Questions and answers

Q1. How does the CRA define reprisal?

A1. The CRA defines reprisal as any action by a CRA employee that prevents a taxpayer who has lodged a service complaint or requested a formal review of a CRA decision from being treated impartially and from receiving the benefits, credits, and refunds to which they are entitled and pay no more or no less than what is required by law.

However, when a CRA employee applies the law and relevant CRA guidelines and policies, which may include charging penalties or requiring the payment of a debt, it does not constitute an act of reprisal.

Q2. What happens to my reprisal complaint after I send it to the Internal Affairs and Fraud Control Division?

A2. The Internal Affairs and Fraud Control Division will review your reprisal complaint and if it meets the definition of reprisal, an internal investigator may contact you for more information. You will be informed of the results of the investigation as they pertain to you.

Q3. How does the CRA ensure that employees treat taxpayers with integrity?

A3. The CRA is committed to ensuring that its employees act with integrity. All CRA employees have to adhere to a strict Code of Integrity and Professional Conduct and Directive on Conflict of Interest, Gifts and Hospitality, and Post-employment. The Code of Integrity and Professional Conduct guides and supports CRA employees in their work, and it reinforces integrity. It describes what it means to act according to CRA values, reinforces a culture of integrity, supports leadership, and inspires ethical employee conduct and productivity.

Q4. How will the CRA ensure that alleged reprisals are investigated in an unbiased manner?

A4. The Internal Affairs and Fraud Control Division receives all reprisal complaints. Its mandate is to conduct independent administrative investigations into allegations or suspicions of employee misconduct. This ensures the investigation is conducted independently of the office associated with the complaint.

Q5. Will the CRA or the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman oversee the investigation of an alleged reprisal?

A5. The CRA oversees investigations of reprisal complaints. The Taxpayers’ Ombudsman has the mandate to review service complaints. If the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman receives an allegation of reprisal, they will redirect it to the Internal Affairs and Fraud Control Division for investigation.

Q6. Is a taxpayer more likely to be selected for review or audit because they have made a reprisal complaint?

A6. Taxpayers are not selected for review or audit because they have filed a complaint.

There are a number of reasons why an income tax return may be selected in one of our review programs. These reasons include:

  • random selection;
  • comparison of information on returns to information received from third-party sources, such as T4 information slips;
  • types of deductions or credits claimed and an individual's review history.

For more information, go to Review of your tax return by the CRA.

When selecting a file for audit, the CRA’s risk-assessment system selects files based on a number of conditions such as the potential for errors in tax returns or indications of non-compliance with tax obligations.

For more information, go to What you should know about audits.


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