The Canada Revenue Agency’s Policy on Providing Guidance on Regulatory Requirements

The Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) Policy on Providing Guidance on Regulatory Requirements outlines the commitments, practices, and tools to be applied by the CRA when providing Canadians and businesses with information and guidance on regulatory obligations. It also identifies the conditions under which written responses to questions will be provided.

Agency Context

The CRA administers tax laws for the Government of Canada and on behalf of most provinces and territories. In addition, the CRA administers various social and economic benefit and incentive programs.

Building an awareness of regulatory requirements

In order to help Canadians and businesses meet their obligations and receive their entitlements, the CRA offers a diverse suite of online services: self-service options through secure online portals, website content including forms, publications, videos and webinars, and social media tools such as Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Other services include agent-assisted telephone support as well as more formal rulings and interpretations services for complex questions.

Canadians and businesses can rely on the written information the CRA provides. All written content undergoes an extensive and rigorous quality review process to ensure completeness, use of plain language, timeliness, and accuracy. Consultation with, and review by, internal and external stakeholders is conducted to validate quality and accuracy.

Responding to enquiries

CRA agents are available to assist callers and to direct them to where they can find the information they need on the CRA website. The telephone enquiries service is tiered to manage enquiries as they become more complex. Questions received in writing will generally be responded to in writing. This includes technical interpretations and binding rulings for income tax, GST/HST, and CPP/EI.

Commitment to professional service

The CRA is committed to providing complete, accurate, clear, and timely information as described in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Taxpayers and benefit recipients can expect to be served by the CRA with a high degree of accuracy, professionalism, courtesy, and fairness. In addition, service standards represent the CRA’s commitment to a level of performance that Canadians and businesses can expect.

The CRA is committed to providing its employees with the training required to provide Canadians and businesses with the best service possible. For example, CRA agents have extensive training and reference tools that help them respond quickly and accurately to questions, providing the highest quality of service.

The CRA has various mechanisms to resolve complaints and disputes, including service complaints. Depending on the nature of the complaint or dispute, these resolutions can range from legislated solutions to administrative ones.

For service complaints, Canadians and businesses can contact the Office of the Taxpayer’s Ombudsman if they are not satisfied with the CRA’s handling of their complaint.

Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholders are regularly consulted for input on draft technical publications and new policies. They identify gaps, the need for new information, and provide concrete examples that better reflect the taxpayer reality. Regular meetings are also conducted with the tax practitioner community and key industry associations to gain external perspectives and share knowledge. The CRA also solicits feedback from Canadians through the guides – “Your opinion counts” and by accepting comments through an online mailbox.

Canadians and businesses can also subscribe to the CRA’s RSS feeds and email lists to be notified of new information on the CRA website, including when technical publications become available. In addition, the CRA communicates regularly with various stakeholder groups using a stakeholder database.

The CRA has also consulted regularly with small and medium businesses, their services providers (accountants and bookkeepers), and stakeholder associations to get feedback in order to improve the Agency’s programs and services. Consultations were held with businesses in the fall of 2012, in 2014, in 2016 and again in the fall of 2018. Information on the 2016 consultations was released on June 27, 2017. Information on the 2018 consultations will be released in the spring of 2019. The results of these consultations have helped the CRA’s continued efforts to further improve its programs and services for small and medium businesses in Canada.

The 2016 consultations were conducted using four consultation channels. CRA conducted roundtable meetings, hosted by local Chambers of Commerce and the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, in 18 cities. In addition, there were online consultations using CRA Engage, stakeholder associations were also invited to provide feedback on behalf of their members, and internal consultations were held with CRA employees.

In 2016, participants were asked to provide feedback on ways the CRA could make its programs and services fair, more helpful and easier to use. Participants provided suggestions on the following topics:

  • Modernize and raising awareness of the CRA’s digital services;
  • Make tax information easier to access, understand, and use;
  • Clarify information about payment options; and
  • Improve services related to the audit, collections, and appeals processes.

Feedback received through these consultations is being used to make improvements to the CRA’s programs and services.  For more details, see the Report on the CRA’s 2016 Serving You Better consultations with small and medium businesses and the CRA’s webpage Track how the CRA is helping small and medium businesses

Further information on the Agency’s commitment to small and medium businesses

Consult the CRA’s acts and regulations web page for:

  • a list of acts and regulations administered by the CRA
  • further information on the CRA’s implementation of government-wide regulatory initiatives, such as:
  • the CRA’s service standards for services offered to obtain regulatory authorization
  • counts of administrative burden in regulations

Consult the following for links to the Cabinet Directive on Regulation and supporting policies and guidance, and for information on government-wide regulatory initiatives implemented by departments and agencies across the Government of Canada:

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit:

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