Taxes are one of life’s certainties, and as defined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, so is fair treatment in dealings with the Canada Revenue Agency. The Bill of Rights lists 16 taxpayer rights that range from guaranteed credit for eligible benefits to easy access to the appeal process. Whether you’re filing a business, personal, or client tax return, you’re entitled to fairness, professional service, and clear information throughout the process. Basic rights include confidentiality, accurate application of tax laws, and choice of language. Canada has two official languages. It doesn’t matter if you live in British Columbia or Quebec. You still have the right to choose either English or French for all your CRA forms, documents, and communications.
If you’re unhappy with the way you’ve been treated by the CRA, you’re entitled to file a service complaint. If you disagree with a decision or assessment, you have the right to appeal. While your appeal is being processed, you have the right to withhold the disputed taxes until a decision is made. Especially important to accounting firms and small businesses, the CRA must take into account the time and money spent to achieve compliance with tax laws. Also, if your accounting office has suffered a flood, fire, or other business disaster, you have the right to relief from penalties and interest on unpaid taxes.
In addition to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, the CRA Commitment to Small Business outlines five pledges in support of the business community. These include efforts to streamline the tax process to get you through quickly and an undertaking to cut down compliance costs to save you money. The CRA is also committed to outreach activities that educate and assist the business public with tax matters.