CRA agreement allows for member input

This blog post discusses the new CPA Canada/CRA agreement aimed at improving the tax system and asks, what do you expect can be achieved through this new relationship?

CPA Canada’s new agreement with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will give CPAs greater input into how the administration of Canada’s tax system can be improved. The agreement formalizes a framework for continuous engagement and closer collaboration between the agency and Canada’s accounting profession to ensure a more effective and efficient regime.

The CRA and CPA Canada will work together to address issues raised by either party. CRA will decide on the manner in which an issue will be dealt with. Success will be measured in terms of the framework’s effectiveness in advancing and resolving issues, raising levels of compliance, and reducing the administrative burden for all stakeholders.

Members can contribute

CPA Canada members will be advised of new developments and achievements as they occur.  All of our members can contribute to the process by bringing to my attention tax administration issues that they believe are of systemic national importance.

We’re always interested in hearing from those wishing to volunteer to advance CPA Canada’s tax initiatives. Please email me a brief CV and your area of interest. While there are no specific openings for volunteers on our committees at this time, they do arise so it is helpful to know that you are interested.

Seven joint committees

Under the new framework, CRA-CPA committees will focus on:

1. Services – returns, publications, electronic services and non-audit compliance programs
2. Compliance – tax audits, dispute resolution and general risk assessment tools
3. Tax administration – technical issues, administrative or other fixes, technical information
4. Scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) – audits, disputes and administrative policies
5. Commodity tax – claims processing, audit processes, technical issues and fixes, technical information
6. Red tape reduction – clarity, redundant information and processes, availability and timeliness of information and communication with taxpayers
7. Training and learning – improving CRA auditor training programs

The committees are required to meet regularly and document the meetings’ results. An overarching steering committee comprised of senior CRA staff and me as CPA Canada’s vice president of Tax will provide high-level guidance and direction to these committees. The steering committee will also provide regular progress reports to the CRA Commissioner and CPA Canada president and CEO. You can download my presentation for more details.

Progress already being made

Some of these new committees are already making a difference:

•    Members of CPA Canada’s Small and Medium Practitioners Committee are working with the CRA’s Small and Medium Enterprises Directorate to fix problems related to the current deadlines for T1 and T3 reporting (see my previous blog).
•    CPA Canada’s first national SR&ED Symposium, coming to Toronto on February 5–6, 2015, evolved out of collaboration between members of CPA Canada’s SR&ED Committee and the CRA’s SR&ED division.

Keep the conversation going

Post a comment below. Which issues do you think could be addressed and resolved through the framework? What are your expectations on what we can achieve through this new relationship?

CPA Canada’s Tax Blog
is designed to create an exchange of ideas on tax policy and practice developments and issues, and their impact on Canadian accountants who practise tax. Comments received can provide helpful input to the public interest advocacy positions developed by CPA Canada.

About the Author

Gabe Hayos, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D

Vice-president, Taxation, CPA Canada