Service Standards 2016-2017

Service standards publicly state the level of performance that citizens can reasonably expect to encounter under normal circumstances. The Canada Revenue Agency has developed these standards as part of its ongoing commitment to quality client service.

  • Tax returns, benefits, and claims

    Tax returns, benefits, and claims

    Tax returns

    Processing T1 individual income tax returns (EFILE and NETFILE)

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for processing T1 individual income tax returns received electronically from individuals. The CRA offers electronic services for filing current-year T1 individual income tax and benefit returns. EFILE is a service that allows authorized service providers to file individual income tax and benefit returns with the CRA over the Internet. NETFILE is a service that allows most Canadians to file their income tax and benefit returns over the Internet using CRA-compatible commercial tax preparation software. This service standard was introduced in 1994-1995.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to process an electronic T1 return (EFILE and NETFILE) within an average of two weeks of receipt.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 100% of the time.
    • Our performance results:  Electronic T1 returns were processed in 1.6 weeks on average in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Processing T1 individual income tax returns (paper)

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for processing paper T1 individual income tax returns from individuals. Notices of assessment are sent to taxpayers based on the results of the review. This service standard was introduced in 1994-1995.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to process a paper T1 return and mail a notice of assessment, and refund, if applicable, in an average of four to six weeks of receipt.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 100% of the time.
    • Our performance results: Paper T1 returns were processed in 4.4 weeks on average in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Processing T2 corporation income tax returns – electronic

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for assessing T2 corporation income tax returns from businesses and incorporated self-employed individuals filing electronically. This service standard was introduced in 2013-2014.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to process an electronic T2 return (corporation income tax) within 45 calendar days of receipt.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 90% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 84% of electronic T2 returns were processed within 45 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Processing T2 corporation income tax returns – paper

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for assessing T2 corporation income tax returns from businesses and incorporated self-employed individuals that are not filed electronically. This service standard was introduced in 2007-2008 and has been revised in 2013-2014.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to process a paper T2 return (corporation income tax) within 90 calendar days of receipt.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 90% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 92.1% of paper T2 returns were processed within 90 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Processing GST/HST electronic returns

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for processing electronic GST/HST returns from businesses and self-employed individuals. Once the GST/HST returns are received, our goal is to process them within 30 calendar days. This service standard was introduced in 2016-2017.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to process an electronic GST/HST return within 30 calendar days of receipt.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 95% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 98% of electronic GST/HST returns were processed within 30 calendar days of receipt.

    Processing GST/HST paper returns

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for processing paper GST/HST returns from businesses and self-employed individuals. This service standard was introduced in 2016-2017.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to process a paper GST/HST return within 60 calendar days of receipt.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 95% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 98.3% of electronic GST/HST returns were processed within 60 calendar days of receipt.

    Processing T3 trust returns

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for processing T3 trust returns from trust recipients. A T3 income tax return is a form completed by a trustee to assess the tax liability of a trust. A T3 return is filed as both an income tax return (which calculates tax liability) and an information return (which reports amounts allocated and designated to beneficiaries). Our goal is to process T3 trust returns within four months, which includes assessing the T3 return and mailing a notice of assessment and refund, if applicable. This service standard was introduced in 1999-2000.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to process a T3 trust return within four months of receipt.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 95% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 96% of T3 trust returns were processed within four months in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Processing excise tax, excise duty, softwood lumber returns, and air travellers’ security charge returns

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for processing excise tax, excise duty, softwood lumber, and air travellers security charge returns from businesses and self-employed individuals. This service standard was introduced in 2006-2007.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to process an excise tax, an excise duty, a softwood lumber, or an air travellers’ security charge return within 60 calendar days of receipt.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 95% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 98.3% of excise tax, an excise duty, a softwood lumber, or an air travellers’ security charge return were processed within 60 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Responding to taxpayer-requested adjustments (T1) received by Internet

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for responding to adjustments (T1) received over the Internet from individuals or their representatives. Our standard applies to straightforward taxpayer-requested adjustments. Less straightforward requests may take longer than the standard. This includes situations where additional information has to be requested from the taxpayer, where the matter has to be referred to a subject matter expert for review, or where the return of another taxpayer, like a spouse or a child, has to be considered before the eligibility of the request can be confirmed. This service standard was introduced in 2007-2008.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to mail a notice of reassessment within an average of two weeks of receipt of all requisite information from the taxpayer.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 100% of the time.
    • Our performance results: Notices of reassessment were mailed in 1.4 weeks on average in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Responding to taxpayer-requested adjustments (T1)

