July 21 2015  Hazlo Law, Tax Litigation Lawyer

If I make a complaint against the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), will I be subjected to more audits and penalties? This is a common concern that Canadian taxpayers share when they have an issue with the CRA. However, you can be assured that this concern has been addressed. In 2007, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights was created to provide assurance to taxpayers who might fear reprisal if they file a complaint against the CRA. While it is not an enforceable law, it is an official commitment from the CRA to taxpayers.

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights provides sixteen rights (complete list included at the end of the article)

While most of the rights are straight forward, the following are worth highlighting.

1. You have the right to receive entitlements and to pay no more and no less than what is required by law.

This means that you have the right to receive the benefits, credits, and refunds that you are entitled to under the law. You are also entitled to pay no more and no less than the correct amount required under the law.

You should be aware that the CRA should be applying the Income Tax Act in accordance with this right regardless of whether a complaint is filed.

4. You have the right to a formal review and a subsequent appeal.

This refers to taxpayer’s right to object to the CRA’s assessment and reassessment (through a Notice of Objection) and to bring an appeal to the Tax Court of Canada (through a Notice of Appeal).

9. You have the right to lodge a service complaint and to be provided with an explanation of our findings.

This refers to taxpayer’s right to complaint to the CRA for serviced-related issues. These issues include, but are not limited to, staff behaviour, undue delays, and misleading information.

12. You have the right to relief from penalties and interest under tax legislation because of extraordinary circumstances.

This refers to the taxpayer relief provisions available to taxpayers. Under certain circumstances such as natural disasters or death, the CRA may waive or cancel all or part of the penalties and interest.

15. You have the right to be represented by a person of your choice.

This is especially relevant in the tax dispute process since it is advised that the taxpayer retain the service of a lawyer as the process can get quite complex.

Given these rights as a taxpayer, if you feel that any of your rights have been violated, you can launch a formal complaint against the CRA without the fear of being blacklisted. These rights are important and knowing them could strengthen your case.


Taxpayer Bill of Rights 

  1. You have the right to receive entitlements and to pay no more and no less than what is required by law.
  2. You have the right to service in both official languages.
  3. You have the right to privacy and confidentiality.
  4. You have the right to a formal review and a subsequent appeal.
  5. You have the right to be treated professionally, courteously, and fairly.
  6. You have the right to complete, accurate, clear, and timely information.
  7. You have the right, unless otherwise provided by law, not to pay income tax amounts in dispute before you have had an impartial review.
  8. You have the right to have the law applied consistently.
  9. You have the right to lodge a service complaint and to be provided with an explanation of our findings.
  10. You have the right to have the costs of compliance taken into account when administering tax legislation.
  11. You have the right to expect us to be accountable.
  12. You have the right to relief from penalties and interest under tax legislation because of extraordinary circumstances.
  13. You have the right to expect us to publish our service standards and report annually.
  14. You have the right to expect us to warn you about questionable tax schemes in a timely manner.
  15. You have the right to be represented by a person of your choice.
  16. You have the right to lodge a service complaint and request a formal review without fear of reprisal.

For more detailed explanation of the rights, please click here to visit the CRA’s website.
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/rc17/rc17-e.html


This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss your issue with a lawyer, contact today.  +1 (613) 706-1757