You have the right to complain.
And you should exercise this right if you feel you’ve been treated unfairly.
Even by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Are you facing an audit or disputing your income tax notice of assessment?
The CRA made an addition to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights this summer. It says taxpayers who lodge a service complaint or request a formal review must be:
- Treated impartially
- Receive the benefits, credits and refunds to which they are entitled
- Pay no more and no less than what is required by law
Many of you may not know that Canada has a Taxpayer Bill of Rights. It is a set of 16 rights confirming that the CRA will serve us with a high degree of accuracy, professionalism, courteousness and fairness. The Bill of Rights is intended to increase the CRA’s transparency and accountability.
The addition is National Revenue’s response to the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman report that Canadians are sometimes hesitant to lodge a complaint against the CRA for fear of reprisal.
The Ombudsman recommended the new right to ensure Canadians are confident they will be treated fairly.
“This new addition to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights will help reinforce public confidence in Canada’s tax system,” said Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, in a CRA news release. “(It will) ensure that Canadian taxpayers feel free to speak up if they have a disagreement with the CRA.”
What are the rights?
- You have the right to receive entitlements and to pay no more and no less than what is required by law.
- You have the right to service in both official languages.
- You have the right to privacy and confidentiality.
- You have the right to a formal review and a subsequent appeal.
- You have the right to be treated professionally, courteously, and fairly.
- You have the right to complete, accurate, clear, and timely information.
- You have the right, as an individual, not to pay income tax amounts in dispute before you have had an impartial review.
- You have the right to have the law applied consistently.
- You have the right to lodge a service complaint and to be provided with an explanation of our findings.
- You have the right to have the costs of compliance taken into account when administering tax legislation.
- You have the right to expect us to be accountable.
- You have the right to relief from penalties and interest under tax legislation because of extraordinary circumstances.
- You have the right to expect us to publish our service standards and report annually.
- You have the right to expect us to warn you about questionable tax schemes in a timely manner.
- You have the right to be represented by a person of your choice.
- You have the right to lodge a service complaint and request a formal review without fear of reprisal.
Does that apply to business?
It sure does.
But the CRA adds five commitments to small business, recognizing its importance as an engine of growth for the Canadian economy.
The CRA intends to minimize compliance burden on small business by reducing red tape and paperwork.
The commitments are:
- The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is committed to administering the tax system in a way that minimizes the costs of compliance for small businesses.
- The CRA is committed to working with all governments to streamline service, minimize cost, and reduce the compliance burden.
- The CRA is committed to providing service offerings that meet the needs of small businesses.
- The CRA is committed to conducting outreach activities that help small businesses comply with the legislation we administer.
- The CRA is committed to explaining how we conduct our business with small businesses.
Learn more about the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights and the Commitments to Small Business on the CRA website, where you’ll find a detailed description of each point.
Can you help?
We’re here to assist you with your taxes and planning. We specialize in small-business accounting and financial services. Contact one of our tax specialists and we can help you optimize the tax benefits and credits available to self-employed individuals and small businesses.
Fill out our contact form or give us a call at 403-226-8297.
The Canada Revenue Agency has an active Twitter account. If you’re interested in following the account, you can the CRA at@CanRevAgency.