Auditor General Releases Damning Reports on CRA Call Centres

CRA – Blocks Calls and Frequently Gives Wrong Answers

Question:  Are you annoyed by how long it can take to reach a CRA agent by telephone?  Or worse, when you can get through, are you concerned that the information being provided to you may not be correct?

Well, it turns out that you have a legitimate right to feel both annoyed and concerned when it comes to seeking out information from a CRA telephone agent.

Here’s why – The Auditor General’s new report findings (issued Nov 21, 2017) include these damning conclusions:

The CRA blocked 29 million calls over a one-year period (more than half of its entire 53.5 million call volume).  Some taxpayers had to make up to four call attempts per week with no guarantee of reaching a CRA agent.  This is especially concerning for callers without internet access and who therefore rely on call centres to ask for information.  The report found that CRA monitored its wait times to meet its service standards and when the average wait time approached the two minute target, the call was either blocked or directed to a self-service system.

CRA agents incorrectly answered taxpayers question nearly 30% of the time.  This potentially caused taxpayers to file incorrect returns, miss filing deadlines, pay an incorrect amount of tax, or miss out on tax benefits.  The CRA clearly underestimated its error rate claiming it was only 6.5%.  The report suggested the culprit to be either gaps in employee training or agents using too many different applications to seek out answers.

The Auditor-General reinforced the Taxpayer Bill of Rights that the CRA is obligated to provide “clear, accurate, clear and timely information to taxpayers”.  This is clearly not happening in far too many instances.

We strongly advise our clients NOT to place undue reliance on CRA for answers to their important and often time sensitive tax questions.  We DO highly encourage our clients to tap into our wide breath of professional tax knowledge, training, and experience to get answers and advice they can actually count on.