CBC: CRA taking far too long to resolve tax objections, auditor general says

The federal government takes months — sometimes years — to make decisions, costing Canadians time and money when it comes to resolving tax disputes, the federal auditor general says.

And that same glacial approach to decision-making can also prevent Canadian cars from being as safe as possible, Michael Ferguson says in his annual fall series of reports, released Tuesday.

Those reports include audits of the Canada Revenue Agency and Transport Canada, where in both cases exceedingly long delays fall short of public expectations in an era of advanced technology and instant communications.

In both, Ferguson's message was similar: departments assess the time it takes to make decisions against their own internal benchmarks, giving little heed to what the taxpayers they serve might consider a timely decision.

Both departments agreed with the recommendations in the audits, vowing to craft new policies to show they have heeded Ferguson's calls.

The Canada Revenue Agency often leaves taxpayers waiting for months after they file formal objections to their tax assessments, Ferguson found. Appeals officers seeking help from other parts of the agency often wait a year or more, he added.

"That type of performance just isn't acceptable and the government departments need to find a way to design their services so that they actually meet the needs of the citizens," Ferguson told a news conference.

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