with the activities of its charities section having been so thoroughly politicized by the Harper government, we can no longer call the CRA an effective instrument of public policy. Its campaign of vexatious audits of the political activities of progressive charities represents has created a chill in political dissent, and is a new low even for the Conservative regime.
Not terrorists, white-collar crooks, or climate change -- it seems the real threat to Canadian society hides behind a much friendlier face: charities. Or to be more specific, charities critical of the Canadian government. This week it was made public that the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) is auditing PEN Canada for its "political activities." In 2012, the Canadian government earmarked $8 million of the CRA's budget for auditing political activities, and then upped that amount again to $13 million. In a time of austerity, there is still a plenty of money to go after enemies of our federal government.
The CCF assisted a taxpayer named Irvin Leroux in getting a decision from the B.C. Supreme Court, holding that Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) owed him a duty of care and breached its duty towards him. This was a precedent-setting ruling: never before had the CRA been told by any court that it had a duty towards individual taxpayers to treat them with care, and not to be negligent towards them.
Of all the milestones in your life, filing your first income tax return probably isn't the one you look forward to most. It's no wonder. But since it can't legally be avoided, being prepared for the experience and understanding what you're getting into can make your first time with the Canada Revenue Agency less intimidating.