The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), formally known as Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) is one of the federal government's largest agencies employing over 40,000 Canadians with Offices located across the country. To understand how the Canada Revenue Agency became what it is today we must analyze what fostered its significant growth and development.
The Canada Revenue Agency is a federal government Agency that was created to administer the Tax Laws of the Government of Canada and also to deliver various Federal Government Tax incentives and benefit programs to billions of Canadian citizens. The CRA has a long history and went through many changes. This all began in 1927 with the creation of the Department of National Revenue act. This act proposed to rename the Department of Customs and Excise as The Department of National Revenue. This would in turn be one of the many name changes that the CRA went through before it ended up as it currently is.
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At that time, the Department of National Revenue had a few different objectives, one of them being monitoring the Canadian Border and cross-border transactions. This involved controlling the types of goods that were being transported across Canadian boarders as well as the people carrying them. This was an important duty as it allowed Canadian businesses to thrive by minimizing cross-border competition. Along with Border protection, the Department of National Revenue was also in charge of collecting duty of goods being brought into the country. In addition to this department another sub-department was created within the Department of National Revenue whose main task was to collect income tax.
Eventually in April 1999, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency was started with the creation of a new act, the Canada Customs and Revenue Act. This was the transition time when this Government organization changed from a Department to an Agency. A Government agency is considered a permanent organization that is in charge of specific functions of the country.
In 2003, the Government of Canada decided to break the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency into two different organizations. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) was created and they were appointed to control the Government of Canada's customs operations. The Canada Customs and Revenue agency name was only changed two years later once legislation was modified. On December 12, 2005 the legal name change to the Canada Revenue Agency came into effect. The Canada Revenue Agency states their a main goal is "contributing to the well-being of Canadians, by providing world-class tax and benefit administration that was responsive, effective, and trusted" . They are also appointed to enforce compliance by Governments across Canada which will in turn benefit socio-economic well being of Canadians.
Canada Revenue Agency's Service Standards
In 2008, the Canada Revenue agency launched a comprehensive Service Strategy, this was designed to develop and deliver their products and services to Canadians, being one of the largest Government organizations with over 40,000 employees, Canadian taxpayers have very high expectations of the Canada Revenue Agency with regards to the services they provide. The CRA is dedicated to providing world-class service to their citizens and have set and maintained high service standards for their employees; as a result in 2008/2009 the Canada Revenue Agency had set the following goals:
Respond to General Telephone Enquires within 2 minutes at least 80% of the time
Respond to Business Telephone Enquires within 2minutes at least 80% of the time
Process paper filed T1 Income Tax returns within 4-6 weeks
Process E-filed Individual T1 Income Tax Returns within 2 weeks
Process T2 Corporate Tax Returns within 60 days at least 90% of the time
The Canada Revenue Agency was happy to report that all of these goals for the 2008/2009 Taxation years were either met or exceeded. The CRA states that their "Service Standard represents there public commitment to the level of service that taxpayers and benefit recipients can expect to receive"
The Canada Revenue Agency has also put strong efforts on dealing with Non-Compliance. Non-compliance is the failure of corporations, businesses and citizens to either file returns, report complete and accurate taxation information or pay outstanding amounts. There plan to reduce non-compliance is to create taxpayer awareness with regards to current issues and exhibit how non-compliance is handled. The CRA's efforts to reduce non-complance has proven to be effective as statistics show that in the 2008/2009 Taxation years, the CRA's goal of 90% compliance for filing tax returns was met and exceeded, with 92% of Canadians filing their returns. The Agency's 90% Remittance goal was also exceeded with 93% of Canadians remitting outstanding amounts as requested.
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
Other than regular service standard goals, the Canada Revenue Agency also had the goal of making their services more accessible to Canadians. This has mainly been achieved by the means of their online website which provides taxpayers a portal to file their income tax, pay outstanding amounts due and receive help on benefits and credits which they may be eligible for. CRA statistics have shown that the rates of electronic filing and payments are on a consistent upward trend. The Canada Revenue Agency is putting continuous efforts to improve the usability of their website and making it easier to access for taxpayers. In 2008 and 2009 Canadians filed more than 27 Million T1 Individual tax returns, and out of those more than half, 56% were filed online. With regards to the 2 Million corporate tax returns filed, 23% of those were done online as well.
