Dealing with tax problems can be stressful. Trying to communicate, negotiate or resolve problems with an immense bureaucratic organization can also be stressful. Put those two challenges together, and for many individuals dealing with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) can leave them frustrated and mistreated, while their problems remain unresolved.
The CRA has its own Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which outlines in detail the fair treatment and professional service that each taxpayer is entitled to receive. This Bill can be found on CRA’s website, at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/rc4417/rc4417-13e.html. Right #5 clearly states: “You have the right to be treated professionally, courteously, and fairly”. CRA’s policy goes on to state: “You can expect we will treat you courteously and with consideration at all times, including when we ask for information or arrange interviews and audits. Integrity, professionalism, respect, and co-operation are our core values and reflect our commitment to giving you the best possible service. You can also expect us to listen to you and to take your circumstances into account, which is part of the process of making impartial decisions according to the law. We will then explain our decision and inform you about your rights and obligations regarding that decision”.
While this is all well and good, the reality many taxpayers encounter includes dealing with CRA agents who are difficult or impossible to contact, and aggressive or belligerent officers who won’t listen to their concerns and who resort to threats or intimidation.
If you feel your service rights were not respected by the CRA, there are three steps that you are encouraged to follow as a means to resolving your service-related issue:
- Try to resolve the service-related issue directly with the CRA employee with whom you are dealing.
- If a resolution is not possible, you can ask to speak with the agent’s supervisor. Be aware that any agent who refuses your request to speak with their supervisor is acting outside of CRA service standards.
- You can file a formal complaint with the CRA’s Service Complaints, using their Form RC193, Service-Related Complaint. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights clearly states in Right #16: You have the right to lodge a service complaint and request a formal review without fear of reprisal. The RC193 form can be obtained online at www.cra.gc.ca/forms. There is no fee to file a service complaint.
Once a service complaint is filed, a complaints officer will be assigned to the case and will investigate the complaint. Your complaint will be reviewed to resolve it in a fair and timely manner. You will be kept informed by the officer of the status of your complaint and they will ensure that you receive the outcome by telephone or mail.
As a final recourse, you can contact the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman if your complaint has still not been handled to your satisfaction. Once CRA’s complaint resolution process is complete, the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman can be contacted to give a final and impartial review of your complaint.
Feeling mistreated, discouraged or stressed because of your dealing with the CRA? Tax Solutions Canada can help. Call us today at 1 888-868-1400.