THE Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) said on Monday that to get ready for a tax filing season like no other, it has introduced a number of measures to help taxpayers get the tax and benefit information they need. The CRA said it knows that many Canadians have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s here to support them during this difficult time.
The new service enhancements for the 2021 tax season include:
Additional call agents to further increase call centre capacity: Throughout COVID-19, the CRA has seen a significant increase in call volumes. To help manage this, the 2020 Fall Economic Statement allocated additional funding to the CRA for call centre operations.
Using this investment, the CRA has hired additional agents who will help with increased call volumes. It has also contracted a third-party service provider to assist with client service capacity issues. These agents will be able to answer general enquiries about emergency benefits, but they will not have access to taxpayers’ personal information.
New automated callback service: This new service lets callers ask for a call-back instead of waiting on hold. Callers on the individual tax enquiries, benefits enquiries, and business enquiries lines may be given the option of a callback when wait times reach a certain length. The new automated callback service is easy to use, secure, and helps save callers time on the phone.
Extended call centre hours: Leading up to and throughout tax-filing season, the CRA’s Individual enquiries line is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time, and its extended Saturday hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as of February 27.
Before calling the CRA
Check Canada.ca: The CRA is improving the information on Canada.ca to make it easier for taxpayers to understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their taxes. The goal is to ensure as much information as possible is available online – such as information on what a taxpayer should do if they received T4A/RL-1 slips for COVID-19 emergency benefits.
Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, said: “Through our government’s significant investment in CRA Call Centres in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, we are able to prepare for a tax-filing season unlike any other. The CRA remains committed to putting people first so that Canadians have access to the tax and benefit information they need. Our government will be there for Canadians to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes to help them through the current crisis.”