When dealing with the CRA…
Tip #1 – Know your rights
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights outlines what you can expect in your dealings with the CRA. Knowing the service you are entitled to before you deal with the CRA can help you make the most out of your interactions.
Tip #2 – Be prepared
Be clear about why you are contacting the CRA. Have pertinent information and documentation on hand when you call. This could include your:
- Income Tax return;
- Social Insurance Number (SIN);
- Business Number;
- GST registration number; and
- correspondence from the CRA relevant to your enquiry or complaint.
Tip #3 – Be calm and respectful
Tax issues can be complex and dealing with them can be stressful. Do your best to explain clearly why you are contacting the CRA.
If you feel you have been treated unfairly and you are contacting the CRA to make a complaint, your emotions may be running high. Remember that agent you are speaking with is likely not responsible for, or even aware of, the situation you are seeking help with. They are there to assist you. If you are disrespectful or take out your frustration on them, you make it difficult for them to effectively understand your situation and provide the assistance you require.
Tip #4 – Keep a record of your communications
Make detailed notes of all your communications, written or verbal, with the CRA, including dates.
If you deal with the CRA by phone, make a written summary of the conversations.
Keep all correspondence you send to, and receive from, the CRA.
A record of your dealings with the CRA may come in handy at a later date if a dispute arises regarding what was discussed.
Tip #5 – Ask phone agents for their identification
When contacting the CRA call centres or general enquiries line, you are entitled to know the identity of the agent who is handling your call. Ask the agent for their first name, agent identification number and regional suffix.
This information will reinforce the agent’s accountability and may be helpful if, at a later date, you have to prove that you spoke with an individual at the CRA or confirm that you received advice.