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What is Going On Behind the Closed Doors of the CRA

CRA behind closed doors what is going on?
As we all know when it comes to the Government including the CRA, what is said behind closed doors is usually far different than what is said to the general public.

 

We also know that there has been a big uproar about the huge amount of tax evasion throughout Canada that took place regarding offshore accounts. You may recall that our Government’s response was they were basically going to be aggressive and pro active in recouping a lot of the lost tax revenue. So far there hasn’t been much heard on that issue. However, it is clear that the tax department would most definitely need a large and experienced task force of auditors to accomplish that go.

 

Now another thing that many of us knew was coming was some significant changes in the CRA and any news releases about these changes seemed to be positive ones, but were we really getting the true story? Perhaps this bit of news that has just appeared in the Financial Post will shed some new light on this.

 

“Canada Revenue Agency looking to cut auditors despite rise in tax-haven cases
OTTAWA — The Canada Revenue Agency is planning to cut auditors at the same time it acknowledges difficulty in tracking and collecting billions of dollars in unreported income from domestic and international tax evasion.

 

Briefing books prepared for new Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay, and obtained by Postmedia News under access to information legislation, also suggest Prime Minister Stephen Harper is contemplating a major policy change at the CRA in 2015 that poses a “risk area” to the agency.

 

The briefing materials also explain a handful of “systemic issues” were being reviewed by the CRA, including “taxpayers wrongfully declared deceased.”

 

Planned cuts to auditors at the CRA come as the auditor general warned in November the agency is unprepared to investigate the growing amount of information it is receiving on international tax evasion and Canadians with potential offshore accounts.

 

A letter labelled “secret” from Andrew Treusch, the commissioner and chief executive of the CRA, to Ms. Findlay highlights federal government budget cuts and the expected impacts on the agency. Federal spending cuts from the 2012 and 2013 budgets mean the CRA must cut approximately $313-million annually and more than 3,100 full-time positions by 2017-18….continue reading

 

Summary:
This little bit of news clearly shows that when we were told there would be no cut in auditors this was not necessarily true. It is mind boggling trying to figure out how the CRA expects to do so much more with less people. Does this mean that the average and honest Canada tax payer will just simply have to pick up the tab for the lost tax revenue?

 

Some of you that are a year or two behind in your taxes may have received a call from the CRA during December demanding tax payment. It seems like there was a real push on to collect taxes, and rightly so. If an individual is behind in their taxes they have the responsibility to pay. At the same time that the collectors were avidly seeking these most likely small amounts of $3,000 or even $5,000, how many of the big tax evaders received phone calls? Well at least if the little guy pays up then the CRA can boast of their success in collection of delinquent taxes.

 

Rather than get caught up in all of this personally, let us help you here as your Toronto Accountant get caught up and in good standing with your taxes.

 

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Sam Seidman, CPA, CA, LPA
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Email: sam@torontoaccountant.ca

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