Departmental Plan 2017-18
A message from the Minister
"Canada is taking an active role in ensuring a fairer tax system, where tax cheats face consequences for their actions. This government has promised to pursue tax cheats and, with the help of our international partners and concrete action at home, I can say that we are closing in on them."
Our 2017-18 Departmental Plan provides parliamentarians and Canadians with information on what we do and the results we are trying to achieve during the upcoming year. To improve reporting to Canadians, we are introducing a new, simplified report to replace the Report on Plans and Priorities.
The title of the report has been changed to reflect its purpose: to communicate our annual performance goals and the financial and human resources forecast to deliver those results. The report has also been restructured to tell a clearer, more straightforward and balanced story of the actual results we are trying to achieve, while continuing to provide transparency on how taxpayers' dollars will be spent. We describe our programs and services for Canadians, our priorities for 2017-18, and how our work will fulfill our departmental mandate commitments and the government's priorities.
I am honoured to lead the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as the Minister of National Revenue and am proud of all we have accomplished since my appointment in November 2015. I have been working closely with CRA officials to deliver on our government's priorities, including improving service to Canadians, modernizing the rules for charities, and strengthening efforts to tackle tax evasion. This Departmental Plan describes how we intend to continue to make these commitments a reality.
Canadians deserve high-quality services, delivered in a way that makes them feel respected and valued. This is why the Government of Canada is dedicated to improving all its service offerings to ensure tax fairness for the middle class and making the CRA an agency that is more client-focused. More Canadians than ever before are filing their returns electronically and, as the CRA continues to expand and enhance its digital services, I am confident the number of Canadians filing electronically will continue to grow. The CRA will therefore continue to support Canadians who want to file their tax and benefit returns without using paper forms.
The government recognizes the importance of small businesses in creating jobs and supporting the economy. Planned initiatives include a dedicated telephone support line for tax service providers, giving them greater access to CRA information to the benefit of the millions of clients they serve. The Serving You Better consultations that were held at the end of 2016 highlight the government's commitment to take into consideration the points of view of stakeholders and adapt government services to their needs. These consultations are a forum for small and medium businesses and professional accountants to share valuable insights that the CRA can use to make its programs and services more streamlined and client-focused. The CRA will continue its efforts to improve the structure, design, language and format of written correspondence for businesses. To help support these businesses, I am committed to making the CRA a fairer and more service-oriented organization.
The Government of Canada provides many credits specifically designed to benefit lower-income Canadians. However, each year, a number of Canadians do not file a tax return, causing them to miss out on potential tax benefits. Given the importance of these benefits, especially for families with children, we will continue to help Canadians understand what benefits they may be eligible to receive, and help them receive the benefits they are eligible for. To this end, the CRA will increase engagement and support for community organizations and volunteers to make the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program available to taxpayers who qualify. The CRA will also continue to reach out to Indigenous people to ensure they are aware of, and apply for, the benefits to which they are entitled. The CRA proudly supports the program by providing local coordinators, training, tax software, and support to assist volunteers in the preparation of simple, straightforward returns.
It is important that charities be allowed to bring their vast experience to the formulation of public policy and the continuing well-being of Canadians. I have called on our partners in the charitable sector to participate in the CRA's consultation process to further clarify the rules about registered charities' political activities. I look forward to the results, which will inform the CRA's efforts to provide updated policy guidance and other educational resources on this subject.
The vast majority of Canadians pay their fair share of taxes and do so on time, but a small minority hide their income and assets in order to get out of paying what they owe. This has to change in order to ensure a tax system that is fair to all Canadians. Investments detailed in Budget 2016 demonstrate the Government of Canada's commitment to cracking down on tax cheats and those who choose to participate in tax schemes, including those who hide assets abroad and fail to declare offshore income, and to improving the CRA's ability to collect outstanding tax debts. The CRA and I are determined to find those who fail to declare their income and pay their fair share of taxes, and collect what is owed.
With this plan, the CRA is well placed to support and deliver on the government's priorities over the next three years. As the Minister of National Revenue, I am very proud to present the 2017-18 Departmental Plan for the Canada Revenue Agency.
The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, P.C., M.P.
Minister of National Revenue
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