CRA Round Table with Dan White

Yesterday, November 12 2014, I attended a round table conversation hosted by Ipsos Reid (a high end market research company).

The meeting was on camera with CRA management watching via camera. There were two CRA executives there in person. 

I announced that the reason for me warning my Canadian Flag tie, was that I was not here on behalf of our company, but on behalf of my fellow Canadians. I stated that I like that CRA creates work for us, but I do not like what they do to Canadians.

I seized the opportunity to be a ring leader and hammered home a lot of issues.

I stated that the notice of audit letters were form letters that were not thought out. That the letters were not specific to the business being audited. That the letters should be comprehensible, aligned with the business type and include a letter outlining the scope of the audit.

I pointed out that asking for inappropriate things in the audit letter, only causes taxpayers to distrust CRA and increases the cost of the audit both for the taxpayer and for CRA.

I made note of the fact that there is a complete disconnect between what CRA publishes an audit is and what actually happens. CRA either needs to change what they publish or change what they do.

I pointed out that auditors are inadequately trained, often lacking in any accounting experience or credentials.

I stated that auditors have lost sight of the public servants act.

I pointed out that the audit interview, according to their own training manuals is a set up to getting extra information.

I complained that the audit letters say that CRA has the right to enter a place of business, but fail to identify that a dwelling is exempted.

I pointed out that only allowing 30 days to prepare for an audit is not logical ... especially when there is no reason that it could not be 90 days as a standard procedure. It is the same amount of time to do the audit but audits that are properly prepared for take less time for auditors to complete.

I made the point that CRA needs to partner with tax representatives and accountants to get the audit done the most efficient way, starting with giving us time to do the job properly.

I gave them the what is a duck talk about TEBA (Tax Earned By Audit) I said that seeing CRA as EARNING money is not what an audit is supposed to be... and that by doing so it just encourages team leaders and auditors to get creative. I said that CRA saying that is not what TEBA is about, does not mean anything because it is what it is... If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it is a duck and CRA has no credibility to argue otherwise.

I made an issue of the facts that the courts are ruling that CRA has a duty of care, it seems to be lost on the auditors.

I nailed the Fairness Committee for what is it... and excuse to say "no" and that the committed being more than 15 months behind renders the committee as useless. Taxpayers needlessly go bankrupt because their matter does not get dealt with on time. I said that being that the minister has the right as per section 220 (3.1) to forgive penalties and interest, the committee is pointless.

We did a lot of complaining that CRA does not use email in dealing with taxpayers. They need to catch up with progress.

I wish it had been an all day session... so much more could have been covered. 

Almost all the others were in complete agreement with me except for the guy who felt that 30 days should be all an accountant needs to get a few years of accounting audit ready... there has to be at least one **** in every crowd.

The CRA staff in attendance seemed to appreciate what we were saying.

I am inclined to believe that we just may have made a difference in how CRA plans out its audit process

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