CRA’s helpline: What works well, and not?

Need answers from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to serve your clients? Your first hurdle might be figuring out which CRA telephone service to call, or where to go online for answers.

When assisting clients with their income taxes and GST/HST, input from a CRA agent is sometimes needed. Whether you need to confirm a client’s business or personal tax balance, correct misapplied tax payments, access the CRA’s electronic services or talk to someone about penalties and fairness, knowing the right CRA helpline or staff to call can be a big time-saver.

WELCOME IMPROVEMENT

With its Telephone Service Tips for Tax Preparers, the CRA has made it easier for tax preparers to get the answers they need. Developed with Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), and based in part on suggestions from CPA Canada’s Small and Medium Practitioners Tax Committee, these tips detail where to go for a personal response or an online solution. The CRA plans to revise these telephone service tips over time, in response to new questions and developments, to ensure the service remains responsive to practitioner needs.

In a welcome improvement for CPAs, when you identify yourself as a tax preparer or representative at the start of your call, and state your call’s purpose, the CRA’s procedures have been changed to have agents direct you to a technical expert. These experts are responsible for fielding questions on complex issues and have access to specialized CRA data sources.

I think this is a great CRA initiative and I look forward to further enhancements.

KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING

I want to hear from you. Please share your experiences with the telephone service. What works well and what can be improved? What more can the CRA do to make it easier to navigate their services? You can keep the conversation going by posting a comment below.

CPA Canada’s Tax Blog is designed to create an exchange of ideas on tax policy and practice issues, and their impact on those who practice tax. Your comments can provide helpful input into the public interest advocacy positions developed by CPA Canada.


About the Author

Gabe Hayos, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D

Vice-president, Taxation, CPA Canada

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