See Appendix for Organizational Structure Charts
The Canada Revenue Agency is regulated for all of its operations and services, regulation is provided by the Government of Canada. The CRA is responsible for adhering to federal, provincial and municipal laws just like all other Government Agencies. Although the CRA is such a large Government organization, they are regulated to protect Canadian citizens, as well to regulate the economy to keep it efficient. Furthermore regulation also provides a means of monitoring performance and providing ongoing pressure for improvement. Some of the regulation details are discussing in the paragraphs below:
Privacy Requirements: The Canada Revenue Agency is required to follow the Canadian Privacy Act of Government Institutions. This act prohibits the CRA from the collection, use and disclosure of specific types of personal information. The act also states that taxpayers have the right to view and correct any personal information that the Government of Canada holds about them. The CRA must abide by these regulations.
The Canada Revenue Agency also has the obligation to provide a secure means of accessing their online website. The CRA is required to have secure online transactions and does not collect any personal information from Taxpayers unless it is requested and the user accepts the security policy.
Income Tax Act: The Canada Revenue Agency is required to follow the rules and regulations set out in the Canadian Income Tax Act. All of the Canadian Tax regulations and laws are published in this book and it is updated annually.
Labour, Minimum Wage, Employment Laws: The Canada Revenue Agency is subject to Canadian employment laws such as the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). This ESA deals with such issues as the amount of hours employees can work each week, the minimum wage employees must be paid, and other issues regarding vacation pay, public holidays and leave of absences. The Ministry of Labour governs the ESA and this is where employees can lodge a complaint.
Disability Acts: The Canada Revenue Agency is required to follow the Ontarions with Disabilities Act, 2001. This law states that public sector organizations are required to
Prepare annual accessibility plans
Make them available to the public
The CRA currently follows all of these laws and is continuously striving to improve accessibility for employees and taxpayers with disabilities at their offices.
The Canada Revenue Agency does extensive research regarding its public image and how it is viewed by Canadians. One example of this is the collection of "Attitudinal Data" which is done by the means of Public Opinion Research (POR). The information collected from this research allows the Agency to gauge how citizens react to proposals or initiatives, decide how effective new programs or policies are performing, and to evaluate the effectiveness of CRA's public communication initiatives.
The CRA also spends a significant amount of time and money with regards to Marketing new programs such as the Tax Free Savings Account and the Universal Child Care benefit program. All of this is done to create awareness and promote these programs to Canadian taxpayers
The Canada Revenue Agency is focused on providing the best possible service to Canadian Taxpayers through all of their offices across Canada. One way this is accomplished is by hiring some of the best and brightest people to work for them. CRA's executive staffs have extensive experience within their fields and have created excellent relationships through the years. Currently the Minister of National Revenue is Keith Ashfield, he was elected in the House of Commons in 2008. His prior experience includes a position on the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly, as well from 1999-2003 he was the Deputy Speaker of the Legislature.
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In the recent years the Canada Revenue Agency has created made many new services available to taxpayers such as the "E-Pass" this online service allows taxpayers to signup online for an account and then provides a secure means of accessing and updating personal Government information.
The Canada Revenue Agency "E-FILE" within the last five years and provides 95% of Canadians the ability to provide Income tax information online through the CRA web-portal. This can be done by signing up for an account. This new service was designed to making filing income tax returns easier and to decrease non-compliance. E-FILE was designed to be very user friend, and provide taxpayers with faster refunds, greater accuracy and go paperless.
The Canada Revenue Agency is one of the largest Government of Canada organizations, consisting of more than 15 branches and employing over 40,000 employees.
The 15 main branches of the Canada Revenue Agency
The CRA has large Canadian platform; consisting of over 100 Tax Service Office and Tax Centers across Canada.
There are many individuals who feel that the Canada Revenue Agency has gained too much control being such a large organization.
-The Canada Revenue Agency has had instances where employees have engaged in activities that resulted in Conflicts of Interest and employment was therefore terminated.
