CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) – Requests and Expectations

bookkeeping services Newmarket

When do requests from the CRA become demands, and what are our expectations when we do everything possible to comply?

Yesterday I met with Bob (not his real name) regarding a request to complete a statement of Financial Position. The CRA uses the completion of this form to determine what you can or should pay, versus what you say you can afford. Bob owes almost $100,000 to CRA for HST and personal tax.

The written request was dated September 15th with a deadline of October 15th for filing, which he missed. It’s not that he didn’t want to complete the very detailed 4 page form. It didn’t get done because he was overwhelmed every time he started compiling his numbers. Then he went online and googled to see all the problems that developed when others completed and submitted their forms. He was close to a breakdown by the time he arrived at my office.

Once I got the big picture from Bob I called the collections contact officer and requested an extension in supplying Bob’s financial information, which was granted. In addition, over a year ago Bob hired a person who previously worked for CRA to apply for taxpayer relief but has not yet received a response.

Recently Bob suggested he meet with a Trustee to see what his options were. The ex CRA employee told him not to saying it would only complicate matters. He said the reason the CRA was taking so long was due to the file being “dirty” and no one at CRA wanted to work on it. He advised to wait a few months more.

So what’s the expectation of a response from CRA?

This is what is currently posted on the CRA website – The Taxpayer Relief service standard is being deleted due to an inability to report reliable results. The workload is under review. With a new Taxpayer Relief Program being implemented, a new taxpayer relief service standard will be developed and reported under Appeals.

On March 31, 2015 the CRA released its services standards for the 2015-2016 period and related success rates and results for the 2013-2014 period. Here are some of the results.

Business Success Rate – %

  • Processing GST/HST returns within 30 days – 96.5
  • GST/HST rulings and interpretations, written enquiries 45 days – 80
  • Processing T2 corporation income tax
    • filed electronically 45 days – 97.1
    • paper filed 90 days – 91.4

Individuals – %/timing

  • Authorizing or cancelling a representative by paper 20 days – 96.1
  • Authorizing or cancelling a representative electronically 5 days – 99.4
  • Processing T1 E-filed returns – 1.6 weeks average
  • Processing T1 paper filed returns – 5 weeks average
  • Responding to taxpayer – requested adjustments T1 8 weeks – 100
  • Responding to taxpayer – requested adjustments T1 received by internet 2 weeks – 100

If you as a taxpayer have a dispute, the resolution of Service Complaints is usually handled within 30 days with a 95.3% success rate.

As I’ve mentioned in previous postings – when the CRA contacts you, don’t ignore them. If you receive that brown envelope in the mail open it. The worst thing you can do is ignore them. And if you’re not sure what to say, or how to say it, contact an experienced professional to represent you and to work with CRA on your behalf. Don’t let the stress of dealing with the CRA affect your mental and emotional health or that of your families or business partners.

I look forward to the opportunity to work with you and as always, I welcome your feedback. Just connect with me by clicking the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website or you can leave your information in the form of a comment right here on the site.

Until next time,


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