly from CRA’s website

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BrenTax's picture
Aug 30, 2016 - 11:53

We completely agree and support ALL of Dominic's comments above

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Comptable5915's picture
Sep 2, 2016 - 09:06

Tout à fait d'accord avec tous les points soulevés par Dominic. La ligne directe pour les professionnels est essentiel

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Casey Laven's picture

Agree and support Dominic's comments

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Donna's picture
Sep 1, 2016 - 16:45

Every year I deal with clients who can't get a refund from their payroll account (after filing T4's) without explaining the reasons for the overpayment. While I realize that these are "trust monies", mistakes happen and I think CRA should refund amounts of less than $100 without the client having to pay their accountant or employee several hours to figure out where the mistake is. Also I have a client who can't get back their Small Business Job Credit of $1500, until they provide a reason for the $500 overpayment in the 2015 payroll account. Also I think the penalty for late payment of payroll remittances is too harsh on small businesses.

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Hugh N FCPA FCA TEP's picture
Sep 9, 2016 - 16:44

If CRA is going to require an explanation for all refunds on specific types of accounts (NR accounts are similar), it seems like this should be disclosed on the form ("if a refund is claimed, see instructions at _________) with the ability to provide the explanation with the filing, whether done on paper or electronically.

To the penalty amounts, CRA does not control these - Finance does.

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Comptable5915's picture

Il serait utile de nous permettre de faire estampiller le courrier que nous livrons à vos bureaux de Laval pour avoir une preuve de livraison. Il y a quelques années, à l'intérieur de l'édifice de ARC, il y avait des horodateurs et nous pouvions obtenir une date de livraison du courrier. De plus, le fait de laisser le courrier à l'intérieur était beaucoup sécuritaire que de le laisser dans une boîte aux lettres à l'extérieur. Ce service nécessite aucun frais car les horodateurs étaient déjà en place auparavent. Ce service fonctionne très bien chez Revenu Québec de Laval

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Hugh N FCPA FCA TEP's picture

As the above shows, lack of counter service and date stamping remains an issue. I recognize CRA's issues with the cost of counter service, the reality that it only benefits those Canadians (and their representatives) close enough to a CRA office to deliver documents and the fact that CRA's former date stamping was not an acknowledgement of what documents were included in the delivery.

In my view, the broader issue is the general imposition of penalties. If CRA is not prepared to facilitate the taxpayer/advisor obtaining proof of delivery (outside of paying for registered mail, courier services, etc.), the tradeoff should be affording the benefit of the doubt to taxpayers/advisors, and a presumption that documents were timely filed absent compelling evidence to the contrary.

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Hugh N FCPA FCA TEP's picture

CRA should maximize the use of data on their files before contacting taxpayers or their representatives. As one example, it seems like CRA cannot access T4 PS slips for pre- or post-assessing review purposes. Why not? We have clients who receive requests annually because T4 PS income is on line 104 (and a rare few because they have a deduction for excess EPSP payments).

That letter should not be coming at all - slips on CRA's files reflect 100% of these amounts. Further, the letter should come to the representative first, or at least be copied. Our clients do not engage us so they can answer CRA questions. If the client has the information, we can contact them with a much better idea of exactly what is needed, as we know what the exact claim was (compared to a CRA letter that has to consider every possible claim on that particular line).

A second example: when a will and probate is received, a CRA representative should be able to see that this is on file, and request it from your systems rather than calling us. When I have to fax the same document for the fourth, fifth, etc. time, the "tell us once" mantra seems less than fully implemented.

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Hugh N FCPA FCA TEP's picture

When issues arise, taxpayers and their representatives can only call general resolution lines. Often, issues cannot be resolved immediately, and that is understandable. As an example, we make a call to request a personal tax payment intended to pay a 2015 balance be applied as such, as it has been posted to the 2016 instalment account. The CRA representative advises this will take several weeks (why, when corporate funds can be moved immediately, is a separate matter).

