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.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) shuttered its local inquiry and payment desks last October. The agency has abandoned the practice of mailing hard-copy tax return packages except by specific request. The Telefile system, which allowed Canadians with simple returns to enter their data over the telephone, no longer exists. In case you haven't gotten the hint, the CRA wants to deal with you online.
So you filed your income tax return with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) well in advance of the April 30 deadline. Everything went without a hitch and you have a refund cheque in your hands, or directly deposited in your bank account. Free and clear until next year, right? Not quite. In fact, the tax return process has just begun at this point. It's not over until the CRA has finished its slip-matching program during the next few months.
No matter how many politicians in Ottawa may prefer to settle cases, the hired guns at the Department of Justice don't seem to have been copied on that memo. Their mandate is to litigate, and their client -- the CRA -- has infinitely deep pockets. So there is no reason to settle, and no reason to refrain from motions and appeals, regardless of how many lawyer-hours are spent.
No politician or citizen stands above the law, and each citizen must pay income taxes. When the lawmakers fail to follow their own regulations, citizens should demand better. In order to take parliamentary suggestions and regulations on tax avoidance and evasion seriously, citizens should feel confident that their MPs, first and foremost, are following the rules.
Last week, Canadian Mennonite magazine revealed that it had been threatened by the government. A Canada Revenue audit team the magazine that it could lose its charitable status because of what it published. CRA found some 2011 articles to be in violation of the Income Tax Act which forbids "the direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, any political party or candidate for public office." Where is this taking Canada? Will we be a nation without dissent, without criticism, without discourse? A nation where even the most well-meaning and well-respected charities must keep silent on everything or risk the wrath of government?
Recent developments with regards to overseas tax evasion, as well as the broader issue of the management of operations at the Canada Revenue Agency, have come at an opportune time. Prime Minister Harper's recent changes in the senior ranks of the public service have created an opening at the top of CRA, representing a golden opportunity to revitalize the troubled Agency.
A Hindu temple has been fined $301,869 by the Canada Revenue Agency for sending money to "non-qualified donees," which include a group th...
On a day when many were celebrating the 30th anniversary of the signing of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Stephen Harper's government announced legislation that will drastically reduce the number of regulatory agencies that exist to protect the environment in which individual Canadians enjoy their rights and freedoms.