-Due to the large number of employees that the Canada Revenue Agency employees, extra precautions need be implemented to ensure employees are not engaging in unjust activities or abusing their power.
-Employees abusing the CRA code of conduct can have adverse implications again the CRA's public image; therefore the Agency has a zero tolerance rule against misconduct.
- The Canada Revenue Agencies GST/HST Online processing system which was implemented in 2007 was designed to create a more efficient way for Businesses and individuals to update their account, review balances and file GST returns. Citizens have commented that the CRA has not done enough to inform taxpayers of current updates in new systems as most people have no idea when new services are introduced.
-Within the last 20 years the CRA has changed its name from the Department of Customs and Excise to the Department of National Revenue, then again to Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) and finally to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This has brought a lot of confusion to Canadians and may also create a sense of inexperience to the name Canada Revenue Agency as some people may consider this a new Agency.
The Canada Revenue Agency is currently doing a project on YouTube to get the General public's view on "How the underground economy is affecting them and their communities" This unique approach by CRA is taking advantage of social media tools like YouTube to get the public's opinion while putting a positive spin on the work they usually due. Most individuals do not necessarily have a positive opinion of CRA since they collect taxes, but the approach and marketing of this project seems to try and change that generalization.
Canada Revenue Agency does not have any competitors within the Country, they have the opportunity to improve themselves by comparing their services to Taxation Departments and Agencies in other countries such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States.
The CRA has to opportunity to improve the Canadian economy and give Canada a more competitive edge by working to reduce Corporate Tax rates thereby giving Canada a competitive advantage in comparison to other countries around the world
With the world's dependence on the internet, the Canada Revenue Agency has the opportunity to link there taxation system to different taxation systems around the world, such as the IRS. This would allow the CRA to observe foreign transactions and hidden income and would increase the ability to police Non-compliance on a global basis
The increased ability of Canadians use of the internet also creates the opportunity to further advance the CRA's online services and offerings, thereby making it easier for Canadians to perform taxation services and reducing non-compliance.
Future plans of the CRA include a wireless tax filing ability, the Internal Revenue Service has already announced it will implement this and the Swedish tax authority, the Skatteverket has already implemented this. Canadians will expect no less.
The Canada Revenue Agency has the power to influence the Canadian Economy, an example of this is the recent implementation of the Harmonized Sales Tax. This system combines both GST and PST into one single tax. The motive behind HST was to gain increased revenue from HST and thereby reduce Personal and Corporate income taxes, this is designed to boost the Canadian Economy by lowering costs for small businesses and eventually lowering costs of individuals.
Due to the fact that the Canada Revenue Agency has the power to impose fines and penalties on corporations or individuals, this gives them an advantage when policing non-compliance. The Canada Revenue Agency has the ability to garnish bank accounts when individuals or corporations refuse to pay outstanding debt. Although this is an extreme measure, because of these actions many Canadians know about the authority the CRA holds, and this reduces non-compliance.
Being one of the largest Government of Canada organizations, the Canada Revenue Agency has a high public image to uphold. Citizens expect world class quality, services and performance from the CRA, therefore a small mistake by the agency could result in a large public exclaim. Since the CRA already has a negative image among some Canadians they have to work extra hard to gain the trust of individuals and improve there reputation.
The Canada Revenue Agency has service standards such as processing returns with 3-4 weeks and processing E-Filed returns within 2 weeks, they must strive to meet these standards. Consequently if these are not met, Canadians will not be happy and this will have an adverse affect on the CRA's social image.
The Canada Revenue Agency does not have any competition threats within Canada but Canadians will compare the services they receive from the CRA with other countries around the world to judge if the Government of Canada is upholding a high standard like the rest of the world. In order for the CRA to remain competitive they must provide Canadians with world-class service and implement new services such as wireless filing (much like the IRD and Skatteverket in Sweden) and other systems which will make filing/payment for efficient and convenient. The CRA should use other world-class taxation authorities around the world as a benchmark to keep improving upon them.