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for responding to adjustment requests (T1) from individuals or their representatives. Our standard applies to straightforward taxpayer-requested adjustments. Less straightforward requests may take longer than the standard. This includes situations where additional information has to be requested from the taxpayer, where the matter has to be referred to a subject matter expert for review, or where the return of another taxpayer, such as a spouse or a child, has to be considered before the eligibility of the request can be confirmed. This service standard was introduced in 1984-1985.
    • Standard: Our goal is to mail a notice of reassessment within an average of eight weeks of receipt of all requisite information from the taxpayer.
    • Target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 100% of the time.
    • Our performance results: Notices of reassessment were mailed in 10weeks on average in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Benefits

    Responding to benefit and credit enquiries – timeliness

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for responding to benefit and credit enquiries, in the form of written enquiries from benefit recipients and telephone referrals from the call centres. Responses to enquiries include explanations, notices, and payments, as appropriate. This service standard was introduced in 2003-2004.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to respond to a written enquiry or a telephone referral from a call centre within 80 calendar days of receipt.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 98% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 99.3% of written enquiries or telephone referrals were responded to within 80 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Responding to benefit and credit enquiries – accuracy

    • What is this? This is an accuracy service standard for responding to benefit and credit enquiries, in the form of telephone referrals from the call centres and written enquiries from benefit recipients. Responses include explanations, notices, and payments, as appropriate. This service standard was introduced in 2007-2008.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to respond with correct information to a written enquiry or telephone referral from a call centre, to accurately process new recipient information, and to accurately issue a payment, notice, or letter.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 98% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 94.4% of enquiries were responded to accurately in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Processing benefit applications – timeliness

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for processing Canada child benefits applications, and children's special allowances applications and cancellation forms submitted by benefit recipients. Once the application and forms are received, our goal is to issue a payment, a notice, or an explanation within 80 calendar days. This service standard was introduced in 1998-1999.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to send a payment, notice, or explanation within 80 calendar days of receipt.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 98% of the time
    • Our performance results: 98.5% of payments, notices, or explanations were sent out within 80 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Processing benefit applications– accuracy

    • What is this? This is an accuracy service standard for processing Canada child benefits applications, and children's special allowances applications and cancellation forms submitted by benefit recipients. Once the applications and forms are received, our goal is to accurately process the appropriate payment and notice. If necessary, we will issue a letter requesting additional information. This service standard was introduced in 2007-2008.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to accurately process the appropriate payment and notice, or send a letter requesting additional information.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 98% of the time
    • Our performance results: 98% of payment and notices, or letters requesting additional information were accurately processed in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Claims

    Claims - SR&ED tax incentives - claimant-requested adjustments to non-refundable claims

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for processing claims for tax incentives from businesses that conduct scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) in Canada. The SR&ED program is a federal tax incentive program administered by the CRA that encourages Canadian businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to conduct research and development (R&D) in Canada. It is the largest single source of federal government support for industrial R&D. The SR&ED program gives claimants cash refunds and/or tax credits for their expenditures on eligible R&D work. The service standards for the SR&ED program were introduced in 2001-2002.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to process claims for tax incentives from businesses that conduct scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) in Canada within 365 calendar days from receipt of a complete claim for non-refundable claims related to adjustments requested to previously filed income tax returns.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 90% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 94% of claims were processed within 365 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Claims - SR&ED tax incentives - claimant-requested adjustments to refundable claims

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for processing claims for tax incentives from businesses that conduct scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) in Canada. The SR&ED program is a federal tax incentive program administered by the CRA that encourages Canadian businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to conduct research and development (R&D) in Canada. It is the largest single source of federal government support for industrial R&D. The SR&ED program gives claimants cash refunds and/or tax credits for their expenditures on eligible R&D work. The service standards for the SR&ED program were introduced in 2001-2002.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to process claims for tax incentives from businesses that conduct scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) in Canada within 240 calendar days from receipt of a complete claim, for refundable claims related to adjustments requested to previously filed income tax returns.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 90% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 94% of claims were processed within 240 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Claims - SR&ED tax incentives - non-refundable claims

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for processing claims for tax incentives from businesses that conduct scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) in Canada. The SR&ED program is a federal tax incentive program administered by the CRA that encourages Canadian businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to conduct research and development (R&D) in Canada. It is the largest single source of federal government support for industrial R&D. The SR&ED program gives claimants cash refunds and/or tax credits for their expenditures on eligible R&D work. The service standards for the SR&ED program were introduced in 2001-2002.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to process claims for tax incentives from businesses that conduct scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) in Canada within 365 calendar days from receipt of a complete claim for non-refundable claims.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 90% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 96% of claims were processed within 365 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Claims - SR&ED tax incentives - refundable claims

