Canada Revenue Agency

The amount of Federal taxes owed by a taxpayer is established by the Income Tax Act and each taxation year, under the Act, taxpayers are required to file an income tax return. The established due date for individuals to file their tax returns is April 30th of each year

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is one of three federal departments involved in the workings of the tax system and is responsible for administering the Act and collecting the taxes owed by Canadian taxpayers.

The Finance Department is the government ministry responsible for drafting and revising the Income Tax Act.

The Department of Justice handles any ensuing litigation when legal disputes arise with the taxpayer.

The CRA uses a self assessment and self reporting tax system which means that the taxpayer is responsible for calculating his income and then reporting the results to the government.

The CRA is also a very valuable source of information regarding taxes, your account, GST, child tax credits ,etc. They can be reached by internet or by telephone.

The Income tax laws are always being revised and as such there often arises different interpretations of the changes.Thus tax practitioners must take the Act into consideration along with the regulations and administrative guidelines whenever they prepare a client's tax return or advise clients on tax planning initiatives.

As a taxpayer, you should be aware that the information you get from the CRA is solely to enable you to pay your taxes.

The primary responsibility of the CRA is to collect taxes.

This does not always work in your favour as a taxpayer and the consequences can sometimes be devastating. Because of the very deep pockets of the CRA, most taxpayers do not have the resources to keep fighting.

Some taxpayers have even been bankrupted by CRA decisions. In many cases, even when the taxpayer wins,she loses.

In recent years some measures have been made to address CRA aggressive behaviour with the introduction of an Ombudsman and an acknowledgement of Tax Payers' Rights However, in actual practice these measures do not make the CRA more accountable and may not be very effective, despite what you might read on paper.

Today's tax payer would be wise to take more responsibility of his own tax situation with help from professionals as the need arises.

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