Before you call; How to get the answers you need during the 2021 tax-filing season

March 31, 2021

Ottawa, Ontario

Canada Revenue Agency

Each year over tax season, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) receives thousands of calls a week from Canadians looking for help. Although we are doing our best to provide quality services to Canadians, the CRA has been receiving larger call volumes and are experiencing longer call wait times this year due to COVID-19.

In a tax filing season like no other, we’ve introduced a number of measures to help taxpayers get the tax and benefit information they need. For example, to give taxpayers more time to have their tax and benefit questions answered, our individual tax enquiries line will be open on Good Friday and Easter Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., local time, but will be closed on Saturday and Sunday.

The CRA knows that many Canadians have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’re here to support them during this difficult time.

This tax filing season we’ve explored new opportunities to enhance our services so you receive the best service possible, whether online or over the phone.

To save you time, take these steps before calling the CRA:

  1. Check We are improving the information on the Personal income tax section of to make it easier for taxpayers to understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their taxes. The goal is to ensure as much information as possible is available online - such as information on what a taxpayer should do if they received T4A and/or T4E slips for COVID-19 emergency benefits.
  2. Check benefit payment dates online: Taxpayers can view benefit payment dates on If they are registered for CRA direct deposit, they should receive their benefit payment on the scheduled payment dates listed online. If they aren’t signed up for direct deposit, they should receive their benefit payments within 5-10 business days of the scheduled payment date. Please allow this time before contacting the CRA about a payment.
  3. Try Charlie the chatbot: If taxpayers need a quick answer to a question, Charlie is at their service. We’re trying new technology to help Canadians get the information they need, when they need it. Since Charlie is still learning about the CRA, the questions they ask will help it become more knowledgeable and interactive. Charlie will make it easier for taxpayers to get the information they need to help them file their income tax and benefit return! Charlie can be found on the CRA homepage and many other of our web pages on
  4. Take advantage of our digital services: Taxpayers are encouraged to use the CRA’s suite of secure digital services to interact with the CRA and easily manage their tax affairs anytime, anywhere. These services can quickly help Canadians track their refund, view or change their return, check benefit and credit payments, view RRSP limits, and receive email notifications. Taxpayers are encouraged to sign up for My Account and direct deposit now to make tax filing, and getting payments from the CRA, that much easier and faster.
  5. Check CRA processing times: If taxpayers are looking for information on how long we’ll take to handle a request, they can use the check CRA processing times tool on to get a target completion date. The new tool uses published service standards and information selected from drop-down menus to calculate completion times for various programs. In many cases where callers are looking for information on the status of their file, this is the same information a CRA call centre agent will be able to provide.
  6. Check telephone wait times: Estimated wait times are now provided in real time on the contact information web page, as well as on the phone. This will help callers decide when the best time to call is.
  7. Create a personal identification number (PIN): Taxpayers can now create a PIN to authenticate themselves on the phone. A PIN is a fast and secure way for taxpayers to identify themselves when calling the CRA. They can set one up in My Account before calling the CRA, or with the help of one of our call centre agents after calling.

Despite these measures, we continue to receive a large volume of calls. Unfortunately, this means callers may experience longer than usual wait times to speak with an agent. We will continue to work hard to process calls as fast as possible. To help deliver the services that Canadians expect from the CRA over the phone, we have implemented the following measures this filing season:


Media Relations
Canada Revenue Agency

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