Continuing Covid-19 benefit delivery, combating aggressive tax planning, increased accessibility and more capacity for auditing are among the priorities outlined for the Canada Revenue Agency.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mandate letter to National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier, released Thursday, includes nine specific priorities for Lebouthillier, who is responsible for the CRA.
In the category of Covid-19 benefits, the letter asked the minister to continue to implement, process and issue those benefits; to implement the enhanced quarterly Canada Workers Benefit and ensure Canadians who qualify are automatically enrolled; and to extend and increase the Simplified Home Office Expense Deduction for employees for an additional two years, as announced in Tuesday’s fall economic update.
On the audit and enforcement front, the minister was asked to “increase resources to strengthen the work of the CRA” to combat aggressive tax planning, avoidance and evasion, as well as to “strengthen the work of the CRA to improve its capacity to audit real estate transactions.” The government introduced a motion to enact the 1% underused housing tax on Tuesday.
Trudeau also asked Lebouthillier to support other ministers in implementing a beneficial ownership registry.
As for accessibility, the letter asked Lebouthillier to continue work to “modernize” the CRA — making information easier to find and understand, for example — and develop a strategy for supporting first-time tax filers. She was also asked to support the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson in a study of charitable organizations and to support other departments in implementing a “real-time e-payroll system.”
Lebouthillier has held the national revenue portfolio since November 2015.