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Widespread backlogs hamper CRA streamlining

Widespread backlogs hamper CRA streamlining

‘The delays are tremendous’: Widespread backlogs hamper CRA streamlining, frustrate taxpayers

Accountants and CRA officials said backlogs have occurred in the appeals, assessment and auditing divisions of the agency

Source: Financial Post

OTTAWA — The Canada Revenue Agency is seeing major delays in processing claims amid a massive consolidation effort, with some taxpayer-requested assessments taking longer than a year, according to accountants and CRA employees who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The CRA acknowledged in a written response it is “taking longer than usual” to process taxpayer-requested assessments, due in part to an “unusual increase” in the volume of requests. It said delays can also arise from a lack of documents provided, or if assessments encounter technical complications.

“We recognize that is an inconvenience to taxpayers,” the agency said. “We have put in place a plan, which includes significant additional resources, to return to processing these adjustment requests in normal timeframes.”

The agency claims it is “on average” meeting its service standards. But more than a dozen tax consultants and CRA employees said delays often take longer than six months to process, with some assessments taking as long as 18 months. Taxpayer-requested re-assessments for businesses are also seeing months-long delays in some cases.

Processing times for so-called “statutory forms,” or the repayment of funds back to the individual or business after assessments, have increased from 10 days to 30 days over the past year, and taking as long as 60 days.

The time required to respond to claimants in the “problem resolution program,” the office that handles more technically complex files, went from five days to around 30 days, according to several sources.

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