A reader recently wrote in to say he felt Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) was being too draconian. His business, he claimed, was being charged a penalty of $580 for being latea week on atax remittance of $5,800.
Thats over 1,000% on an annualized basis, he said. It is like getting a speeding ticket for $10,000 because you were driving 10 km an hour above the speed limit. The government is far, far worse than the banks or credit card companies when it comes to these unbelievable charges.
You may have heard someone complain about the way they have been treated by CRA, too. Or you may even have a complaint about the service yourself.
Well, now you can take your beef to the Office of the Taxpayers Ombudsman. The purpose of the office is to ensure that taxpayers get professional service and fair treatment from the CRA by providing independent and impartial reviews of complaints about how the CRA serves and treats taxpayers.
The firstOmbudsman was appointed in February, 2008. In its first year of operation, the Office of the Taxpayers Ombudsmanresponded to nearly 5,000 enquiries, opened more than 1,000 files, and investigated over 500 individual complaints relating to CRA service, says a news release. As a result of our intervention, the CRA has:
issued apologies released bank accounts they had seized cancelled penalties and interest they were charging reviewed some of its internal policies and procedures in some instances, ended collection activities.
A recent initiative in 2010 was to review CRAs service to small and medium businesses. Specific issues that have been brought to the attention of the Ombudsmans office include:
allocating payments to the wrong account or year inconsistent information regarding when a GST registration is effective delays in processing Direct Deposit Form GST469 delays in processing Business Consent Form RC59 .
Before contacting the Taxpayers Ombudsman, you should first tryto resolve your issue with the CRA employee and their supervisor. The next stage is to file a Form RC193 (Service-Related Complaint) to CRA. Then, if you are not satisfied with the way the CRA responded, you may contact the Office of the Taxpayers Ombudsman. There are no costs for filing a complaint.