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The CRA is Giving Misleading Tax Advice

Based on a recent test of the Canada Revenue Agency conducted by the Agency itself, 25% of businesses who call in to get tax help receive wrong and misleading advice. This is truly worrisome considering that one of the CRA’s top priorities is to disseminate accurate tax related information to Canadians.

In this test, the tax agency anonymously phoned into call centre workers and posed seven routine questions regarding tax rules and procedures. The overall accuracy rate was initially 75%; this later rose to 83% after an ‘outlier’ question, which barely anyone was getting right, was removed. Still, this adjusted number is far lower than a previous claim made by the CRA where it states that a ‘fully correct’ answer is given 92.5% of the time, based on a large sample from 2013 to 2014. This test was initiated by Andrew Treusch, the commissioner of the Agency.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) conducted its own similar test in 2012 where it called 145 call centre agents and posed 4 standard questions. In this study it was found that wrong answers are being given 19% of the time. A Senior VP at CFIB, says that the federation receives a lot of complaints from members about the CRA’s inadequate responses. The Senior VP describes the rate of wrong answers as ‘too high’ and says that businesses are ‘being penalized for trying to do the right thing’. These businesses rely on wrong information given to them by call centre agents which then results in a lengthy audit or review. She talks of how accounting firms often call in and pose the same tax question to different call centre workers and then use the most common response as way of mitigating risk.

It should be noted that the above tests apply only to the CRA’s business call centres. The Agency has three call centres in Edmonton, Saint John and Toronto all of which employ 645 agents. There are six separate call centres all of which employ 2,700 agents devoted to answering individual tax payer inquiries.

In addition to the problem of callers receiving wrong information, there is also the issue of callers not being able to reach any agent at all. Based on the internal test by the agency, only 56% of callers got through to an agent on the first try while the remainder had to call an average of 3 times.

It is no secret that dealing with the CRA can be a difficult task and requires a lot of time and effort. Incorrect advice leading mistakes on your tax returns can be extremely detrimental to you. At Tax Doctors Canada, we can ensure you get the proper advice for your needs. We have extensive experience dealing with the CRA and we can certainly help ease your pain of managing taxes.

Tax Doctors Canada offers a stress free Initial No Obligation Phone Consultation with one of our professionally certified tax accountants. We Welcome Your Business!

Tax Doctors Canada, a division of GTA Wealth Management Inc, has 3 office locations (by appointment only) in Toronto, Markham and Mississauga to serve you. You can also have one of our certified tax accountants assist you with your personal tax return requirements remotely from the comfort of your home utilizing Tax Doctors Canada's secure document transfer portal. We accept clients from Canada and worldwide.

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