Service Improvement Request - Information the CRA Provides to Indigenous Peoples


The CRA has webpages and offers outreach materials and visits, to specific segments of the population, one of which is Indigenous peoples. The resources generally provide tax and benefit information as well as other information that would assist the specific segment. Some of the ways the CRA promotes these resources is through social media and tax tips.

This tax-filing season the CRA released the tax tip “Make sure you maximize the benefits you are entitled to if you are First Nations, Inuit, or Métis”. The tax tip was released to encourage Indigenous peoples to maximize the benefits they are entitled to. The tax tip also promoted the webpage Taxes and benefits for Indigenous peoples available at This webpage is a resource that provides specific information that can be helpful to Indigenous people when filing taxes. 

The Issue

Right before the CRA kicked off the 2023 tax-filing season, we contacted it to find out more information about the resources it provides to Indigenous peoples.

We reviewed the information the CRA provides to Indigenous peoples. Although we recognize it makes an effort to provide information that is catered to Indigenous peoples, our review showed that in some areas it can be inaccurate, not clear, and not always provided in a timely fashion. 


Credit and benefit short return form

At the CRA provides information on a simplified paper tax and benefit return and refers to a type of credit and benefit return that is no longer used, specifically:

The only credit and benefit return that is available to some Indigenous peoples for the this tax-filing season is:

The webpage is not clear and the inaccuracy leads the visitor not knowing which credit and benefit return they should use. This could put a burden on friendship centres, community representatives, and band council offices to provide clarification. The CRA should make the information on its webpage clear. We understand the CRA has many webpages to maintain, but considering this webpage gets thousands of visitors every month and is the primary resource the CRA provides to Indigenous peoples, it must find ways to make the information clearer.

The CRA also has a dedicated webpage on the credit and benefit short return and when we reviewed the webpage we found the information the CRA was providing was outdated, and therefore inaccurate. We asked the CRA if the information it was providing was accurate. After this the CRA corrected the information, but this only happened two weeks after the kick off of the 2023 Tax-Filing Season. This is not timely. Further, the CRA only updated the information we flagged and did not update the information that it was still providing at

Factsheet: Indigenous Peoples

The CRA provides outreach materials that Canadians can access to print and share. One of the factsheets is directed to Indigenous Peoples. While much of the information contained in the factsheet can be helpful, there are parts of it that are unclear and inaccurate. 

Canada child benefit

One of the sections on the factsheet is directed at informing the reader about the Canada child benefit (CCB), but it provides information that can be confusing. It indicates:

        “Apply for all children in your care if you have not applied previously and nobody is receiving it for them.”

However, you can apply for the CCB even if you have applied before. This can happen when someone else was primarily responsible for your child, but you are now again. In addition, it is not clear why the CRA indicates to apply only if nobody else is receiving the benefit for the child. Anyone who is primarily responsible for the child should apply. It is up to the CRA to ensure that only the eligible person is receiving them.  

Child care expenses

In the section that describes the CCB, the CRA also informs the reader that they may be eligible for child care expenses. Child Care expenses can be used as a deduction on Line 21400. This is entirely separate from the CCB and it could confuse the reader because they may not know they can also claim child care expenses on Line 21400. 

Northern Service Centres

On the factsheet, the CRA provides information that could be misleading to the reader. Specifically it indicates to contact a Northern Service Centre if you need help. However, the CRA’s Northern Service Centres do not appear to have direct telephone numbers, but rather the CRA allows Canadians to visit centres in Whitehorse, Yellowknife, and Iqaluit. When the CRA is referencing “Contact your Northern Service Centre”, it is likely trying to inform the reader that they can contact the dedicated telephone service for territorial residents, not the Northern Service Centre. 

Tax-exempt income

While the factsheet references the importance of tax filing every year, even when you have tax-exempt income, it does not provide any additional information on what would be considered tax-exempt. Specifically, the factsheet should contain what is tax-exempt income, something Canadians would otherwise need to search for on the CRA’s website. It could also provide a link to Information on the tax exemption under section 87 of the Indian Act.

Providing complete information can be as valuable as providing accurate information. Therefore, the CRA should take additional efforts to ensure the materials it provides are comprehensive and easily accessible.

Service Improvement

The Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson requests the CRA:

  1. Develop a review strategy to ensure the information it provides to Indigenous peoples is complete, accurate, and clear.
  2. Update all the information it is providing to Indigenous peoples that is out of date.
  3. Find a solution to ensure timely and up to date information is provided to Indigenous peoples before each tax filing season. 

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