Statement from the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson about the launch of the 2024 tax season


Ottawa, February 21, 2024 - Tax season is upon us. This year, the process of filing an income tax and benefit return may feel particularly daunting. After a long period of high inflation following the COVID‑19 pandemic, many Canadians are feeling financial strain. In such a stressful economic environment, the last thing anyone needs is a service issue with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

While the CRA reports that a majority of Canadians have a positive service experience when filing, the tax system in Canada can be quite complicated, and some Canadians will inevitably experience service issues. Although some of these issues will be minor, others could have a serious impact on a taxpayer’s personal finances, business operations, or mental well-being. This is where the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson (OTO) can help.

The OTO works independently from the CRA. We are here to improve the service that the CRA provides to taxpayers by reviewing service-related complaints. For example, if you experienced undue delays or were treated unprofessionally, or if you feel that the CRA’s procedures were unfair, you can contact us.

We also look at issues that can affect more than one person or a segment of the population, including vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations. After our review, we can make recommendations to the Minister of National Revenue or the Minister and the Chair of the CRA’s Board of Management about how the CRA can better serve Canadians. For example, in our 2022–2023 Annual Report, one of our four recommendations was:

…that the CRA find new ways to estimate and identify non-filers in Canada and their demographical make-up. The CRA will then be able to use this data to better educate and inform vulnerable populations who may be entitled to apply for benefits but who are not currently receiving them.

The CRA has a dual responsibility to both collect taxes and administer various federal, provincial and territorial benefits and credits. This will be the first tax-filing season since the appointment of the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau as Minister of National Revenue. I was pleased to see that she quickly emphasized this dual responsibility.

Many Canadians count on these benefits to make ends meet, and any interruption in benefit payments can have distressing consequences. In addition, many vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations experience barriers to filing. Because you need to file a return to receive benefit payments, these barriers can prevent you from receiving them in the first place. Unfortunately, those who need these benefits the most are often those who have the most challenges with filing.

Fortunately, there are resources available to help with filing. If you have a modest income and a simple tax situation, you may be able to get help at a free tax clinic through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. This program, a collaboration between the CRA and community organizations, helps taxpayers by having volunteers complete their returns. If you have been putting off filing for several years, some tax clinics can even help you get caught up so that you can receive your benefit payments retroactively, up to ten years.

Tax season can feel stressful, but you have the right to fair treatment from the CRA. In fact, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights describes the treatment you are entitled to when you deal with them. As well, if you are experiencing a service issue with the CRA, the OTO is here for you! You can submit a complaint online, by mail, or by fax. If you need help completing the complaint form, please call our Office at 1-866-586-3839 or 613-221-3109 (outside of Canada and the United States).

Mr. François Boileau

Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson

Background information

The Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson works independently from the CRA. Canadians can submit complaints to the Office if they feel they are not receiving the appropriate service from the CRA. Our main objective is to improve the service the CRA provides to taxpayers and benefit recipients by reviewing individual service complaints and service issues that affect more than one person or a segment of the population.

The Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson assists, advises and informs the Minister of National Revenue about matters relating to services provided by the CRA. The Ombudsperson ensures, in particular, that the CRA respects eight of the service rights outlined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.


Media Relations

Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson / Government of Canada

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