Questions and answers


Q.1 What is the Taxpayer Bill of Rights?

A.1 The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is a set of 16 rights confirming that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will serve taxpayers with a high degree of accuracy, professionalism, courteousness, and fairness. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights also includes the CRA Commitment to Small Business, a five-part statement through which the CRA pledges to support the competitiveness of the Canadian business community by ensuring that interactions with the CRA are as effective and efficient as possible.

Q.2 Why do taxpayers need a Taxpayer Bill of Rights?

A.2 The Minister of National Revenue has identified a need for greater awareness among taxpayers (particularly small businesses) about what they can expect when they deal with the CRA. This includes awareness about what their rights are, and what avenues of redress are available to them when they believe they have received inadequate service from the CRA. This was developed through interactions with taxpayers, their representatives, business groups, professional associations, and Members of Parliament, and in consultation with CRA managers and front-line employees.

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights will increase transparency and accountability on the part of the CRA and, as a result, improve the quality of all taxpayers' service experiences with the CRA.

Q.3 What does this mean for taxpayers?

A.3 The CRA wants to ensure that all taxpayers are aware of their rights. These rights build on the CRA's commitment to serve taxpayers with a high degree of accuracy, professionalism, courteousness, and fairness. Through the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, taxpayers will know what they can expect when they deal with the CRA, that they will be treated fairly under clear and established rules, and that they can expect high standards of service each time they deal with the CRA.

Q.4 What happens if a taxpayer feels their rights have not been respected?

A.4 Taxpayers will continue to use the redress process set out in the legislation, including appeals to the court as a final level of recourse.

If you are not satisfied with the service you receive from the CRA you can file a service complaint with the CRA – Service Complaints program. For more information about CRA – Service Complaints program, go to cra.gc.ca/complaints.

If you believe you have been subject to reprisal, we want to hear from you. For more information, go to Reprisal Complaints.

Q.5 Did taxpayers not have rights before?

A.5 Yes, they did. However, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights expands and enhances those rights and will reinforce the CRA's commitment to taxpayer rights by creating new ones.

Taxpayer rights have been evolving since 1985 when Perrin Beatty, the Minister of National Revenue at the time, introduced a publication titled "Declaration of Taxpayer Rights." Several factors such as new tax laws and the changing environment in which businesses and taxpayers operate were some of the catalysts behind these new expanded and enhanced taxpayer rights.

Q.6 Did the Minister of National Revenue propose the Taxpayer Bill of Rights to address a problem in the delivery of service to taxpayers?

A.6 No. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights was developed to ensure that the CRA's already high service standards would be upheld.

Q.7 Why is there a special commitment to small business?

A.7 The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of small business as the engine of growth in the Canadian economy. It acknowledges that the CRA can minimize the compliance burden on small business by reducing, where possible, the amount of paperwork involved in complying with the tax system. Therefore, the Commitment to Small Business was developed to complement the Government's pledge to create a competitive, dynamic business environment in which all Canadian businesses will thrive.

Q.8 I don't pay any tax. Does the Taxpayer Bill of Rights apply to me?

A.8 Yes. The term taxpayer is used simply for ease of reference. For the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, a taxpayer is defined as every person or organization who is required to comply with the legislation administered by the CRA, including individuals, businesses, benefit recipients, charities, etc.

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