What is Happening at CRA?

Things are entering the new reality phase

The CRA is resuming a full range of audit work and adapting  practices to address to the new C-19 world.

CRA is paying attention to taxpayer’s need to advance their work on –  in progress audits. To prioritize CRA is focusing on the higher dollar audits first, files that are close to completion and those with strategic importance to the Government of Canada.  The CRA’s dispute resolution and taxpayer relief programs have resumed operations on a priority basis. They are currently contacting taxpayers who have filed objections, CPP/EI appeals to the Minister, or applied for relief of penalties and interest.  Objections related to Canadians’ entitlement to benefits and credits have been identified as a critical service and will continue to be delivered during COVID-19.  CRA is also increasing its activities in combatting suspected fraud and other criminal activity.

In addition, the CRA has started working on the post-payment audit program for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). Audits under this program began this summer and are ongoing. CRA will focus on CEWS applications made for periods one to four. Risk assessment tools and random samplings will be used to select a range of files for this phase of the audit program. The CRA will use results from this phase to identify types and levels of non-compliance with CEWS legislation. These findings will be used to inform future CEWS audit strategies which will be launched in the fall of 2020. It is important to note that the CRA is looking to detect and address instances of deliberate non-compliance.

CRA has commenced action on:

  • Calling those who may owe in order to pursue payment arrangements.
  • Reconnecting with those who may owe to re-evaluate their financial situation, discuss payment options, and offer a payment arrangement where possible.
  • Contacting certain taxpayers to help them meet their tax obligations.
  • Contacting clients for clarification or supporting documents related to their tax and benefit return.

All in all, the Sleeping Giant is awakening and getting back to work, albeit with a lot of changes in terms of how the CRA machine operates.  A major convenience is that CRA now offers the opportunity to move from faxes to emails. Wow! That is fantastic, because using a stone age fax machine to communicate with them is a royal pain. CRA was the remaining holdout on us even needing a fax machine.  My guess is the killer reason to accept emails instead of requiring fax machines is to allow their own workers to communicate from home instead of needing countless fax machines and fax lines for each worker operating from their home.

My joke of the day is –    Q: How do you turn a fax machine into a tax machine? A: You take the F off. (Sorry, I could not help myself)

There will be new procedures and protocols to adapt the new reality. To me this is just stuff that CRA should have done a long time ago.

Improvements to CRA operations are indeed good news. This is proof that it is  an ill wind that blows no good.



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