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for processing claims for tax incentives from businesses that conduct scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) in Canada. The SR&ED program is a federal tax incentive program administered by the CRA that encourages Canadian businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to conduct research and development (R&D) in Canada. It is the largest single source of federal government support for industrial R&D. The SR&ED program gives claimants cash refunds and/or tax credits for their expenditures on eligible R&D work. The service standards for the SR&ED program were introduced in 2001-2002.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to process claims for tax incentives from businesses that conduct scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) in Canada within 120 calendar days from receipt of a complete claim for refundable claims.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 90% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 95% of claims were processed within 120 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Claims - video and film tax credits - refundable claims – audited

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for reviewing T2 corporation income tax returns that include claims for the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, the Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit, the British Columbia (B.C.) Film and Television Tax Credit, the B.C. Production Services Tax Credit, the Manitoba Film and Video Production Tax Credit, the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit, and the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit. The objective of these tax credits is to encourage Canadian programming and to support an active film and video industry in Canada.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to review T2 corporation income tax returns that include claims for the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, the Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit, the B.C. Film and Television Tax credit, the B.C. Production Services Tax Credit, the Manitoba Film and Video Production Tax Credit, and the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit, and the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit within 120 calendar days from the date of receipt where audit action is undertaken.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 90% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 95% of claims were processed within 120 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Claims - video and film tax credits - refundable claims – unaudited

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for reviewing T2 corporation income tax returns that include claims for the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, the Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit, the British Columbia (B.C.) Film and Television Tax Credit, the B.C. Production Services Tax Credit, the Manitoba Film and Video Production Tax Credit, the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit, and the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit. The objective of these tax credits is to encourage Canadian programming and to support an active film and video industry in Canada.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to review T2 corporation income tax returns that include claims for the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, the Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit, the B.C. Film and Television Tax credit, the B.C. Production Services Tax Credit, the Manitoba Film and Video Production Tax Credit, and the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit, and the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit within 60 calendar days from the date of receipt where no audit action is undertaken.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 90% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 97% of claims were processed within 60 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
    Pension, deferred, and education plans

    Pension, deferred, and education plans

    Written enquiries

    Deferred income plans - response to written enquiries

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for responding to written enquiries pertaining to deferred income and savings plans. This service is provided to clients who have questions or concerns about registered pension plans, registered disability savings plans, registered education savings plans, registered retirement savings plans, registered retirement income funds, deferred profit sharing plans, supplementary unemployment benefit plans, tax-free savings accounts, or registered investments. We generally deal with all written enquiries on a first-come, first-served basis. This service standard was introduced in 1995-1996.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to respond to a written enquiry within 60 calendar days.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 65.2% of written enquiries were responded to within 60 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Actuarial valuation reports

    Actuarial valuation reports

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for reviewing and responding to actuarial valuation reports. For an employer's contributions to a registered defined benefit pension plan to be tax-deductible, an actuary must state that the contributions are necessary to pay for the future pension benefits for employees and the contributions must be approved by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This service standard was introduced in 2001-2002.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to provide a decision on the recommended employer contributions to a registered pension plan, within 270 calendar days of receipt of the actuarial valuation report.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 54.4% of decisions were provided within 270 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Applications

    Applications to register pension plans

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for reviewing and responding to applications to register new pension plans. This service is provided to employers or unions that have chosen to set up a pension plan to provide pension benefits to employees upon retirement. When we first receive a plan for registration, we review it to make sure that the appropriate documents and forms have been filed. If the application is complete, we review it in detail to make sure the documents comply with the requirements of the Income Tax Act. This service standard was introduced in 1995-1996.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to provide a decision within 180 calendar days of receipt of an application to register a pension plan.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 85% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 82.4% of decisions were provided within 180 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Deferred profit sharing plans - Reviewing applications

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for reviewing and responding to applications to register new deferred profit sharing plans. This service is provided to employers who have chosen to set up an arrangement to share profits from their business to provide pensions to all or a designated group of employees. We review the plans for compliance with the requirements of the Income Tax Act. This service standard was introduced in 2004-2005.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to provide a decision within 180 calendar days of receipt of an application to register a deferred profit-sharing plan.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 85% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 96% of decisions were provided within 180 calendar days in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

