Can You Really Lodge A Complaint Against the CRA?

CRA Service complaint

Most people are intimidated by the CRA and this is something that the Canadian government has been trying to overcome.   They have discovered that they are successful at collections with a more friendly yet still firm approach.   To some it would seem you can “catch more flies with honey” approach.   Yet don’t expect any honey from the CRA if you owe them money.

There has been a mandate set in place which is the taxpayers rights, which outlines what you should expect when dealing with this government department.

If you have a complaint against them there is no point in raising your voice or being nasty with the tax representative that you are dealing with.   There is a proper course of action to follow.   It is said that there are no repercussions to lodging a complaint, yet many people fear that they will become targets of the CRA in the future should they do this.

What we are referring to here is not regarding a dispute with your taxes, but a service complaint against the CRA.   It deals specifically with the service you are being provided with.   The quality of that service, and the time framework in which your issue is being dealt with is what comes under the umbrella of a service complaint.

Some examples of these are…

Undue delays:

You are most certainly expected to comply with the tax department and most often they will give you a timeline in which to do that.   You can have the same expectation.   If you feel that a tax matter you are dealing with is being unduly delayed by the CRA, then this is grounds for a complaint.

In the past it has not been unheard of for a tax representation to give the wrong information or information that misleads the tax payer.   After all these are supposed to be the experts but it seems that is not always the case.   Again grounds for a complaint.

Staff behavior:

The tax man has a job to do when it comes to collecting your taxes.   They are to go about this in a professional way.  If you feel that you are being intimidated or being treated in an unjust or rude manner, this is something the CRA will not put up with.

Basically you have to determine if your complaint is one that is classified as a service complaint.   Some that do not fall into this category are disputes for example concerning your assessment.   Disagreements with tax rulings is another one.

If you believe that you may have a valid service complaint but aren’t quite sure, then be sure to discuss this with your accountant.   He may be able to advise you as to what is the next course of action to take depending on the information you supply him with.


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Sam Seidman, CPA, CA, LPA
629 Sheppard Avenue West
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 2S3

Telephone: (416) 398-1700
Fax: (416) 398-6226

Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant, Licensed Public Accountant


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