Service Standards 2017-2018

From Canada Revenue Agency

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 individual income tax returns (T1)

  • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for processing T1 individual income tax returns from individuals. This service standard was modified in 2017-2018.
  • Our standard: Our goal is to issue your notice of assessment within two weeks of receiving your digital individual income tax return, and within eight weeks of receiving your paper individual income tax returnFootnote 1.
  • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 95% of the time.
  • Our performance results: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 96% of returns were processed within this standard.

Processing corporation income tax returns (T2)

  • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for assessing T2 corporation income tax returns from businesses and incorporated self-employed individuals. This service standard was modified in 2017-2018.
  • Our standard: Our goal is to issue your notice of assessment within six weeks of receiving your digital corporation income tax return, and within sixteen weeks of receiving your paper corporation income tax return.
  • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 95% of the time.
  • Our performance results: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 94% of returns were processed within this standard.

Processing GST/HST returns

  • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for processing GST/HST returns from businesses and self-employed individuals. This service standard was modified in 2017-2018.
  • Our standard: Our goal is to issue your notice of assessment, if applicable, within four weeks of receiving your digital GST/HST return, and within eight weeks of receiving your paper GST/HST return Footnote 2.
  • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 95% of the time.
  • Our performance results: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 96% of returns were processed within this standard.

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 seventeen weeks, which includes assessing the T3 return and mailing a notice of assessment and refund, if applicable. This service standard was modified in 2017-2018.
  • Our standard: Our goal is to issue your notice of assessment within seventeen weeks of receiving your trust return.
  • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 95% of the time.
  • Our performance results: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 88% of returns were processed within this standard.

Responding to T1 adjustment requests

  • 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 modified in 2017-2018.
  • Our standard: Our goal is to issue your notice of reassessment within an average of two weeks of receiving your digital request to change your individual income tax return, and within an average of eight weeks of receiving your paper request to change your individual income tax return.
  • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 95% of the time.
  • Our performance results: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 64% of requests were processed within this standard.

Benefits

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. This service standard was modified in 2017-2018.
  • Our standard: Our goal is to issue your notice and payment, if applicable, within eight weeks of receiving your digital benefit application, and within eleven weeks of receiving your paper benefit application.
  • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 95% of the time.
  • Our performance results: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 93% of applications were processed within this standard.

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: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 94% of claims were processed within this standard.

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: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 92% of claims were processed within this standard.

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: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 96% of claims were processed within this standard.

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: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 94% of claims were processed within this standard.

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: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 94% of returns were reviewed within this standard.

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: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 96% of returns were reviewed within this standard.
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. Written enquiries is being expanded to include general enquiries, plan-specific enquiries, waivers, administrative relief, and requests to validate earnings and service. 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: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 78% of written enquiries were responded to within this standard.

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 demonstrate that the contributions are necessary to pay for the future pension benefits for employees. These 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: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 36% of decisions were provided within this standard.

Applications

Applications to register pension plans and deferred profit sharing plans

  • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for reviewing and responding to applications to register new pension plans and deferred profit sharing plans. This service standard was modified in 2017-2018.
  • Our standard: Our goal is to provide a decision within 180 calendar days of receipt of an application to register a pension plan or a deferred profit sharing plan.
  • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 85% of the time.
  • Our performance results: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 96% of decisions were provided within this standard.

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: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 93% of decisions were provided within this standard.

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: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 99% of decisions were provided within this standard.

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: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 99% of decisions were provided within this standard.
Charities

Charities

Charities – written enquiries

  • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for responding to 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 modified in 2017-2018.
  • Our standard: Our goal is to review and respond to a routineFootnote3 written enquiry within 45 calendar days, and review and respond to a complexFootnote4 written enquiry within 120 calendar days.
  • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
  • Our performance results: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 54% of enquiries were reviewed and responded to within this standard.

Charities – responding to applications

  • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for reviewing and responding to 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 modified in 2017-2018.
  • Our standard: Our goal is to respond to a complete simple application for charitable registration within two months, and respond to a complete regular application for charitable registration within six months.
  • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
  • Our performance results: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 84% of applications were responded to within this standard.
Rulings and interpretations

Rulings and interpretations

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: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 84% of written requests were responded to within this standard.

