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What Do Small Businesses Think about the CRA?

CRA grade C

 

The CRA has really been trying to put a lot of effort into sprucing up their relationships with small to medium sized businesses.   By doing so no doubt they expected a better grade than a “C” which was given them by a collection of small businesses and those that prepare taxes.

So what would constitute such an average grade when there has been so much hoopla and fan fare about how much the CRA is doing?

In a nutshell it would seem that there has been noted improvement in the knowledge that staff now possesses and we are caught up with the times when it comes to electronic usage, but from that point on there doesn’t seem to be much of an improvement impact.

Many businesses feel there is more to be done in regards to improvements with audits and more awareness of the initiatives of the CRA.

Tax preparers and small businesses have different communication with the CRA generally speaking although all within the same realm. So both have different aspects that they like and dislike about the CRA.

Some small businesses that have to deal with the CRA indicate that they do not find the CRA customer friendly and always feel  that they are made to feel like they have done something wrong. The same can be said for the tax preparers in some of their opinions. Some feel they were treated with respect while others did not. Some of these tax payers who are experienced with dealing with the CRA indicated they felt intimidated by this agency.

The CRA has set service targets and feel that if they meet 80% of this then it’s a job well done, however this translates into about one in five small businesses. These are not impressive stats. However, this is something that the CRA s actively working on, and based on the size of this agency it would only be fair to allow them to get their proposed changes for increased customer service into place.

One of the most important concerns for small businesses is the level of customer service they perceive they are getting when dealing with the CRA when interacting with them. This is also applicable to the tax preparers. There are also various components to the customer service that has to be taken into account.

The three main factors are accessibility of staff, knowledge of staff, and treatment of staff. These are all important areas for customer service in any industry, and the CRA should be held accountable for these areas as well.

According to the survey that was done regarding this, and remember there are always mitigating factors to any survey, there were some slight differences in these three areas of customer service between the business owners and the CRA, and the tax preparers and the CRA.

The bottom line is a “C” is not wonderful, but it’s not a fail either. If both sides keep the lines of communication open to improve the tax department then it will be a win-win situation for all concerned.

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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

Email: sam@torontoaccountant.ca

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