Influencing change

Since its creation, the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman (OTO) has been submitting systemic examination reports to the Minister of National Revenue (Minister) on issues found in the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) service affecting a large number of taxpayers or a segment of the population. These reports include recommendations to the Minister for changes to be made by the CRA to address the issues examined and improve its service to taxpayers. Once submitted to the Minister, the OTO publishes the report on its website no sooner than sixty (60) days after.Footnote 1 

The OTO has been requesting follow-up information from the CRA on its actions in response to the recommendations made in systemic examination reports. In December 2017, the CRA provided follow-up information on eight of the systemic examination reports. Since then the OTO has been doing additional research and obtaining further information from the CRA on actions it has taken in response to the recommendations, to determine if the recommendations have been implemented and the service issues addressed.

In August 2018, the OTO received follow-up information on the three systemic examination reports published in 2017 and 2018. The OTO will also do additional research on this information and the issues raised in those systemic examination reports, to determine if the recommendations have been implemented and the service issues addressed.

The following is a breakdown of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman’s systemic examination reports, the recommendations, the actions taken by the CRA, and the OTO’s analysis of those actions:

 

Systemic Examination Reports Published Ombudsman's recommendations  Recommendations accepted by Minister of National Revenue  Actions taken by the CRA  OTO's analysis of the CRA's actions
The Right to Know
Examination of the sufficiency of information in Decision Letters from the Appeals Branch of the CRA
[view report]
August 2010 1 The CRA's December 2017 update. The CRA has implemented the recommendation and addressed the issues.

[view analysis]                                      
Proving Your Status
Establishing eligibility for the Canada Child Tax Benefit
[view report]
October 2010 5 The CRA's December 2017 update. The CRA has ongoing initiatives to address the issues. The OTO continues to monitor the progress.

Analysis in progress. 
Knowing the Rules
Confusion about the rules governing the Tax-Free Savings Account
[view report]
June 2011 3 The CRA's December 2017 update. Analysis in progress.
Earning Credits
Service and fairness issues in the assessment of tuition tax credits for expenses incurred attending educational institutions outside Canada
[view report]
March 2012 5 The CRA's December 2017 update. The CRA has implemented the recommendations and addressed the issues.

Analysis coming soon.  
Acting on ATIP
Service issues in the CRA’s Access to Information and Privacy processes
[view report]
March 2012 7 The CRA's December 2017 update. Analysis in progress.
Getting it Right
Investigation of service and fairness issues arising from the misallocation of payments by the CRA
[view report]
July 2012 3 The CRA's December 2017 update. Analysis in progress.
Donor Beware
Investigation into the sufficiency of the Canada Revenue Agency's warnings about questionable tax shelter schemes
[view report]
December 2013 4 The CRA's December 2017 update. Analysis in progress.
Alive and Well
Investigation into the erroneous coding of taxpayers as deceased by the Canada Revenue Agency
[view report
February 2014  8 The CRA's December 2017 update. The CRA has implemented the recommendations and continues to address the issues.

Analysis coming soon. 
Rights and Rulings
An examination into the sufficiency of information in ruling letters from the CPP/EI Rulings Division of the Canada Revenue Agency[view report]
March 2017  5 The CRA's August 2018 update. Analysis pending.

Without Delay
An examination into service issues arising from delays in the Canada Revenue Agency's Taxpayer Relief Program
[view report

September 2017  4
[See OTO's News Release]
The CRA's August 2018 update. Analysis pending.
Benefits Unsheltered
An examination into the Canada Revenue Agency's communication and outreach efforts to shelters and other support organizations about benefits and credits administered by the Canada Revenue Agency. [view report]
December 2017  3 The CRA's August 2018 update. Analysis pending.
Fair warning
An examination into service issues related to legal warnings issued by the Canada Revenue Agency during debt collection procedures.
[view report]
March 2019 9 9 Awaiting the CRA's update. Analysis pending.
12 reports 57 recommendations made 56 recommendations accepted

Select [view report] under each Systemic Examination Report title to view the report. Click on the number under the "Ombudsman's recommendations" column to view the recommendations specific to that report. Select "update" under "Actions taken by the CRA" to see the update provided by the CRA. Select “[See OTO’s News Release]” under “Recommendations accepted by Minister of National Revenue” to see information on the one recommendation not accepted.

The OTO will follow up on actions taken by the CRA in response to future recommendations made by the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman.

The Taxpayers' Ombudsman also achieves results for Canadians by examining and resolving individual taxpayer complaints. For more information, see the Digest of Taxpayer Service Rights.

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