The CRA has nine call centres located across Canada that are supposed to provide taxpayers with timely and accurate information about their taxes, credits and benefits.
Based on the Auditor General of Canada’s report, however, a taxpayer calling the CRA is more likely to get blocked than to speak to a live agent, and when reaching a live agent, often has a fairly good chance of obtaining incorrect information.
When faced with Notices of Assessment from CRA that run contrary to a particular tax practice, taxpayers often defend their practice on the basis that CRA had not previously taken issue with it. For tax litigators it is common to hear from clients: “CRA did not take issue with our tax compliance procedures in the past, so they should not be able to now!”
Unfortunately, this argument will not be successful in the Tax Court of Canada, as was the case in the recent case of Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences (2014 TCC 171) – which reinforces that there is really no substitute for proper professional advice when determining GST/HST compliance.