The Canada Revenue Agency will be heavily affected by a slowdown in the Canadian and world economy, this is because when the economy slows down, Canadian businesses are greatly affected, this results in increased non-compliance because corporations, businesses and individuals are not making the same type of income they were post-recession, thereby resulting in them defaulting on payments. A recession also results in Canadians reducing discretionary spending, thereby reducing profits for businesses that in turn have corporate income tax and GST debts still payable to CRA.
The Canada Revenue Agency has to abide by the Canadian Privacy Act, if for any reason this act is breached; taxpayers could take legal action against the Government of Canada. The CRA deals with highly sensitive and private information such as social insurance numbers, income amounts, etc. It is their duty to ensure this information stays private and does not get leaked or into the wrong hands.
The principal strategy of the Canada Revenue Agency is to contribute to the well being of Canadians by providing world-class tax and benefit administration that is responsive, effective and trusted (CRA Website). This strategy can be achieved by creating trust within taxpayers and constantly improving upon the organization through goal setting, performance evaluation and initiating corrective adjustments. The process the Canada Revenue Agency uses for crafting and executing their strategy is as follows:
Develop a strategic vision: The Canada Revenue Agency's strategic vision would be the statement of where they would like to be in the future. The Agencies vision is to "provide unparallel service and value to its clients, and offer their employees outstanding career opportunities"
Setting Objectives: The Canada Revenue Agency sets goals/objectives to measure performance. One such example of this would be the goal of 90% Remittance and Filing compliance for outstanding returns and debts.
Implementing and Executing the chosen strategy: The Canada Revenue Agency has chosen to implement and execute their strategy by the following methods:
Staffing the organization to gather the needed skills and expertise
Promoting continuous improvement in how activities are executed
Tying rewards and incentives directly to the achievement of performance objectives, referred to as pay for performance.
Transcending the strategy to all members of the organization to create a shared goal and vision while creating awareness of the organizations values of Integrity, Professionalism, Respect and Co-operation.
Evaluating Performance and initiating corrective adjustments: This final stage of achieving the strategy involves monitoring progress and taking corrective adjustments. The adjustments are usually decided as a group and are thoroughly evaluated to understand if they are needed and their outcome. Sometimes a simple fine-tuning of the organization strategy is all that is needed to keep everything on track.
Other Key Strategies that the Canada Revenue Agency implements include:
-Improving the Efficiency of Current Operations: Improving efficiency by the means of bi-monthly performance evaluations, to give employees an idea of how they are performing, and what areas they can improve on. Focus on team-work and cooperation to encourage new ideas and improve efficiency.
-Strengthen and Further Develop Online Services- By increasing development in online services, the Canada Revenue Agency can improve efficiency by reducing workload for employees allowing them to concentrate on further development of the organization. Improving online services can also improve client satisfaction by reducing turn over times for returns, refunds and benefit programs.
-Strengthen Relationships with Clients- Creating greater client satisfaction can be achieved indirectly through improved services, faster turnaround times and shortening customer wait times at Tax Service offices and Tax centers. A direct approach to improving customer relationships may not be possible due to the fact that the Canada Revenue Agency has more than 33 million clients.
Key Managers: Canada Revenue Agency
Minister of National Revenue: Keith Ashfield (See Key Management Profiles in Appendix)
Commissioner- Chief Executive Officer: Linda Lizotte-MacPherson (See Key Management Profiles in Appendix)
Deputy Commissioner of Canada Revenue Agency: Lyse Ricard (See Key Management Profiles in Appendix)
DESCRIPTION OF THE POSITION FILLED
Call Center Agent: As a Call Center Agent for the Canada Revenue Agency, my job consisted of the following duties*:
Conducting interviews by telephone to gather and verify information, request and negotiate payment of outstanding amounts within specific parameters, request missing returns and provide a legal warning to taxpayers.
Initiate changes to correct errors identified on taxpayer accounts
Verbally respond to telephone enquiries pertaining to system-generated letters and provide general collection and compliance information
Review information available on Agency systems and conduct private sector database searches from inside the office to locate taxpayers, taxpayer information and telephone contact numbers.
Gather and verify taxpayer contact information, recovery sources and other relevant information and input data on to Agency electronic diaries.
Refer unresolved accounts, or accounts meeting a predetermined criterion to other staff within the Agency.
