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Dale Jackson

Personal Finance Columnist, Payback Time


It’s not just you, after all.

The latest Auditor General’s report finds the Canada Revenue Agency blocked 29 million calls from taxpayers with concerns over a one-year period. That works out to more than half of its call volume.

For those who got through, the report found CRA agents gave wrong information nearly 30 per cent of the time. That’s a big problem when you consider wrong information on a tax return could result in overpayments, lost benefits, late payments, or even penalties as a result of under payments. It’s those little misunderstandings that could escalate to a lifetime of grief with the taxman.          

The Canada Revenue Agency has responded with a vow to implement what it calls a three-point action plan: better technology, training and clarification.

The changes are expected to be implemented next year. In the meantime, the CRA has four tips for getting through with your tax concerns.

  • Try calling later in the week, and in the afternoon if the call is not urgent. Call volumes are normally higher on Monday and Tuesday mornings.
  • Check out the CRA’s self-serve options section on its website.
  • For more personal tax concerns, login or register to My Account on the CRA website. It provides details such as past returns and statements, and registered retirement savings plan and tax-free savings accounts limits.
  • Keep a record of your call and obtain a reference number from the agent. The CRA records the calls and if it takes action as a result of wrong information it’s a great reference point for your appeal.