When this does not happen, the taxpayer or representative has to contact a random CRA representative on a general enquiries line, and explain the entire situation again. Of course, the matter must still go to the person/section which can resolve the matter, and it will take several weeks.

There needs to be a system where a specific CRA representative takes ownership of the issue. "If it is not done within 6 weeks, call me directly at this number and I personally will follow up", not "If it is not done within 6 weeks, call general enquiries to speak to another randomly selected CRA representative who starts from square one again".

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Vani B.'s picture

That is an excellent suggestion Hugh.

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Hugh N FCPA FCA TEP's picture

There is probably no polite way to say this. Please READ OUR CORRESPONDENCE and contact us if you are uncertain of our meaning. Virtually all of us have telephone numbers on our letterhead. Call us to dispel any uncertainty.

BORING WAR STORY EXAMPLE: We have a client which is an Estate, with a January 31 year end. Its 2016 filing was due April 30, 2016, 90 days after its year end. That was a Saturday, so the due date became May 2, 2016, the date on which the return was sent by registered mail. A late filing penalty was assessed. We wrote CRA, including a copy of the proof of mailing by registered mail on May 2.

Today, I received a letter, four weeks less a day since our correspondence, advising CRA has received our "relief request". Reading a one page letter to determine it indicates the return was filed on time and improperly penalized should not be that difficult. I suppose we should not have used the phrase "We request CRA reassess the taxpayer to reverse the penalty" or similar, however it seems impolite to demand CRA do so.

Hopefully, after not correctly reading the year end on the return (such that it was assessed as late filed in the first place) and not correctly reading the request to correct the error in the second place, the error will be corrected on this, the third try. I will note my first inclination was to object and avoid any further time spent on this matter. I did not, nor am I filing an objection in response to this compounding of the error. Perhaps next time I will spare my client the additional time on the file and just go straight to Objection.

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Hugh N FCPA FCA TEP's picture

My note above is the opposite of politically sensitive. That it has been posted, after moderating it, is a clear indication of willingness to hear and share negative feedback. That, as well as the effort that has gone into this website, and is being expended on the various in person round tables, is excellent evidence of CRA's sincerity in seeking this input, and, I believe, in planning to address issues. It's not easy to hear negative feedback, and it's even tougher to make it a matter of public record. CRA deserves full credit for their sincerity in this process.

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Casey Laven's picture

Have been noticing increased delays in processing corporate returns. (Perhaps staffing issue) In the past this has been area that has provided quick response and only within the last 12 months seen degrade in services.

As indicated above CRA deserves credit for all the positive changes implemented and providing for feedback (Both positive and negative) in online format

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Gmann's picture

We received our first Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (OIDMTC) for our FY 2011. That credit was granted in December 2013; we filed an amended T2 return shortly thereafter and received the funds in March 2014 - approximately 120 days after filing our amended T2 return. Although 120 days was longer than we would like to wait, it seems reasonable given the unique nature of these credits.

We were granted a second OIDMTC for our FY 2013 on March 10, 2016. We filed an amended T2 return on March 17, 2016 and we are still waiting for that return to be assessed - 210 days and counting.

I understand that there is no service standard with regard to these re-assessments. I also understand that this department deals not only with T2 returns filed by companies with digital media tax credits, but also other tax credits administered by the CRA, including film tax credits. I'm sure that the volume of returns has increased substantially in the last two years.

However, we feel that the CRA is not meeting its obligation to companies such as ours - a small, independently-owned operation that doesn't have the resources to fund these tax credits on an ongoing basis. Since these tax credits are not available to us, we can't in turn hire freelancers, spend money to advertise and promote our products, and generally we are somewhat hamstrung in our ability to generate economic activity while we wait for the CRA to process our T2 return and pay the refund that we are owed.

We would therefore ask that the CRA be asked to provide additional staffing to process the volume of amended T2 returns generated by these tax credits, so that Canadian companies can receive their refunds in a timely manner and, in turn, put this money to work generating economic returns for all Canadians.

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