Understanding the Different CRA Departments

Understanding the Canada Revenue Agency

If you have ever had to deal with the CRA especially by telephone it can become one of the most frustrating telephone calls you may have ever made.

First you have to determine if you are calling about a business or personal account. There are specific departments for each of these. Most often the average telephone call made is for an inquiry. Perhaps you don’t understand how to complete a segment of your taxes, and you can use a tax help agent for this.

Often though you may have a dispute with your taxes or something you want to clarify. Or perhaps you owe money and you want to make payments. This is where things begin to get confusing. You may find that you now get passed from one tax agent to another.

One would think that with a Government Agency as big as the tax department that any official within any one of the departments would have ready access to the entire file of the tax payer. It seems that it doesn’t always work out that way. It is understandable that perhaps an agent dealing with personal tax returns would not have privy to the business returns. It can go deeper than this though.

For example, if you are trying to discuss a tax return that goes several years back yet could be related to your current issue, then this information may not be assessable to the agent at the moment you are talking to them because it is in archives. They might have to put in a request for this specific information to be sent to them.

You may be dealing with the collections department and find that you start dealing with one collections officer then you are transferred to another, and yet another again. This could be because the amount you owe is above the collection level that the first agent you talked to has the authority to handle. Or, it could be you need to talk to the agent that handles your territory.

By the time you have finished your conversation with the tax department you may have had to explain your tax matter several different times. No doubt you are frustrated by this point, and chances are nothing has been settled.

If your tax issue is an ongoing one, you may want to utilize an experienced accountant to assist you. This professional can help you understand the tax issue you are dealing with. He may also be able to speak to the tax department on your behalf with your permission and get you the answers you are looking for.


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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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