All About the CRA
Most tax payers just accept the fact that the CRA is the government body that is responsible for the Canadian tax system and don’t give it any more thought than that. Newcomers to Canada, or those who were students and now have entered the working world begin their first experience with this governmental department.
To understand them a little better it is interesting to look at their history.
To begin with while their main function is to oversee our tax system by enforcing the rules and regulations and collecting taxes, they also perform some other government related functions. For example, they oversee charities that need to be registered. Previously they were called the CCRA which stands for Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. In 2003 this was changed to the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) because the customs sector of the department was split off into a separate entity. Prior to the CCRA it was called the Department of National Revenue.
As with any government department there is always a head of it and in the case of the CRA it is the commissioner and CEO, who also head the Board of management that is made up of several members which several of them are nominated from the various provinces.
Moving down the internal ladder, there are many different employees that work in the various departments. There are many different segments and levels within the department. The head Office is situated in Ottawa, and throughout the country there are many satellite offices.
There are many different processes and mandates to follow when one has a discrepancy with the tax department, most of which all come under specific departments to handle each level of the dispute.
In the past some people were worried that if they had a contention with a final ruling at any level of the CRA there was no outside unbiased department that they could turn to. There is always the Canada tax courts, where tax issues that cannot be resolved can be brought before. In addition there is the taxpayer Ombudsman.
While having a basic understanding of how the CRA came about and their responsibilities and level of authority the tax department is a complex one. This is one of the reasons why many people choose to use the services of experienced accountants to assist them both with their tax filing obligations and any challenges they pose or receive from this area of government.