You Can Call the CRA for Tax Questions

It just might take a while, but be patient.

Lots of folks are calling the CRA right now for many different reasons, and I still have a few questions I’d like to clarify before I file my family taxes. It is important to be sure you are taking the correct deductions and credits, before you file, so it is not a sign of weakness or feeble mindedness if you call the CRA (don’t be proud).

My patient comment comes from the fact that I called 4 times and got a busy signal (which is really bad form in the Help Line business, but we’ll forgive them that), I got through on my 5th call and then only had to wait 8 minutes until  I actually spoke to someone (I was expecting a much longer wait).

Have One Question

I have found that if you call the CRA or other help lines, you really should have 1 well thought out question. If you have many questions, maybe you should call a few times? I don’t know, but as soon as I ask more than 1 question I find the system seems to bog down or break, so I keep it to a single carefully worded question.

My question was about the fact that my daughter is attending an out of province University (we are in Ontario she is going to school in Nova Scotia), and the tax form  (and the Turbotax help page) says that the tuition may or may not be dealt with in a different way, so you should call the CRA help line, hence why I called.

Out of Province Tuition

My question was not too hard, and because the University she attends is an accredited institution,(but the answer is not written down anywhere, you need to call to make sure the school is OK with the CRA) so she can claim her tuition, and thus transfer a portion of it to me.

The young lady I spoke to was very helpful, and gave me the web page that she looked at and such, and she asked me if I had any more questions, and I answered NO. This does not mean I don’t have other questions, I am only going to ask one question this time, but I may call back.

All in all an OK experience this time, however, I am not sure how my future experiences will go.

Anybody else have any experiences with the CRA helpline?

Lenten Challenge Coming

Watch for my Lenten Challenge on Wednesday, I am still formulating a few things about it, but I hope it turns out to be a fun challenge for folks.

{ 5 comments }

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Rachelle March 11, 2011, 3:08 PM

    I had very good service when I called the CRA. I lost some paperwork in a recent move and needed to confirm my RRSP contribution limit. It turned out there were some quite serious problems with my filing over the years. After getting through the initial front-line person, I was transferred to a more specialized person who very patiently spent over half and hour going over the details with me. The following day her supervisor called, having found a potential error in what I’d been told the previous day. Although the news was not good from a financial perspective, I was impressed with the level of service.

    Reply
  • Grocery Deals in Canada March 10, 2011, 8:42 PM

    I find they are great for personal tax questions and business they often have to transfer (still great service though).

    Reply
  • ronika March 7, 2011, 1:25 PM

    Having made numerous calls to the CRA and Revenue Quebec, I agree with the commenter above – it is hit or miss. In general I find them to be pleasant and helpful but not very good at dealing with grey areas.

    Reply
    • bigcajunman March 7, 2011, 1:36 PM

      Agreed, you need to have a simple Yes or No answer in an area that should be well defined, any grey areas will get you a non-commital response, which does not help.

      Reply
  • Sustainable PF March 7, 2011, 9:35 AM

    Boy oh boy. I tried this at the end of last week.
    I happened to reach a french-canadian fellow who had little interest in discussing our issue in any way outside of his “process”. It was awful.
    Our issue: Bank RRSP statement didn’t match what CRA told me I could submit for the fisrt 2 months of 2010. ($150 difference) to repay our HBP.
    This fellow essentially wasted 10 minutes of OUR time by refusing to listen to my scenario and answering the question I had.
    At the end of it all, when I told him we didn’t want to contribute more than we had to into our RRSP he lectured me about RRSPs until I got aggressive and explained that as a govt employee with a pension plan that will have us at a good income level in retirement RRSPs take a back seat to TFSAs and paying off debt.
    Anyhow, the call lasted 27 minutes and should have lasted 3. As a former call centre employee my guess is this fellow won’t have a job for long as his call metrics have to be abysmal.

    A caveat: my call prior to this one (to get my RRSP max contribution) was awesome, and quick. It seems to be hit and miss.

    Reply

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