A message from the Minister

Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, P.C., M.P.
Minister of National Revenue

Since my appointment in 2015 as Minister of National Revenue, I have been proud to serve Canadians by fulfilling the mandate I received from the Prime Minister. I am committed to treating Canadians as valued clients, and to ensuring tax fairness, to support the activities of the Government of Canada. 

I am especially proud of our initiatives this year to offer help to those who need it. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) supports people who struggle to complete their tax return. For instance, we help people in person through the  Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), and its offer of free tax clinics to vulnerable Canadians. We are also working hard to reach Canadians who might not be receiving the tax credits or benefits to which they are entitled. Budget 2018 includes the CRA's plans to expand Agency outreach and the CVITP.

We also help Canadians by continuing to modernize our digital services to serve individuals and businesses, with more automation of individual and business tax return filing, and more online interaction with taxpayers. Examples include the ReFILE service to adjust previous returns, enhancements to the Auto-fill my return service, the Express NOA (notice of assessment) and the CRA BizApp. 

The CRA used recommendations from Serving You Better consultations and round tables with northern residents to inform the development of the Northern Service Improvement Strategy. In August 2018, as part of the strategy, I announced that the Agency would open three new Northern Service Centres in the territorial capitals of Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit prior to the 2019 tax season. These centres will better support territorial residents, Indigenous communities, and businesses.

This year, we also launched a new automated telephone service, File my Return: Canadians with low income or a fixed income that is unchanged from year to year simply provide answers to a few questions the automated service asks. All the deductions, benefits, and credits for which they are eligible are taken into account, and they do not need to fill in paper forms or perform calculations.

The CRA also continued to simplify correspondence this year to make it easier to understand. We still have work to do on our telephone services, which the Auditor General of Canada examined this year and recommended we improve: we are focusing on real solutions to better serve the Canadians who call us.

We are committed to continuing to improve services to Canadians as valued clients; to this end, I supported appointing the CRA's first Chief Service Officer, as well as a Chief Data Officer to oversee a coordinated approach to CRA data.

My mandate includes measures to ensure fairness in the tax system by preventing tax evasion. After the government's allocation of additional funding in budgets 2016 and 2017, the CRA increased audit and investigation capacity by hiring more specialists and improving risk assessment processes. Increasing collaboration with national and international stakeholders and tax administrations has also made a difference. As an example, the CRA now reviews all international electronic funds transfers over $10,000 and is focusing on high‑net‑worth taxpayers to ensure they pay their fair share.

Finally, regarding another mandated responsibility, I received the Panel Report on the public consultations on charities and political activities in March 2017. We continue to study its findings within the CRA, in collaboration with other government departments. The CRA's approach is to offer charities the tools they require, and to keep them informed. We are committed to ensuring they are not subjected to political harassment and to modernizing the rules that affect them. In October 2018, the CRA issued a further draft guidance document, Charities and public policy advocacy, for consultation. It provides general information on how the CRA would implement draft legislative proposals and administer rules governing the public policy advocacy activities of charities.

These and many other efforts by the employees of the CRA help make it a fair and responsive tax administration. I am happy to share their accomplishments and pleased to present the Departmental Results Report 2017-18.

Original signed

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, P.C., M.P.
Minister of National Revenue

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