How to Contact the CRA Without Losing Your Mind

February 27, 2020 Jennie Moore

In our fast-paced world, sometimes picking up the phone is the best way to ensure proper communication and get a problem resolved for our clients.

Although you may not have time for a friendly chat, our friends at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) do. Emails are a frequent way to communicate on a timely basis, but the CRA does not send or receive emails relating to business inquiries. 

In the spirit of making things a little less taxing, I’m sharing my tips and top phone numbers to spend less time on hold and put more time back in your business.

Dos and Don’ts when calling the CRA.

As they say, “A little preparation goes a long way.” 

  • Plan your call time during normal business hours and non-public holidays

  • Check the anticipated wait times to speak to a CRA agent. 

  • Ensure that you have the authorization to speak to the CRA on behalf of your client.

You will also want to have all the following on hand: 

  • Your client’s business information, including:

    • Business number (BN).

    • The full legal name of the business.

    • Telephone number.

    • Complete mailing address.

    • Inquiry details, such as the latest notice of assessment, return or other tax documents.

  • Paper and pen to take notes or a note-taking device. 

  • A good cup of java! 

Be respectful:

  • CRA agents are quite nice and respectful. Be kind and courteous to our fellow public service employees. 😊 Fact: CRA agents abide by a Taxpayer Bill of Rights that must be followed during every taxpayer interaction. 

Pro tips:

  • Use a speakerphone to ensure you can have your hands free to review files for questions asked by the CRA agent or log in to your client’s portals to confirm information.

  • Save yourself some frustration. At the beginning of the call, inform the agent of a call back number they can reach you at if for some reason you become disconnected.

  • Request the agent ID number and record details of your conversation either on a note-taking device or on paper.

A list of key CRA contact numbers.

Although there are some spooky tax shenanigans that can happen, your chances of getting the culprit fixed depend on your attention to the telephone number you call.

Let’s review the telephone numbers for you to reach a perky CRA agent. 
 

Topic

Telephone Number

Hours of Operation

Help with My Business Account and Represent a Client.

1-800-959-5525

Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut:

1-866-841-1876

Monday to Friday
9 am to 6 pm
(local time)

Change/update business information.

Change your business address.

Update the name of your business.

1-800-959-5525

Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut:

1-866-841-1876

Monday to Friday
9 am to 6 pm
(local time)

Help with making a payment.

Questions on instalments.

Have a payment made in the wrong business account transferred to another account.

1-800-959-5525

Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut:

1-866-841-1876

Monday to Friday
9 am to 6 pm
(local time)

Payroll deductions and accounts.

Charging GST/HST as a business.

Business tax for corporations, sole proprietorships, partnerships, non-resident corporations, and corporation accounts.

1-800-959-5525

Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut:

1-866-841-1876

Monday to Friday
9 am to 6 pm (EST)

Get help with filing your T2 corporation income tax return electronically.

Get help with the Corporation Internet Filing service.

1-800-959-2803

Monday to Friday
9 am to 4 pm
(local time)

Discuss payment arrangements to repay a GST/HST debt (paying over several months).

1-877-477-5068

Monday to Friday
7 am to 11 pm (EST)

Discuss payment arrangements to repay a payroll tax debt (paying over several months).

1-877-548-6016

Monday to Friday
7 am to 11 pm (EST)

Discuss payment arrangements to repay a corporate income tax debt (paying over several months).

1-866-291-6346

Monday to Friday
7 am to 11 pm (EST)

GST/HST NETFILE and TELEFILE.

T4, T5, T3 Filing information returns electronically.

Locked out of business account.

1-800-959-5525

Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut:

1-866-841-1876

Monday to Friday
9 am to 6 pm
(local time)

Report a nil remittance for payroll.

1-800-959-2256

Hours vary

Report a nil remittance for non-resident withholding tax.

1-866-971-4644

Hours vary

Register for a business number and any program account such as the GST/HST.

1-800-959-5525

Monday to Friday
9 am to 6 pm(EST)

Got a GST/HST problem?

It’s best to be honest. The appeals process to have a CRA officer resolve your GST/HST objection can take anywhere from 62 days to 500 days (as of January 2020).

The Appeals Intake Centre is responsible for processing objections and assigning an appeals officer. There are two appeals centres depending on your postal code.

If your postal code starts with A to P then you are assigned to the Eastern Appeals Intake Centre.

Public inquiries line: 1-866-242-3161

Outside Canada: 705-671-0238 (collect call)

Fax: 705-670-6649 or 1-866-443-4955

If your postal code starts with R to Y then you are assigned to the Western Appeals Intake Centre.

Public inquiries line: 1-800-959-5513

Outside Canada: 613-940-8563 (collect call)

Local fax: 604-587-2672

If you are a non-resident you may call either appeals intake centre.

How to disclose a mistake.

Oops — you made a mistake! You didn’t mean to. Don’t worry — CRA may be able to give you a second chance to correct your taxes. 

The Voluntary Disclosure (VDP) works through an application process. Once your VDP is approved you will still need to pay the taxes owing, plus interest in part or in full. But you may be eligible for relief from prosecution and, in some cases, from penalties that you would otherwise be required to pay. In this case, it “saves” to be honest!

How to report a scam.

In today’s digital age, fraudulent activity is bound to pop up. It’s important to report a scam if you have received a suspicious call or another type of communication from an individual claiming to be a CRA agent. 

To report a scam you need to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. 

Here are some red flags to inform you of things CRA will never do:

  • Ask for information about your passport, health card, or driver's license.

  • Demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others.

  • Use aggressive language or threaten you with arrest or sending the police.

  • Leave voicemails that are threatening or give personal or financial information.

Check out this handy link to learn how to “Slam the Scam” and protect yourself against fraud.

Who’s up for being more efficient?

Now I’m always down for a good chat. But sometimes, little things can be fixed without talking to a real live breathing human. For this, you can use the Represent a Client site to manage your clients. As a business owner, you also have access to a My Business Account site. 

Still, need a little help? Then my tax paying friend can get in-person tax help from a CRA liaison officer. Don’t let that formal title scare you away. These liaison officers are available to you free of charge to help you understand your tax obligations with no tax consequences while ensuring 100% confidentiality. Now that’s helpful!

Can you email the CRA?

No. While emails are a frequent way to communicate on a timely basis, the CRA does not send or receive emails relating to business inquiries. 

Can you contact the CRA by standard mail?

Yes. You may mail most tax forms to a tax services office (TSO) or tax centre closest to you. T1 returns can only be mailed to the addresses specified here.

Save time and put it back in your business.

There are many reasons why you would need to contact the CRA — for example, filing taxes, disclosing a mistake, reporting spam, resolving GST/HST issues and having general tax and business inquiries. The issue? Sometimes it takes awhile. The fix? Be prepared. Hopping on a phone call with a CRA agent is a great way to quickly resolve a problem, but it isn't the only way to connect with them. Another option is contacting them via standard mail  or you can visit a CRA agent in-person at the closest tax services office.

The advice we share on our blog is intended to be informational. It does not replace the expertise of accredited business professionals. Wagepoint assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in this document.  

About the Author

Jennie Moore

Some girls like shoes, Jennie likes Fintech. Her passion to make bookkeeping simple for entrepreneurs and accounting pros is the motto behind the Fintech Details Initiative. She’s an avid figure skater, mom of 3, and cupcake connoisseur.

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