The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has launched an online consultation platform to seek input from Canadian taxpayers. The goal of the consultation is for the CRA to increase its customer service after learning from the public about their past experiences with the agency.
In a press release from April 23, 2019, the CRA pointed out that it had worked very hard on improving service, including the introduction of an auto-fill on its tax software, moving to a better phone system, and increasing (fourfold) the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program budget – but it knows there is much more that must be done to properly serve Canadian taxpayers.
Why is the CRA (Finally) Doing This?
“In recent years, we have made important changes to our service experience. We have been listening to Canadians and we know that we can do even better,” says Mireille Laroche, Chief Service Officer, Canada Revenue Agency. “The way organizations deliver services keeps evolving and Canadians expect us to keep up. We are proud of the progress we’ve made, and we look forward to hearing what other steps people would like us to take. Our service transformation journey continues.”
The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue also noted in a press release, “Our Government is committed to ensuring that the CRA puts people at the center of everything it does. Over the past three years, we have introduced changes that are leading to real results for Canadians. With these public consultations, we are taking another step in listening to Canadians and responding to their concerns, expectations and desire to improve how the CRA delivers services.”
What are Some of the Issues?
There is no shortage of horror stories from those that have had issues with the CRA. From a system that seems to favour certain corporations to people who claim the CRA has destroyed their life, thousands of hardworking Canadian have valid and documented reasons not to trust the CRA.
Despite years of allegations of misinformation, bullying tactics, confusing advice, exorbitantly long wait phone hold times and more, things finally came to a head in 2017 with (the late) Auditor-General Michael Ferguson’s scathing report that pointed out, among other issues:
- The CRA reported a 90 per cent successful contact rate for callers. The reality was that most taxpayers had to call four times in a week to make contact, and that the CRA had been blocking calls to meet targets.
- The CRA reported a 6.5 per cent error rate when giving out information to taxpayers. The report found a 30 per cent error rate that “could cause taxpayers to file incorrect returns, miss filing deadlines, pay too little or too much tax, or miss out on tax benefits.”
- CRA’s testing and training methods were proven to be inadequate.
How to Participate in the Feedback Survey
The data collection for the survey takes place online and can be accessed at: https://www.cra-engage-arc.ca/en/content/about-your-service-experience-canada-revenue-agency.
On the survey page you have the opportunity to tell CRA what you think about past service, it’s service improvements, and what you think of its future plans. The survey runs from April 23-June 18, 2019.
Change is made when those affected speak up. If you have anything to say to CRA, about a negative or positive experience, now is the time to be heard.