Guide for External Service Standards

Commitment to Service Excellence

The Ministry of Finance is committed to providing high-quality, accessible services in tax and benefits administration for all Ontarians.

Our goal is to be recognized by our customers as a highly professional organization that keeps pace with the rising expectations of Ontarians for high-quality and cost-effective public services – while promoting predictability and transparency throughout the delivery process.

We will continue to identify areas for improvement in our service delivery process by looking for ways to create faster and more streamlined services.

Service standards are our commitment to provide a level of service that a customer can expect and a means to monitor our performance results. Results are publically reported annually.

Our Commitment to You

We strive to provide the following:

  • Quick and respectful service using clear language in our written and verbal communications.
  • Services available in both official languages, of equal quality and accessibility.
  • Unbiased and accurate information.
  • Applications and information requests processed in a timely manner.
  • Private and confidential treatment of your information.
  • A clear explanation of your file and how you can review or appeal our decisions.
  • Opportunities to voluntarily disclose your tax information.

Service Standards

Collections

We are responsible for collecting the revenue payable under the law so that the government is able to fund the programs and services that are a priority for the people of Ontario. Tax laws require taxpayers to meet their tax obligation and to pay their fair share.

If you fail to pay or remit your provincial taxes or penalties and interest in a timely manner and your account remains delinquent after notification, progressive collection action will be initiated. This could include garnishments and liens, and other methods of collecting. 

Once payments for all taxes, interest and penalties have been received, we will:

  • Release garnishments, warrants and discharge liens within 20 calendar days.

Objections

If you do not agree with an assessment, a refund disallowance, a determination of eligibility or an entitlement decision issued by the ministry you may have discussions with the appropriate ministry office to resolve issues about tax and program decisions. The letter or form you received from the ministry will include contact information.

If discussions do not resolve your issue, you have the right to file a Notice of Objection.

You can file a Notice of Objection online, or obtain a Notice of Objection form from the Ministry of Finance website or any ServiceOntario office.

Once a Notice of Objection has been filed, the ministry will conduct a timely, independent review of your objection, considering your reasons for disagreement and will:

  • Acknowledge receipt of Notice of Objection within 5 working days.
  • Resolve objections dealing with interest and penalties within 2 months from date of receipt.
  • Resolve objections not dealing with interest and penalties within 18 months from date of receipt. 

Account Administration


Account Adjustments

For all ministry programs, account adjustments can include corrections to keying errors and reposting any errors, such as a wrong date or the wrong amount or a change in information that could affect your entitlement. These adjustments will be made when all necessary information has been received:

  • Within 30 working days.

Registrations

For tax-specific programs we will complete registrations in the following time frames:

International Fuel Tax Agreement

  • In person – same day.
  • Mail (including fax) – within 15 working days from date request is received.

Motor Fuels and Tobacco Tax

  • Within 15 working days of receiving application and required security.

Other programs

  • Telephone – 1 working day.
  • Mail (including fax) – 15 working days.
  • In person – 1 working day.
  • Ontario Business Connects – contacted within 15 working days.

Refunds

We will provide you with a timely refund or equivalent credit for all overpayment of taxes, provided that you do not owe money under any other provincial tax statute.

When you make the request and are entitled to a refund, the following time frame will apply once all required information and documentation is received:

  • Within 40 working days.

Tax Roll Updates

For all ministry programs, when you advise us of changes in your personal or corporate information, we will make those changes within the following timelines:

  • In person and telephone – within 2 working days.
  • Mail, fax and ONT-TAXS online – within 15 working days from when the request is received.

Benefits – Guaranteed Annual Income Supplement (GAINS)

We will strive to deliver prompt and accurate payment of benefits and tax incentives to all eligible Ontarians, assist the vulnerable and promote targeted economic activity. Some of the core deliverables are program outreach, effective program eligibility adjudication, accurate entitlement determination and timely payment issuance. Our commitment is to:

  • Confirm entitlement within 50 calendar days of receipt of all required information.
  • Send your first benefit payment within 30 calendar days once eligibility is determined.

Tell Us What You Think

We are always looking for ways to improve our services. That’s why we value your input and feedback. Tell us what we are doing right and where we can improve our services.

How to Reach Us

For more information on our programs visit ontario.ca/finance, visit a ServiceOntario location in person, or call 1 866 ONT-TAXS (1 866 668-8297) to speak with a ministry representative or to schedule an appointment if you need to meet with a representative at one of our tax offices.

Cette publication est disponible en français sous le titre « Normes de service, ministère des Finances - Guide détaillé ». Vous pouvez en obtenir un exemplaire en appelant le 1 866 ONT-TAXS (1 866 668-8297) ou en visitant ontario.ca/finances.
ISBN: 978-1-4435-1773-7 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-4435-1775-1 (PDF)