Annually, most Canadians must complete an income tax return and submit it to the Canada Revenue Agency. However, many people may not know exactly who this agency is, what it does, or who heads it. Here’s a look at the basics.
Defining the CRA
The CRA is Canada’s tax and benefit administrative body. Through its actions, it aims to contribute to the well being of Canadian citizens and to improve the efficacy and efficiency of the government.
Additionally, the agency prides itself on providing unparalleled service to its clients, and as both a tax administrator and an employer, it strives to set an example for the rest of the world to follow.
Understanding the Role of the CRA
As Canada’s tax and benefit administrator, the CRA administers the tax laws for the Government of Canada as well as for most of its provinces and territories. It also administers various social and economic benefit programs that are organized through the tax system.
Essentially, the agency collects and processes tax payments and pursues tax filers who owe taxes. Its job is critical to the successful functioning of the country.
For example, in 2014 to 2015, the agency paid out almost $22 billion in benefit payments. It also processed over $469 billion in income tax and other types of tax payments such as payroll and GST/HST taxes. Finally, it collected or resolved $52 billion in outstanding tax debts.
The agency also oversees international trade legislation and the registration process for charities.
Understanding the CRA’s Values
Both the head of the CRA and the agency in general pride themselves on having strong values. In particular, the CRA claims to have integrity at its foundation. This means treating CRA clients and employees fairly, but also refers to applying the tax code evenly and fairly throughout Canada.
The agency also claims a commitment to professionalism, respect in dealing with all people, and co-operation. By valuing cooperation as strongly as it does, the CRA hopes it can build partnerships with the Canadian people, corporations, and others to move forward and to meet common goals together.