CPAs pitch ideas on how CRA can serve us better

Last fall, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) asked small and medium businesses and their accountants how the CRA’s services could improve. Find out CPA Canada’s ideas on how the CRA might serve you better.

At a series of town halls across Canada, CPAs and small and medium business owners took part in the CRA’s latest round of Serving You Better consultations. The CRA was looking for ideas on how it could enhance its services and programs to better meet their needs.

The CRA’s 2016 Serving You Better consultations generated a host of important improvements. These include launching a pilot program for a dedicated helpline for tax preparers, implementing T2 Auto-fill through commercial software, and creating a mobile app for businesses to help manage their interactions with the CRA. CRA has indicated that most of the actions from 2016 are now implemented. You can view these actions and track the CRA’s progress in implementing them online.

For the 2018 consultations, CPA Canada developed a submission, based on member feedback received primarily through our SMP Tax Committee, as well as the Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec (CPA Québec)’s Tax Committee, detailing ways the agency could improve its services.


  • broaden and make permanent its pilot program to provide tax practitioners with a dedicated helpline to help them resolve complex technical tax issues, and create a similar service to resolve more complicated issues for specific taxpayers
  • provide clear guidance on requirements for keeping digital authorization records such as T183 forms
  • develop a process for formally acknowledging receipt of paper-filed submissions within a reasonable time period (e.g., within 30 days after receipt)
  • apply a consistent policy to requests for deadline extensions, and consider developing a list of common situations that allow taxpayers more than 30 days to respond to a CRA request
  • ensure a consistent taxpayer experience in audit, collections and appeals process, across the nation, and across CRA functions
  • enhance the technical knowledge and proficiency of its auditors, by looking for more effective and efficient ways of delivering its internal training such as working with organizations, like CPA Canada, to leverage existing well-respected tax training courses
  • develop a process for improving the amount and timeliness of practical guidance available on the CRA’s website to help small and medium businesses and their advisors comply with existing and new tax laws

The CRA says its commitment to ensuring a world-class tax system is ongoing, and we appreciate CRA’s efforts in this regard.  We would also note that the latest Auditor General’s report has many recommendations designed to improve service to taxpayers and the CRA will develop plans that respond to these recommendations. Even though the latest consultations have ended, there’s no need to wait for next time. The CRA is always open to fresh ideas, so if you have taxpayer service improvement suggestions, we’d like to hear them.


What more can the CRA do to make compliance easier for small and medium businesses and those who advise them? You can keep the conversation going by posting a comment below.



CPA Canada’s Tax Blog is designed to create an exchange of ideas on tax policy and practice issues, and their impact on those who practice tax. Your comments can provide helpful input into the public interest advocacy positions developed by CPA Canada.

About the Author

Bruce Ball, FCPA, FCA, CFP

Vice-president, Taxation, CPA Canada