    Education savings plans (applications to register, amend, or terminate)

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for reviewing and responding to submissions to approve new education savings specimen plans or to amend or terminate existing education savings specimen plans. A promoter of an education savings specimen plan can only market its education savings plan once the specimen plan is approved by the CRA or when the proposed amendments under an existing specimen plan are approved. This service standard was introduced in 2001-2002.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to provide a decision within 60 calendar days to a request to approve, amend, or terminate a specimen for an education savings plan.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 85% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 99.1% of decisions were provided within 60 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Retirement income funds (applications to register, amend, or terminate)

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for reviewing and responding to submissions to approve new specimen funds or to amend or terminate existing retirement income specimen funds. Submissions are sent in by carriers, including banking institutions, trust companies, and insurance companies, or by third-party representatives. A carrier can only market its retirement income fund once the specimen fund is approved by the CRA or when the proposed amendments under an existing specimen fund are approved. This service standard was introduced in 1995-1996.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to provide a decision within 60 calendar days to a request to approve, amend, or terminate a specimen for a retirement income fund.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 99.2% of decisions were provided within 60 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Retirement savings plans (applications to register, amend, or terminate)

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for reviewing and responding to submissions to approve new retirement savings specimen plans or to amend or terminate existing specimen plans. Submissions are sent in by issuers, including banking institutions, trust companies, and insurance companies, or by third-party representatives. An issuer can only market its retirement savings plan once the specimen plan is approved by the CRA or when the proposed amendments under an existing specimen plan are approved. This service standard was introduced in 1995-1996.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to provide a decision within 60 calendar days to a request to approve, amend, or terminate a specimen for a retirement savings plan.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 99.3% of decisions were provided within 60 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
    Charities

    Charities

    Written enquiries

    Charities – written enquiries - routine

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for responding to routine written enquiries concerning charities. This service is provided to taxpayers who have questions or concerns relating to charities, including applicants for registration, registered charities, donors, media representatives, corporations, tax professionals, all levels of government, and the general public. This service standard was introduced in 2013-2014.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to review and respond to a routineFootnote 1 written enquiry within 30 calendar days.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 44.8% of written enquiries were reviewed and responded to within 30 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Charities – written enquiries - complex

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for responding to complex written enquiries concerning charities. This service is provided to taxpayers who have questions or concerns relating to charities, including applicants for registration, registered charities, donors, media representatives, corporations, tax professionals, all levels of government, and the general public. This service standard was introduced in 2013-2014.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to review and respond to a complexFootnote 2 written enquiry within 75 calendar days.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 44.8% of written enquiries were reviewed and responded to within 75 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Applications

    Charities – responding to simple applications

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for reviewing and responding to simple applications for charitable registration. The CRA generally processes applications for registered charitable status on a first-come, first-served basis. If the application is approved, the CRA will send a notification of charitable registration. This service standard was introduced in 2011-2012.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to respond to a complete simpleFootnote 3 application for charitable registration within two months.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 89% of applications were responded to within two months in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Charities – responding to regular applications

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for reviewing and responding to regular applications for charitable registration. The CRA generally processes applications for registered charitable status on a first-come, first-served basis. Acknowledgement letters are sent for all applications received. If the application is approved, the CRA will send a notification of charitable registration. This service standard was introduced in 2011-2012.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to respond to a complete regularFootnote 4 application for charitable registration within six months.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 86.1% of applications ere responded to within six months in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
    Rulings and interpretations

    Rulings and interpretations

    Written enquiries

    GST/HST rulings and interpretations - written enquiries

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for responding to written requests for GST/HST rulings and interpretations. The purpose of GST/HST rulings and interpretations is to promote voluntary compliance and consistency by providing certainty with respect to the interpretation of GST/HST legislation. Our GST/HST rulings and interpretations program provides timely, accurate, and accessible technical information on entitlements and obligations under the Excise Tax Act and related regulations. This service standard was first implemented in 2006-2007.
    • In response to written requests, we issue rulings and interpretations to explain technical GST/HST matters. This service is offered at no cost.
    • A ruling is a written statement that the CRA provides, that sets out the CRA position on how the relevant provisions of the Act apply to a clearly defined fact situation.
    • An interpretation is a written statement that the CRA provides, that sets out the CRA view on how the Act applies to a generic fact situation.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to respond to written requests for a GST/HST ruling or interpretation within 45 business days of CRA receipt of the request and all the relevant facts and supporting documentation. This excludes highly technical and precedent and/or policy-setting rulings and interpretations.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 84% of requests were responded to within 45 business days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Advance income tax rulings