*As stated in Canada Revenue Agency Work Description
Initial Role and Objectives
The initial role that I performed at the Canada Revenue Agency was working with the Debt Management Department as a Call Center Agent in the Ottawa Technology Center. This position involved a diverse set of responsibilities and skills and the job included an extensive training period of three weeks. The training was divided into two main parts; the first 1.5 weeks involved soft-skill training. In the first half of the training we studied the Canada Revenue Agency policy and procedure manual. A thorough understanding of organization regulations was required for this job as knowledge of legislation, policies and procedures which have been produced by the Accounts Receivable Division was necessary to handle taxpayers, make payment arrangements and transfer accounts to different Agency department. In the second half of the training we worked on technical training. This involved learning the software platform that we would be using and some hands on experience. The main software program used in the Debt Management department is "Heron". This software would be used to access client taxation and contact information. Likewise in second half of the training hands on experience was used by allowing the trainee's to take practice calls to taxpayers as well as sitting in with senior call center agents to get an idea of how we would be required to handle calls.
This extensive 3 week training provided me with a solid understanding of my job duties and gave me the requisite experience and skills that were needed to perform this job. The following responsibilities and skills were developed during our 3 week training program and further over the summer:
Planning skills- work activities that were assigned to me by my team leader required careful planning to meet the prescribed deadlines. I was required to develop strategies to efficiently search and interpret client information.
Analysis and Problem Solving Skills- This skill set was development through the analysis of taxpayer history and account information. Problem solving was required when taxpayers could not be contacted and it was the intern's duty to use office resources to located addresses, telephone numbers, income sources and other financial information.
Decision Making- My job as a Call Center Agent required me to make decisions relating to correcting misallocated payments and also with regards to receiving payments from taxpayers for outstanding debt. My duties also required me to transfer accounts to different Agency departments if prescribed guidelines had not been met.
Communication skills- Communication skills were developed in many ways such as through resolving complaints or responding to enquiries with taxpayers. Furthermore speaking with the technical support department (referred to as the Quality Service Team-QST) and describing taxpayer accounts and obtaining information on how to resolve the account. One of the main communication tools that we used as well was Diary Entries in taxpayer accounts regarding what we had talked about also required well developed communication skills to be performed effectively.
Other Objectives of my position as a Call Center Agent was to maintain efficiency. This was measured bi-monthly by each Agents "True-Calls Per Hour-TCPH". This was a measure of how many calls each Agent was able to answer/make per hour. The Canada Revenue Agency had a service standard of around 18 TCPH. Call center employees were given weekly statistics of the average calls per hour the Debt-Management department was achieving to allow for comparison with the TCPH they were making. This allowed employees to stay efficient and set goals for themselves.
Overall, my role as a Call Center Agent at the Debt Management Department allowed me to see how information flows from Department to Department, and understand the efforts that the Canada Revenue Agency takes with their taxpayers. It also provided me with an insight of what each department within the organization does and why they are important.
Internship Reporting Responsibility
Over the course of my internship at the Canada Revenue Agency I was required to report to the following staff members:
Anita Carroll, Team Leader- Debt Management Department (Canada Revenue Agency)
Debbie Brereton, Student Coordinator- Debt Management Department (Canada Revenue Agency)
Grace Hashimoto, Manager- Debt Management Call Center (Canada Revenue Agency)
Throughout my Internship I worked with Debbie Brereton on many occasions. She was the staff member who assisted in the interviewing process, and who hired me. She was also the person who contacted me to fill out employment documents and informed me of student events that the Canada Revenue Agency was organizing. Debbie also helped me understand how the CRA's competency based hiring works and guided me in the right direction when I wanted to take internal testing to obtain higher level competencies.
My team leader, Anita Carroll played a large role in my internship experience. Anita was the one who I reported to for the day to day activities I performed and she was my main contact if I had any questions regarding my job, time off and technical problems. Anita was also responsible for holding team meetings and advising me if I was on-track after reviewing my bi-monthly performance appraisals. Throughout my 4-month work term, Anita was very helpful and always made herself available to answer questions that I had.
