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It also acknowledged that its current call centre technology is “outdated” and will be upgraded.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

Mountain biking promotion reaches new heights in Williams Lake

The City’s economic development office is working on a number of projects

First Nations youth get hands on archaeological experience

Delving into the ancient past has inspired the future aspirations of four First Nations youth

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Most Read