    Advance income tax rulings

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for issuing advance income tax rulings to taxpayers. An advance income tax ruling is a written statement given to a taxpayer stating how the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will interpret and apply specific provisions of existing Canadian income tax law to a definite transaction or transactions the taxpayer is contemplating. The purpose of the advance income tax ruling is to promote voluntary compliance, uniformity, and self-assessment by providing certainty as to the income tax implications of the proposed transaction(s). We charge taxpayers cost recovery fees for advance income tax rulings. This service standard was introduced in 2000-2001.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to issue an advance income tax ruling within 90 business days of receipt of all essential information from the client.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this service standard 85% of the time
    • Our performance results: 87% of rulings were issued within 90 business days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Technical interpretations

    Technical interpretations

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for issuing technical interpretations to taxpayers. Technical interpretations of specific provisions of income tax law are provided, in writing, both to taxpayers directly and to other areas of the CRA in an effort to deal with complex income tax issues. Technical interpretations provided to the public are not income tax rulings and are therefore not binding on the CRA. We do not charge a fee for this service. This service standard was introduced in 2000-2001.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to issue a technical interpretation within 90 business days of receipt of all essential information from the client.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this service standard 85% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 87% of technical interpretations were issued within 90 business days in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
    Issue resolution

    Issue resolution

    Relief requests

    Relief requests
    Taxpayer relief requests – 30 day acknowledgment

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for acknowledging for taxpayer relief requests to cancel or waive penalties and interest. This standard ensures that taxpayers filing a relief request receive acknowledgment of receipt within 30 days from the date the request is received at the CRA. This service standard does not include non-resident requests for cancelling or waiving penalties and interest, taxpayer relief requests to accept late, amended, or revoked elections, or requests to issue refunds or to reduce the amount payable beyond the normal three-year period.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to acknowledge receipt of a taxpayer relief request to cancel or waive penalties and interest within 30 calendar days of receipt.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 85% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 85.7% of taxpayer relief requests were acknowledged within 30 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Disputes

    First contact letter for disputes

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for acknowledging first contact letters for disputes. This service standard, introduced in 2001-2002, aims to improve communication with taxpayers after they request a formal administrative review of a tax assessment, a payroll decision, or a ruling. This ensures that taxpayers filing an objection to an assessment, a determination, or a ruling receive an acknowledgement of receipt within 30 days from the date the dispute is received. It does not include disputes involving invalid disputes or group disputes dealing with a common issue where an initial contact letter would not be appropriate.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to acknowledge a taxpayer dispute within 30 calendar days of receipt.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 85% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 92.6% of taxpayer disputes were acknowledged within 30 calendar days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Service Complaints

    Service Complaints – two-day acknowledgement

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for a service-related complaint. This service standard was introduced in 2012-2013. If a recipient is not satisfied with the service they received by a CRA employee and even after talking to a supervisor, they can proceed to file a formal Service Complaint. The recipient can fax the form or letter, and any related documents, to 1-866-388-7371 from Canada or the United States, or 1-819-536-0701 from outside of Canada and the United States, or mail it
    • Our standard: Our goal is to acknowledge receipt of the complaint within two business days.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 54.1% of complaints were acknowledged within two business days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Service Complaints – 30 day resolution

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for a service-related complaint. This service standard was introduced in 2012-2013. If a recipient is not satisfied with the service received by a CRA employee and even after talking to a supervisor, they can proceed to file a formal Service Complaint. The recipient can fax the form or letter, and any related documents, to 1-866-388-7371 from Canada or the United States, or 1-819-536-0701 from outside of Canada and the United States, or mail it.
    • Standard: Our goal is to resolve the complaint within 30 business days.
    • Target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 83.6% of complaints were resolved within 30 business days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
    Enquiries and account updates

    Telephone enquiries and account updates

    Telephone enquiries service

    Telephone enquiries
    e-Services Helpdesk - telephone service level

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for telephone support for individuals, businesses, and self-employed individuals who need help accessing Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) electronic services including My Account, My Business Account, NETFILE, Graduated Authentication and Represent a Client from anywhere in Canada and the United States. Once callers indicate that they want to speak with an agent, our goal is to respond to their call in the agent queue within two minutes. While waiting to speak with the next available agent, callers hear a message informing them of the service standard. The callers may also hear recorded messages concerning information available on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Web site, as well as messages that are added from time to time about special initiatives or programs. This service standard was introduced in 2014-2015.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to respond to a call in the agent queue within two minutes.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 81.1% of calls in the agent queue were responded to within two minutes in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    General enquiries – telephone service level