During my internship I indirectly reported to Grace Hashimoto; she was the manager of the Debt Management Call Center. Grace spoke with all the students at the beginning of the summer and advised us of the goals of the department and what was expected of us. She was also a speaker at the mid-summer student networking event and advised the students of how beneficial the experience we were getting would be in our future career.
Purpose of the Internship
There are many reasons why I decided to pursue an internship with the University of Ontario and through the Canada Revenue Agency. Outlined below are a few of the reasons that guided me in making my decision:
Apply Classroom concepts to the challenges of organizational life: Over my past 3- years at the University of Ontario I have learned many different concepts and technical skills that professors advised us we would deal with on a day-to-day basis once we began a career. Doing an internship at one of the largest Agencies within the Government of Canada gave me a glimpse at how these concepts would be used in the workplace and why they were so important.
To Gain Valuable and Relevant work Experience: One of the main deciding factors for me was the fact that doing an internship would give me excellent work experience while also allowing me to gain valuable contacts within the Government of Canada. Gaining hands on experience which I could not have learned in a classroom was also another advantage. Having the ability to say on a resume and in an interview that I did an internship with the Government of Canada would also give me an advantage in today's competitive job market.
To have an Edge in today's Job Market: Currently many jobs are looking for work experience. This is sometimes just as important as your qualifications. Doing an internship allowed me to give myself an Edge in the job market by gaining valuable experience that is within my field of study.
Decide if this organization is right for me: Doing an internship at the Canada Revenue Agency gave me a good idea what it would be like to have a full-time career with this organization. I have had the chance to experience company polices and values, as well as the type of people that work within the organization.
Gain Confidence- I realized that gaining work experience is an excellent means of building confidence. The development of my resume that resulted from my internship this summer translates into increased confidence that employers look for when hiring new employees.
Transition into a Job: Employers usually train interns with the idea that they will be potential future employees as in many situations people who finish their internship usually continue to work with the same employer. Having been trained by the Canada Revenue Agency, this gives me an advantage when applying to future jobs as I will already be familiar with Agency procedures and policies unlike an inexperience applicant.
The Skills Expected from me as a student intern:
-Knowledge of legislation and the Canadian Income Tax Act
-Knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook
- Ability to communicate effectively with taxpayers, team leaders and managers
- Knowledge of Agency security and polices to deal with sensitive/confidential information
-Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work loads
-Knowledge of techniques and practices associated with collecting debt
- Ability to work alone when needed with minimum supervision
EVALUATION OF INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE
The Skills that were employed during the internship
-Knowledge of legislation and the Canadian Income Tax Act- I was expected to have a reasonable knowledge of legislation which we were thought in our initial three week training period. This was important as Canadian taxpayers are required to abide by the Income Tax Act, therefore our knowledge of this was important to enforce taxation laws.
-Knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook: As a student intern I was required to have basic knowledge with these three programs. These were used on a day-to-day basis, Microsoft Outlook was used to schedule team meetings, and get in contact with Managers regarding any questions or problems I had. Microsoft Excel was also used extensively as our daily time slips were sent with this program and we used this for other various interest calculation methods when arranging on outstanding debts and working out long-term payment plans. We also used the calculation functions on excel to calculate the number of days taxpayers had to pay outstanding debts or file outstanding returns. If I was not proficient with these programs, my job would have been much more difficult and time consuming.
-Ability to communicate effectively with Taxpayers, Team leaders and Managers: The ability to communicate effectively was one of the main duties of my job. Being a Call Center Agent involved me making calls to taxpayers or receiving calls from them and effectively communicating the issues on their account. My verbal and written communication skills were also essential when speaking with my Team leader and Managers whether it was to obtain guidance or to simply ask them a question. Other examples of how communication skills were employed would be through communication to technical support employees and Tax Services Office employees to provide or obtain information that was required to resolve complaints or account problems. Overall my communication skills were greatly developed throughout my job this summer as I learned to communicate with such a wide array of people.