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: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 83% of rulings were issued within this standard.

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: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 89% of technical interpretations were issued within this standard.
Dispute resolution – Complaints, objections, and relief requests

Dispute resolution – Complaints, objections, and relief requests

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 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 send it by mail.
  • Visit our service complaints site: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/cmplntsdspts/srvccmplnts/menu-eng.html
  • A complaints officer will make regular contact with you to keep you informed on the progress of your file and the status of your complaint.
  • A Service Complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction with a service provided by the CRA. In general, service refers to the behaviour or attitude displayed by any CRA employee, or the quality and timeliness of the work performed. Complaints could include:
    • mistakes, which could refer to misunderstandings, omissions, or oversights;
    • undue delays;
    • poor or misleading information; or
    • staff behaviour.
  • Our standard: Our goal is to resolve the complaint within 30 business days.
  • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
  • Our performance results: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 56% of complaints were resolved within this standard.

Low-complexity tax objections – 180 day resolution

  • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard related to the resolution of low-complexity objections. Low-complexity objections may include issues such as credits associated with the GSTC and CCB programs, income amounts reported on an information slip, deductions from total and/or net income, and Non-refundable Tax Credits. Additional information to assist in determining complexity levels can be found here: What is the complexity of my objection? http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/cmplntsdspts/ncmtx-eng.html. This service standard was introduced in 2017-2018.
  • Our standard: Our goal is to resolve low-complexity objections within 180 days.
  • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
  • Our performance results: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 81% of low-complexity objections were resolved within this standard.

Taxpayer relief requests – timeliness

  • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for issuing decision letters for taxpayer relief requests to cancel or waive penalties and interest. This standard aims to provide taxpayers filing a relief request with a decision on their request within 180 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. This service standard was introduced in 2017-2018.
  • Our standard: Our goal is to issue a decision letter on a taxpayer relief request to cancel or waive penalties and interest within 180 days of receipt.
  • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 85% of the time.
  • Our performance results: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 87% of decisions were issued within this standard.
Enquiries and account updates

Enquiries and account updates

Telephone enquiries serviceFootnote5

  • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for responding to telephone enquiries. 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. This service standard was modified in 2017-2018.
  • Our standard: Our goal is to respond to your telephone call within two minutes of your choosing to speak to an agent.
  • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
  • Our performance results: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 56% of telephone calls were responded to within this standard. The targets were not met for Individual, Business and Benefit enquiries as the CRA launched a series of pilots to increase the wait time in the queue. This has had a positive result in that it has led to a reduction in the number of call attempts required to reach a call centre agent.

My Business Account enquiries

  • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for responding to My Business Account enquiries. This service standard was introduced in 2017-2018.
  • Standard: Our goal is to respond to your enquiries submitted through the My Business Account within two weeks.
  • Target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 95% of the time.
  • Our performance results: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 95% of enquiries were responded to within this standard.

Debt Management Call Centre – tax programs telephone service level

  • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for tax collections payment arrangements and enquiries from businesses and 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 one minute. This service standard was introduced in 2017-2018.
  • Our standard: Our goal is to respond to a call in the agent queue within one minute.
  • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 80% of the time.
  • Our performance results: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 79% of calls were responded to within this standard.

Debt Management Call Centre – government programs telephone service level

  • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for collections and account-specific telephone enquiries for defaulted Canada student loans, employment insurance overpayments, and other debts on behalf of Employment and Social Development Canada. 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. This service standard was introduced in 2017-2018.
  • Or 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: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 79% of calls were responded to within this standard.

Authorize or cancel a representative

  • What is this? This is a timeliness service standard for processing a request to authorize or cancel a representative. This service standard was modified in 2017-18.
  • Our standard: Our goal is to update your account information within three business days of receiving your digital request to authorize or cancel a representative, and within four weeks of receiving your paper request Footnote 6 to authorize or cancel a representative.
  • Our target: The CRA aims to meet this standard 95% of the time.
  • Our performance results: In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 97% of account information was updated within this standard.

Service standards from previous years

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: