Influencing change

The Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson can influence change at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) by sending recommendations directly to the CRA, to the Minister of National Revenue, or to the Minister and to the Chair of the Board of Management. The Ombudsperson can do this by sending a Service Improvement Request to the CRA or by making recommendations in a Systemic Examination Report.


Service Improvement Request

We may send a recommendation to the CRA when we identify an opportunity to improve service. These requests may stem from systemic examinations, systemic research, issues heard on outreach, or when examining a taxpayer complaint.

The following is the most recent Service Improvement Request that we sent to the CRA.

Latest Service Improvement Request

Emergency Benefit Validation Delays (sent April 26, 2021)

Background

The Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsperson (OTO) is hearing from many complainants who indicate the CRA is taking, in excess of four weeks, to validate their eligibility for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB).

Complainants expressed concern that when they call the Canada Emergency Benefits Validation and Identity Protection Service (CEBVIPS) after the 4 weeks have elapsed, agents are not providing a timeframe of when the CRA will process their application, and in many cases complainants are told their cases have not been assigned to a validation officer, and to callback later to follow up.

The issues that we are seeing are in regards to CRA’s website on CRB validation web page, it lists that it may take up to 4 weeks from the date they receive the complete response while the CRA Newsroom – Tax Tips – 2021 web page, states that if CRA needs additional information, that it can take up to 8 weeks for them to process.

We also heard from a complainant who was informed by a CEBVIPS agent that the CRA is currently processing submissions received at the end of January, which would bring the validation time to approximately 10 weeks.

Service Improvement

To address the conflicting information, increase the transparency, and to improve the service the CRA provides to Canadians, the Taxpayers' Ombudsperson recommends that the CRA:

  • Update the CRB validation page with a date for which CRA submissions they are currently working on, on a bi-weekly basis. We suggest the page to look like the Processing times and complexity levels – Income tax and GST/HST objections page
  • Post an informational bulletin at the top of CRA Validation page that identifies the length of time the CRA will take to review supporting documents, after they are received, based on the submission date they are currently validating
  • Communicate to taxpayers the length of time it will take to review their supporting documents, if they call to request an update on their eligibility

Update

April 30, 2021 The CRA has updated their CRB validation web page to confirm a validation timeframe of 8 weeks. Although this was not a recommendation from the OTO, we did mention the inconsistency on the CRB validation page as well as CRA Newsroom - Tax Tips - 2021.

RFSI - SYS-000012
Systemic Examination Reports

When there is an identified systemic issue, or at the request of the Minister, the Ombudsperson may open a systemic examination. If the examination uncovers opportunities for service improvement, then the Ombudsperson’s Systemic Examination Report may include recommendations.

The following is a breakdown of the Ombudsperson’s Systemic Examination Reports, the recommendations, the actions taken by the CRA, and our final analysis of those actions:

 

*Mobile users: Please scroll left-right to view the full chart below.


Systemic Examination Reports Publication Date Recommendations submitted Recommendations accepted  The CRA's response and updates Final analysis, after the CRA completes its action plan

Back to Basics              An examination into whether the CRA is using the Taxpayer Bill of Rights as a foundational document to guide its daily activities; and how the CRA ensures it is continually accountable in upholding taxpayer rights and reporting publicly on how it does this.                    

[view report]

June             2020 14 14 Response and Update  

Reaching Out               An examination into improving the CRA’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program 

[view report

May        2020 15 14 Response and Update  

Sub-Standard               An examination into delays and lack of transparency in the CRA's processing of individual income tax and benefit returns and adjustment requests.       

[view report]

February 2020 15 14 Response and Update  

Fair Warning
An examination into service issues related to legal warnings issued by the CRA during debt collection procedures.


[view report]

March 2019 9 9 Response and Update

The CRA has taken appropriate steps to address the recommendations in the report.

[view analysis]

Benefits Unsheltered
An examination into the CRA's communication and outreach efforts to shelters and other support organizations about benefits and credits administered by the CRA.

 

[view report]

December 2017 3 3 Response and Update

The CRA has taken appropriate steps to address the recommendations in the report.

[view analysis]

Without Delay
An examination into service issues arising from delays in the CRA's Taxpayer Relief Program.


[view report

September 2017 4 3 Response and Update

The CRA has taken appropriate steps to address the recommendations in the report.

[view analysis]

Rights and Rulings
An examination into the sufficiency of information provided in ruling letters from the CPP/EI Rulings Division of the CRA.

[view report]

March 2017 5 5 Response and Update

The CRA has taken appropriate steps to address the recommendations in the report.

[view analysis]

Alive and Well
Investigation into the erroneous coding of taxpayers as deceased by the CRA.


[view report

February 2014 8 8 Update

The CRA has taken appropriate steps to address the recommendations in the report.

[view analysis]

Donor Beware
Investigation into the sufficiency of the CRA's warnings about questionable tax shelter schemes


[view report]

December 2013 4 4 Update

The CRA has taken appropriate steps to address the recommendations in the report.

[view analysis]

Getting it Right
Investigation of service and fairness issues arising from the misallocation of payments by the CRA


[view report]

July 2012 3 3 Update

The CRA has taken appropriate steps to address the recommendations in the report.

[view analysis]

Acting on ATIP
Service issues in the CRA’s Access to Information and Privacy processes


[view report]

March 2012 7 7 Update

The CRA has taken appropriate steps to address the recommendations in the report.

[view analysis]

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 5 Update

The CRA has taken appropriate steps to address the recommendations in the report.

[view analysis]

Knowing the Rules
Confusion about the rules governing the Tax-Free Savings Account


[view report]

June 2011 3 3 Update

The CRA has taken appropriate steps to address the recommendations in the report.

[view analysis]

Proving Your Status
Establishing eligibility for the Canada Child Tax Benefit


[view report]

October 2010 5 5 Update

The CRA has not taken appropriate action to resolve the issues raised in the report. The OTO has opened an examination into the ongoing service issues.

[view analysis]

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
1 Update The CRA has taken appropriate steps to address the recommendations in the report.
[view analysis]  
15               Reports   101  recommendations made 98 recommendations accepted    
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