Can I Really Get an Apology from the CRA?
The Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman recently claimed in its Annual Report for 2019-2020, Transformation through Disruption, that it recommends the CRA develop a formal guideline for apologizing to Taxpayers.
In the report, the Taxpayer’s Ombudsman highlighted that the absence of a consistent, uniform policy for administering “letters of apology” to Taxpayers has resulted in differential treatment of Taxpayers while dealing with various CRA departments. Currently, the CRA issues letters of apology to Taxpayers who have not received the level of service to which they are entitled on a case-by-case basis.
The report outlines that this recommendation would further protect Taxpayers’ rights under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, by “improving accountability and treating everyone fairly”.
What are your Rights as a Taxpayer under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights?
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights outlines 16 rights to which Taxpayers are entitled when dealing with the CRA.
Notable rights include:
- Article 4 – The right to a formal review and subsequent appeal
- Article 6 – The Right to be Treated Professionally, Courteously, and Fairly
- Article 7 – The right, unless otherwise provided by law, not to pay income tax amounts in dispute before you have had an impartial review
See more here: Revenue Canada Disputes
- Article 9 – The Right to Lodge a Service Complaint and to be Provided with an Explanation [of the CRA’s] findings
- Article 11 – The right to expect [the CRA] to be accountable
How do I Complaint about a Violation of my Rights?
Taxpayers who are dissatisfied with the service received from the CRA can submit a service complaint. You can submit a service complaint about:
- Undue delays, outside of normal processing times;
- Incorrect or misleading information; and
- Employee behaviour and other service-related issues.
After submitting your complaint, a service feedback officer may contact you during the review process. The CRA aims to have complaints resolved within 30 business days.
Apart from filing a service complaint to the CRA, you can also submit a complaint to the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman.
Can I Sue the CRA?
The Crown Liability Act allows individuals to sue the federal government for negligence and damages. As such, Taxpayers have a right to sue the CRA for actions caused by its employees. However, Taxpayers must establish the following to be successful:
- The CRA officer owed a duty of care to the taxpayer;
- They breached that duty of care; and
- Damages and losses resulted from that breach.
Further, in Ontario, the Proceedings Against the Crown Act and its relevant provisions apply when suing the CRA.
What if I have a Non-Service Related Complaint?
If you believe that the CRA is wrong about your audit or other important tax dispute, you can file an objection. R&A Tax Law and its experienced team of tax lawyers can help you navigate this complex process. Call us today!
This article provides information of a general nature only. It does not provide legal advice nor can it or should it be relied upon. All tax situations are specific to their facts and will differ from the situations in this article. If you have specific legal questions you should consult a lawyer.