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for responding to general and account-specific telephone enquires from individuals. Once callers indicate that they want to speak with an agent, our goal is to respond to their call in the agent queue within two minutes. While waiting to speak with the next available agent, callers hear a message informing them of the service standard. In addition, callers may also hear topical recorded messages concerning upcoming deadlines, extended hours of service, information available on the CRA Web site, as well as messages that are added from time to time about special initiatives or programs. This service standard was introduced in 2004-2005.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to respond to a call in the agent queue within two minutes.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 81.2% of calls in the agent queue were responded to within two minutes in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Canada child benefit enquiries – telephone service level

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for general and account-specific Canada child benefit (CCB) telephone enquiries from benefit recipients. Once callers indicate that they want to speak with an agent, our goal is to respond to their call in the agent queue within two minutes. While waiting to speak with the next available agent, callers hear a message informing them of the service standard. Callers may also hear topical recorded messages concerning upcoming deadlines, extended hours of service, information available on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Web site, as well as messages that are added from time to time about special initiatives or programs. This service standard was introduced in 2007-2008.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to respond to a call in the agent queue within two minutes.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 75% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 76.1% of calls in the agent queue were responded to within two minutes in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    GST/HST credit enquiries telephone service level

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for general and account-specific GST/HST credit enquires from recipients. Once callers indicate that they want to speak with an agent, our goal is to respond to their call in the agent queue within two minutes. While waiting to speak with the next available agent, callers hear a message informing them of the service standard. In addition, they may also hear topical recorded messages concerning upcoming deadlines, extended hours of service, information available on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website, as well as messages which are added as required to provide information about special initiatives or programs. The CRA automated service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This service standard was introduced in 2012-2013.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to respond to a call in the agent queue within two minutes.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 75% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 76.1% of calls in the agent queue were responded to within two minutes in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Business enquiries - telephone service level

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for general and account-specific telephone enquires from businesses and self-employed individuals. Once callers indicate that they want to speak with an agent, our goal is to respond to their call in the agent queue within two minutes. While waiting to speak with the next available agent, callers hear a message informing them of the service standard. The callers may also hear topical recorded messages concerning upcoming deadlines, extended hours of service, information available on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website, as well as messages that are added from time to time about special initiatives or programs. This service standard was introduced in 2004-2005.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to respond to a call in the agent queue within two minutes.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 81.8% of calls in the agent queue were responded to within two minutes in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Charities – responding to telephone enquiries

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for responding to telephone enquiries concerning charities. This service is provided to taxpayers who have questions or concerns relating to charities, including applicants for registration, donors, media representatives, corporations, tax professionals, all levels of government, and the general public. Taxpayers selecting this type of agent-assisted service on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) hotline hear a message informing them of the service standard. This service standard was introduced in 2005-2006.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to respond to a call in the agent queue within two minutes.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 82.5% of calls in the agent queue were responded to within two minutes in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    GST/HST rulings and interpretations - telephone enquiries

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for responding to technical GST/HST telephone enquiries. The purpose of GST/HST rulings and interpretations is to promote voluntary compliance and consistency by providing certainty with respect to the interpretation of GST/HST legislation. Our GST/HST rulings and interpretations program provides timely, accurate, and accessible technical information on entitlements and obligations under the Excise Tax Act and related regulations. This service standard was implemented in 2010-2011.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to respond to a call in the agent queue within two minutes.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 86% of calls in the agent queue were responded to within two minutes in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Account updates

    Processing a request to authorize or cancel a representative – electronic

    • What is this? This is an accuracy service standard for processing requests received to authorize or cancel a representative to deal with the CRA on a taxpayer's behalf. This service standard was introduced in 2013-2014.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to process your complete electronic request to authorize or cancel a representative within five business days of receipt by the CRA, provided the request is complete.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 90% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 99.8% of electronic requests were processed within five business days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Processing a request to authorize or cancel a representative – paper

    • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for processing a request to authorize or cancel a representative by paper. This service standard was introduced in 2013-2014.
    • Our standard: Our goal is to process your complete paper request to authorize or cancel a representative within 20 business days of receipt by the CRA, provided the request is complete.
    • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 90% of the time.
    • Our performance results: 98.4% of paper requests to authorize or cancel a representative were processed within 20 business days in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

    Service standards from previous years

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