Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Taxpayers’ Ombudsman

If you’ve been having trouble with your dealings with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), there is a Taxpayers’ Ombudsman that may be able to help. In addition they have some good tips for how to deal with CRA.

The types of complaints they can review are

– Mistakes
– Undue delays
– Poor or misleading information
– Unfair treatment
– Staff behaviour

If you think you have a suitable case for the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman, be sure to be clear about what you want and to submit complete information.  The Ombudsman recommends being calm and respectful when dealing with CRA. No matter how egregious your treatment by CRA, it is unlikely to be the fault of the CRA employee you are speaking to on the phone.

Like many service workers, CRA employees who interact with the public get paid the same whether or not they help you (within limits). Whether you like it or not, they hold the power and you don’t. Fortunately, most people like to be helpful and CRA employees are no different.

Your best bet is to be likeable. This doesn’t mean backing down from what is rightfully yours. It just means remaining respectful. Your best hope is to make the CRA employee an ally of yours in righting whatever wrong you’ve suffered.

Here’s an example of something unhelpful to say:


After this gem you may not get maximum cooperation from the CRA employee you blasted.

There is no guarantee that treating CRA employees well will get you what you want, but it improves your odds.



    Try saying that to a teacher. Much hilarity will ensue. They hate it just as much as the CRA does.

  2. @Financial Uproar: It's hard to imagine any situation where saying this would help someone get what they want. But people say it anyway.

  3. Here's a prime example of what you're talking about, from one of my favourite all-time TV shows, Corner Gas:

    Between the 5:00 mark and the 7:00 mark.

  4. Something I saw on TV once - a driver is upset at being questioned after being pulled over and a ticket being written up.

    Driver to cop: "My taxes pay your salary".

    Cop: "Watch me earn it".

    Best comeback ever.

  5. @Gene: Nice find. Directly on point and funny too!

    @Ahmed: That's a good comeback. I've never thought it was a good idea to annoy a cop.