Worried that the Canada Revenue Agency got it wrong? How to dispute a tax decision
October 28, 2021
Canada Revenue Agency
No one “enjoys” paying taxes, but we recognize that it contributes to Canada’s ongoing economic and social well-being. As the organization responsible for administering tax laws for the Government of Canada and for most provinces and territories, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) routinely makes decisions that impact how much tax businesses owe and whether they are eligible for certain credits.
Speak to the Canada Revenue Agency when you disagree with a decision
The CRA makes decisions with professionalism, integrity, respect, and collaboration. We are committed to explaining our decisions and assessments, addressing concerns, and helping our clients understand and meet their tax obligations. Even so, you may disagree with the CRA.
Disagreements often result from a lack of information or miscommunication. Before you formally dispute a CRA decision, contact the CRA. In some situations, if you have new or additional information to help the CRA with a decision, you can request an adjustment. This often resolves the disagreement.
After talking to the CRA, you may not be satisfied with our explanation. You may think we have misinterpreted the facts or have not applied the law correctly. If you find yourself in one of these situations, you can request a formal review.
You have the right to a formal review
You have the right to a formal and impartial review if you believe we have misinterpreted the facts or have not applied the law correctly. You can file an objection to request a formal review of your case.
In most cases, you have to file a notice of objection within 90 days from the date on the notice of assessment or notice of determination. When filing a notice of objection, you have to submit the facts, reasons and documentation in support of your position.
In certain cases, large corporations are subject to additional requirements when filing a notice of objection.
Where an objection is filed, an officer will be assigned to the file. This officer will conduct a preliminary review of the facts and issues relevant to your situation. As part of this review, you or your authorized representative may be contacted to discuss the matter and to get more documents and details. The officer will then consider the information and make a decision.
CRA officers are responsible for carrying out complete, professional, and impartial reviews of disputes. The officer responsible for handling your file will not have been involved with the original decision under dispute.
You have the right to appeal following a formal review
If you are not satisfied with the decision reached during the review, you can appeal or seek a judicial review from the appropriate court or, for certain matters, to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal.
Legislation guides the appeals process, determining the Court or Tribunal you deal with and what process you will follow. Information is available on how to file an appeal to the Court depending on your circumstances.
Note that the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights gives you the right not to pay income tax amounts in dispute until you have had an impartial review by the CRA or, if you have sent an appeal, until the court has issued its decision. However, interest charges will continue to accumulate during this period. Also, in certain circumstances, the CRA can take collection action even though an objection or appeal has been sent. These circumstances include, namely, cases where an amount is in jeopardy, where the amount assessed relates to GST/HST or source deductions, as well as cases where the taxpayer is a large corporation.
If you disagree with the Income Tax Act or other tax legislation matters, contact the Department of Finance Canada. The CRA administers tax legislation whereas the Department of Finance Canada is responsible for developing tax laws.
Submit service-related feedback
If you are not disputing a decision, the CRA is interested in your feedback regarding your experience with the services you received, whether it be a compliment, a suggestion or a complaint about the quality of information you received, employee behaviour, mistakes, or undue delays. You can expect that if you submit service-related feedback, you will be listened to and given the opportunity to explain your situation. The CRA will deal with your feedback promptly and in confidence, and will explain their findings.
Follow these steps if you have service-related feedback for the CRA:
- If you are not satisfied with the service you received, you can try to resolve the matter with the CRA employee you have been dealing with or call the telephone number provided in the CRA’s correspondence. If you do not have contact information, go to Contact information. If you still disagree with the way your concerns were addressed, you can ask to discuss the matter with the employee’s supervisor.
- If you are still not satisfied, complete Form RC193, Service Feedback to submit your service feedback online, by fax or by mail. A service feedback officer will respond directly to your concerns in a fair and timely manner.
- If the CRA has not resolved your service-related feedback, you can submit a complaint to the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson.
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