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What is the Canada Revenue Agency?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 14 September 2016
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The Canada Revenue Agency, sometimes known as Revenue Canada after its old name, is a government agency in Canada responsible for setting and enforcing tax policy on a national level, as well as handling taxes for many Canadian provinces and territories. In addition to handling tax matters, the agency also supervises the registration of charities in Canada and oversees benefits programs linked to tax revenues. Like tax agencies in other nations, it has enforcement powers allowing it to use a variety of means to collect taxes and pursue people with delinquent tax payments.

People living in Canada, as well as companies doing business there, must file tax returns annually to provide information about sources of income, expenses, and other matters. This paperwork may indicate that tax is due, in which case arrangements must be made to pay it, or that a refund is owed, in which case the Canada Revenue Agency is empowered to issue a refund to the taxpayer in the amount required. The agency also provides services like administration of incentive programs, such as programs offering tax credits for certain activities or to compensate for specific costs.

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Provinces and territories that use the Canada Revenue Agency to handle their tax needs rely on the agency to administer their tax systems, including systems like the goods and sales tax, a type of value added tax used in some parts of Canada. Others have their own tax agencies, and citizens may need to file tax forms with both their local or regional agency and the Canada Revenue Agency.

The Canadian tax code is periodically adjusted in response to economic changes and policy shifts. The Canada Revenue Agency oversees this process, works to develop new aspects of the tax code, and educates members of the public, as well as professionals like accountants, about changes in the tax code. The agency is also active in the development of tools like online tax filing systems, allowing people to use the Internet to fill out and send in tax returns.

The agency hires a wide variety of employees including people like accountants to audit tax information for accuracy and completeness, as well as field officers to conduct investigations and assist in the collection of taxes. Employment opportunities are typically open to people with Canadian citizenship who are able to pass a background check, and for certain positions, college or university degrees may be required.

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