In writing this blog post, we are not advocating filing
baseless, frivolous, vexatious and retaliatory "service
complaints" against Canada Revenue Agency ("CRA")
auditors, collections officers and other employees of the CRA.
However, we have learned from the experience of our clients that
some legitimate complaints arise from time-to-time. It is in the
spirit of transparency and openness that we have decided to write
about the CRA service complaints process. Before we give this
information to you, we ask one thing - when you write a service
complaint, do not do so in anger. Take your time to be fair. After
you write the service complaint, do not press "send"
right away. Print what you have written and put it in a drawer for
24 hours. Then read the service complaint again and make any
changes that you feel are warranted and appropriate. If you send a
fair service complaint that is factual, rather than emotional, you
increase the chances that the reader will address your concerns. I
have been informed that all service complaints are reviewed and
There is a form for "Service Complaints" about CRA
employees. You must complete an RC193 "Service Related Complaint"
form. The form asks for your information - service complaints
cannot be made anonymously. The reason why service complaints
cannot be anonymous is that the CRA has to review the alleged
treatment of a particular taxpayer and conduct an internal review
of the contents of the complaint. However, service complaints may
be filed on your behalf by a representative, such as a lawyer,
accountant, bookkeeper, consultant, etc.
The form requires the taxpayer filing the service complaint to
describe the actions of the CRA employee giving rise to the service
complaint and state the action the taxpayer wishes the CRA to
For example, if an auditor is acting in a biased manner towards
the taxpayer, the taxpayer should make a statement that they are
being treated in a biased manner, present the facts in support of
the claim and make a requested action, such as the replacement of
the auditor with another auditor. It is not possible to ask that
the taxpayer never be audited. But it is reasonable to request
For example, if the auditor does not seem to understand the
legal issues involved in the file and fails to consider the issues,
you should ask for a meeting with a Team Leader. If the auditor
refuses to arrange a meeting with his/her Team Leader, you should
file a service complaint. The basis for the complaint would be the
lack of knowledge and the refusal to arrange a meeting with a Team
Leader. The concern would be that the auditor is not communicating
with others within the CRA and using appropriate resources. It is
not uncommon for new auditors to be "in over their heads"
when dealing with new and complex issues. It can be beneficial to
raise these issues in order to keep the audit on track and to
minimize the risk of the auditor making incorrect assessments.
After the complaint is written, put it away for a day and make
appropriate revisions. The service complaint may be submitted to
the CRA electronically (through My Business Account), by fax or by
mail. See the Submissions options.
We have filed service complaints on behalf of our clients.
Normally, we receive a letter within a few weeks acknowledging
receipt by the CRA of the complaint. The complaint is forwarded to
the Tax Services Office most closely connected to the service
complaint. In every file in which we filed the service complaint,
we have received a telephone call about the service complaint. In
every case, there was a requirement that the CRA employee respond
to a supervisor who was looking into the service complaint. In
every file, we received a response from the CRA about the steps to
be taken. In every case, the service complaints were taken
seriously. In most cases, the matter was resolved satisfactorily.
This is because we were reasonable in how we discussed the issues
and were reasonable in what actions were requested.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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