CRA serving Canadians better consultations: Feedback from CPAs

In recent consultations, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) sought ideas for improving its services. Who better to ask than CPAs, who help thousands of Canadians with their taxes every year? Find out what we recommended.

With its Serving You Better consultations in 2016 and 2018 (see our March 2019 Tax Blog), the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) tapped CPAs and others nationwide for ideas on how it can deliver better client services to smaller Canadian businesses and the CPAs who help them with tax matters

In spring 2019, the CRA launched Serving Canadians Better, a new wave of consultation covering tax services for individuals. In response, CPA Canada crafted a submission with over 40 recommendations for changes large and small for the CRA to consider.

Among these ideas, we ask that the CRA look into ways to help vulnerable Canadians get the full tax and social benefits they qualify for. Some CPAs who take part in Community Volunteer Income Tax Program clinics have told us that preparing tax returns for people with benefit entitlements can be highly complex, and that CPAs themselves would find it hard without help from tax preparation software and guidance.

While we think these issues would be best addressed as part of a comprehensive tax review (as discussed in our July 2019 Tax Blog), we also believe the CRA could help Canadians get much-needed tax benefits with direct help, simpler rules and better guidance.

Our other recommendations address a range of issues. To name a few, we suggest the CRA:

  • look into ways to streamline the various processes for authorizing taxpayer representatives
  • review whether transmitting more data captured by tax preparation software (e.g., on donations, medical expenses) would help streamline the verification process for individuals
  • establish a dedicated centre of excellence for processing terminal tax returns, which can be complex, and examine a variety of ideas for making it easier to deal with the tax matters that arise on a taxpayer’s death
  • develop a process for improving the amount and timeliness of practical guidance available on the CRA’s website to help taxpayers and their advisors comply with existing and new tax law, and developing a consistent practice for how and where new guidance is posted on the CRA website

We developed these ideas in collaboration with CPAs across Canada, including our Small and Medium Practitioner Tax Committee, whose members are CPAs who provide tax services to individual taxpayers, including smaller business owners, across Canada.

CPA Canada, and the business and accounting professionals we represent, applaud the CRA’s efforts to ease the administrative burden of Canadians and the accountants who serve them. We look forward to our ongoing participation in these efforts to improve our country’s tax system for the benefit of all Canadians and Canadian businesses.

The CRA plans to issue its report on the results and its action plan of the Serving Canadians Better consultation in the fall of 2019.


What other ideas do you have for the CRA that could cut red tape and improve the service experience for Canadian individual taxpayers? Post 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