- Knowledge of Agency security and polices to deal with sensitive/confidential information: My internship required me to deal with highly confidential information. This ranged from taxpayers social insurance numbers, bank account information, salary amounts to less confidential information such as addresses & phone numbers. It was my duty to maintain confidentially and also follow the Privacy Act. This required me to perform highly specific security checks before speaking with anyone regarding an account. For example, every account I opened I would be required to ask taxpayers the name of their business, complete address, phone number and their position. If any one of these answers were answered incorrectly, an additional two questions would need to be answered correctly.
-Ability to plan, organize and prioritize workloads: This skill was extremely important for me to efficiently perform this job. Due to the large workload I was given to manage, I was required to set specific goals for myself to ensure I would meet the expectations of my Team Leaders and Managers. I was also required to meet a specific number of calls per hour, referred to as the True Calls per hour (TCPH), in order to efficiently meet this requirement I designed a system in which I had made a template on Microsoft Word with the required information that I had to ask each taxpayer and during each call I used this template and filled in information. This allowed me to do two things, firstly ensure that I had not missed out any key information, and secondly it allowed me to reduce time because I could copy and paste this Diary Entry onto the Heron Computer Software after a call.
- Knowledge of techniques and practices associated with collecting debt: This skill was mostly developed in our training. Techniques and practices of collecting debt was something I was not familiar with before my internship but over my work term this skill was developed greatly and very important. This skill was very helpful as asking taxpayers for money is not an easy task. We were thought numerous techniques, one example being asking taxpayers the question "Will you be able to pay that today?" The trigger word "Today" is meant to take control of the call and indirectly inform taxpayers that this was a very serious matter.
-Ability to work alone when needed with minimum supervision: Although my job required me to be able to work in a team environment, it also required me to be able to work alone when it was needed. The way the Debt Management Call Center is structured employees do spend quite of bit of the day working alone. This is because making calls to Taxpayers does not require a group effort. I felt developing the ability to work alone is just as important as team work skills. Working alone gave me the opportunity to make informed decisions by myself and put a lot more control in my hands. Making decisions by myself was a difficult task towards the beginning of the summer but over time I was able to thoroughly evaluate different decisions and come up with the most beneficial outcome, this also helped build up my confidence.
Results of the Internship Experience
Tasks that were completed at the Canada Revenue Agency
Analysis of Taxpayer history and account information on Agency Systems (Heron Software)
Update Taxpayer Account and personal information on Agency Systems
Transfer misallocated payments from one year end to another
Accept Payment arrangements within set guidelines
Transfer Accounts to Tax Services Office (TSO) staff
Attend and Participate in Team Meetings
Enhance learning through CRA Competency testing
Create written diary entries to record information obtained from taxpayer interviews
Provide Taxpayers with information regarding how to file GST and Corporate T2 Tax returns and inform them of upcoming due dates.
Skills and Abilities Developed
After working at the Canada Revenue Agency as an intern, I have greatly developed my Time Management Skills. I have always felt that I had good time management skills, but now that I have completed my internship I find myself being able to budget my time throughout the day much more effectively and reducing the amount of time I waste. One of the reasons I can do this is because during my internship, employees in the Debt Management Department had to work under a very strict timeline. All activities from the time we log into our computer in the morning to the time we log off at lunch are timed and recorded. This is required for the purpose of measuring how many calls have been taken per hour by the agent.
Development of Human Relations skills- Because I was dealing with people from different cultures and from geographic locations all over Canada, I learned how to deal with all kinds of people and I gained an understanding of how different people react to different situations. I also experience many different types of personalities from jovial to serious and I learned how to deal with all of these people. Furthermore I developed my Human Relations skills by interacting with the members of my team and others within my office.
Over the course of my job I developed my Customer Service Skills, since this was one of the first jobs I had that required such an extensive amount of customer/client interaction I learned a lot of information that I had not known before. I was placed with many difficult situations that I had never experienced before such as dealing with an angry or upset Taxpayer. This allowed me to put into practice the training that I received with regards to Customer Service. I used tactics such as acting calm and reassuring the taxpayers to try and calm them down to work out the problem. If these tactics did not work I was required to explain to the customer that if they were still not happy with the situation that I could refer them to a higher level department.
Confidence in Business Communications- Over the course of my internship, my ability to communicate with confidently