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Advice, Tax

When CRA Comes Knocking

Part One of a Two-Part Series on the CRA

CRA has definitely been more active lately. We see increases in the number of audits as well as the number of pre and post-assessment information requests. As there is an increased likelihood that you will have an interaction with the CRA in one way or another in the next year, the following is some useful information to help you understand what to expect regarding service timelines and audit techniques.

On October 24, 2017, The Financial Post published an article about the delays at CRA. A link to the article can be found below.

The findings in the article are consistent with what SB Partners has been seeing through our interactions with CRA.

The following are published service standards CRA released for the 2017-2018 year. Service standards state the response time taxpayers can expect.

CRA aims to issue a Notice of Assessment or Reassessment within the limits as follows 95% of the time:

Digitally FiledPaper Filed
Individual income tax returns2 weeks8 weeks
Corporate Income tax returns6 weeks16 weeks
GST/HST returns4 weeks8 weeks
Trust returnsNA17 weeks
T1 adjustment requests2 weeks8 weeks

Some additional standards are:

CRA Service StandardHow often CRA aims to meet this standard
Issuing a decision letter for taxpayer relief180 days85% of the time
Resolution of a low complexity tax objection180 days80% of the time
Resolution of a service compliant30 days80% of the time
Respond to an enquiry submitted through my business account2 weeks95% of the time
Issuing a technical interpretation90 days85% of the time


No guidance is posted with regards to medium to high complexity tax objections, however, our experience has been that it is at least a year.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done to speed up the wait times. However, you can make a service complaint if you are not satisfied with the service you have received.   You can file a complaint in a few different ways:

Option 1:

Complete Form RC193, Service-Related Complaint.  You can then send your complaint online, by fax, or by mail.

Option 2: Online 

Send your complaint and all supporting documents online using the “Submit documents” option on either:

Option 3: By fax

Send your complaint and all supporting documents by fax to:

  • 1-866-388-7371 from Canada or the United States.
  • 1-819-536-0701 from outside Canada and the United States.

Option 4: By mail

Send your complaint and all supporting documents by mail to:

CRA Service Complaints
National Intake Centre
Appeals Division
4695 Shawinigan-Sud Boulevard
Shawinigan QC G9P 5H9

SB Partners is here to help with all aspects of the above. After a complaint is filed, an officer will review the complaint with a target of resolving within 30 days.  If there has been a significant delay, filing a complaint might actually help to speed up the process.


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