Props: Canada Revenue Agency

03Jan08

Adam and I moved in together on May 1, 2007. That means we’ve been at our current address for 8 months. When I moved, I registered for 6 months of mail forwarding from Canada Post. Those jerkfaces charged me $6/month to put a sticker on my mail to get it to the new address, and it was a pain in the butt to set up. The first few weeks, not all my mail was getting stickered, so I still had to go to my old place to pick up my mail.

The other problem with it, was that it let me be a total lazybones about making sure my address was changed for all the people who send me mail. Friends and family were easily taken care of with a big email, but everything else was a big effort, involving much cursing, time on hold, and general disgruntlement.

On New Year’s Eve, about ten minutes after everything shut down, I remembered I had never changed my address with the Canada Revenue Agency. For you non-Canucks, that’s the federal organization in charge of useful things like our tax returns.  This is mostly only a big deal because my income is still low enough that I get a GST credit every quarter. Basically, free money four times a year, meant to offset the impact of GST on my income, but really just an excuse totreat myself to something I can’t otherwise afford, like a pedicure.

I called them today to change my address, and expected to be on hold for ages, deal with a grumpy operator, and spend an hour proving I was myself. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised.

I googled and found this great page with different options for changing your address.  I called at 3:03, listened to ONE menu, chose my option, and got a message saying that they try to answer all calls within 2 minutes, but it may take longer on high volume days. By 3:06 I was speaking with a cheerful operator, who was patient with my flaky knowledge of my past addresses and 2006 employers (3 in 2006), and laughed when I said I had no idea how much I made in 2006 and that “I think my last GST cheque started with a 6?” After a minute or two of these identifying questions, he asked for my new address, and confirmed my phone number. He apologized and said my cheque had already been printed, so I would have to get it from my old address. I was done and off the phone by 3:09.

This is how it should be, people. It shouldn’t take hours to get through to a government agency, and then more hours to deal with your query or need. It should be quick and efficient, and the staff should be as pleasant as the operator I dealt with.

Props, CRA. Now don’t screw me on my taxes in the Spring!

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4 Responses to “Props: Canada Revenue Agency”

  1. 1 Carmen Lake

    Glad to hear it was so easy to change address with a government body! Actually in my experience they are usually quite helpful, its all the others that are a pain. i came across a really cool site when i moved (i think its in england though) and you can change all your addresses on it, its called iammoving.com. its the post office’s site i think and everyone is listed. do you know of anything like that here?

  2. 2 Marianne

    Hi Carmen, thanks for stopping by! I know Canada Post has something called “Smart Moves” that will email your new address to people you know (you enter their email addresses), and some big businesses. Last I checked, though, there were fewer than 10 businesses participating. Nothing as cool as the site you linked to, that I know of.

  3. I’ve got CRA story that will make you laugh! We moved, and my boyfriend let the CRA his new address (which was temporarily my parent’s house – eek). Anyways, a few months later, after we had moved in with my parents and then out into our own house, my mother brought by a scary envelope addressed to boyfriend from CRA (eek! audit?). It was a letter saying that they could not change his address until he proved his identification. But did you notice where the letter was sent? Oh yeah, to the address they couldn’t change his address to.

  4. 4 Marianne

    Sarah, that’s hilarious! Y’know, though, I wonder if someone was trying to take his identity and had tried to change the address for his info? Get him to check his credit score!


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