Canadians are getting bad advice from the taxman

An auditor has found that Canadians are getting bad advice from the taxman, when they can get through

Canadians are all too often getting a busy signal or a message to hang up and try back later when they try to contact the taxman by telephone, says the federal auditor general’s latest report to Parliament.

And when they do get through to the Canada Revenue Agency call centre, the report says they are getting bad information more often than the agency has been willing to admit publicly.

The agency has boasted that 90 per cent of callers are able to connect when they reach out for service either through a telephone self-service centre or by speaking to a call centre agent.

But that doesn’t take into account the fact that, on average, a taxpayer has to call about four times in a week just to get through to the agency, or the fact that more than half of the calls are blocked outright due to volume, said auditor general Michael Ferguson.

“We found that the agency’s numbers didn’t account for the 29 million calls it blocked in a year — more than half of its total call volume,” Ferguson said.

“Those calls either get a busy signal, a message to visit the agency’s website, or a message to call back later.”

Overall, only 36 per cent of calls to the tax agency were able to connect, said the report.

“Based on our tests — and those done by others — we found that the Canada Revenue Agency gave taxpayers wrong answers to their questions almost 30 per cent of the time,” said Ferguson.

“This rate is significantly higher than the roughly six and a half per cent error rate estimated by the agency.”

In its written response to the report, the government said it agreed on the need to improve the accuracy of information provided to taxpayers.

To that end, the CRA said it will launch a new system early next year for training its call centre agents.

It also acknowledged that its current call centre technology is “outdated” and will be upgraded.

Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shots fired in Abbotsford, but no victims or suspects found

Incident occurs Tuesday afternoon at Whatcom and Old Yale roads

Signs of support to be posted on grounds of local hospitals

Individuals can purchase signs through program of Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

VIDEO: Parade of lights, sirens thanks health care workers

First responders and members of the public thanked the hard-working health care workers

VIDEO: No need to stockpile food says Mission mayor

Pam Alexis records video message to the public

Sex offender charged again less than two months after prison release

Taylor Dueck, who was living in Mission, has history of sex assaults in Abbotsford

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC heart surgery patient rarely leaves home

James Jepson is especially vulnerable to the novel coronavirus

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Most Read