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Understanding the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Its Functions

Financial literacy is a crucial skill set for individuals and businesses, particularly for family-owned enterprises in Canada. A key aspect of financial literacy is understanding the role and functions of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This blog post will provide an overview of the CRA, its responsibilities, and how it supports Canadian taxpayers and businesses.

What is the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)?

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is a federal agency responsible for administering tax laws for the Government of Canada and most provinces and territories. The CRA also oversees various social and economic benefit programs delivered through the tax system. The CRA’s operations significantly impact the financial well-being of Canadians and the economic stability of the country.

Key Functions of the CRA

Tax Assessment and Collection:

  • The CRA assesses and collects income taxes from individuals and businesses. This includes administering corporate tax returns, individual income tax returns, and other tax-related filings.
  • The revenue collected by the CRA supports government programs, services, and investments that benefit Canadians.

Benefit Programs:

  • The CRA administers various benefit programs, such as the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) credit, and the Disability Tax Credit (DTC).
  • These programs provide financial assistance to eligible individuals and families, enhancing their economic well-being.

Revenue Collection:

  • The CRA collects taxes on behalf of the Government of Canada, most provinces and territories, and some First Nations.
  • It also collects pension contributions and undertakes activities to collect debts on behalf of other government programs, such as overpayments of social benefits and Canada Student Loans.

Audit and Enforcement:

  • To ensure compliance with tax laws, the CRA conducts audits and investigations. It targets high-risk individuals and corporations to prevent tax evasion and ensure everyone pays their fair share.
  • The CRA also collaborates with international tax jurisdictions and organizations to combat global tax evasion and improve compliance.

Charity Regulation:

  • The CRA regulates registered charities in Canada. It ensures that charities comply with the Income Tax Act and provides tax benefits for registered charities.
  • The CRA also offers resources and guidance to help charities understand and meet their regulatory obligations.

Digital Services and Tools:

  • The CRA offers various digital services to simplify tax filing and interactions with the agency. Tools like “Auto-fill My Return” allow individuals to automatically fill in parts of their tax return with information the CRA has on file.
  • The CRA’s secure online portals enable taxpayers and businesses to view notices of assessment, submit documents, make payments, update account information, and more.

How the CRA Supports Financial Literacy

Educational Resources:

The CRA provides extensive resources and information on its website, helping taxpayers understand their rights and obligations. This includes guides, FAQs, and online tools designed to make tax information more accessible.

Community Programs:

The CRA supports community programs like the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), which offers free tax filing assistance to low-income individuals and families. These programs also help improve financial literacy among vulnerable populations.

Outreach and Engagement:

The CRA engages with various stakeholder groups, including industry associations, professional organizations, and other regulatory bodies. These collaborations help advance shared interests and promote a better understanding of tax laws and benefits among Canadians.

Compliance and Fairness:

By ensuring compliance with tax laws and maintaining a fair tax system, the CRA helps build trust in the tax administration process. Canadians can be confident that the tax system is equitable and that everyone pays their fair share.


Understanding the functions and responsibilities of the Canada Revenue Agency is a vital aspect of financial literacy for individuals and family-owned enterprises. The CRA’s role in tax assessment, benefit delivery, revenue collection, and compliance enforcement significantly impacts the financial landscape of Canada. By leveraging the resources and tools provided by the CRA, Canadians can improve their financial literacy, ensure compliance with tax laws, and make informed financial decisions.

At Shajani CPA, we are dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of the tax system and achieve your financial goals. Remember our tagline: Tell us your ambitions and we will guide you there. Embrace financial literacy and take control of your financial future today.


This information is for discussion purposes only and should not be considered professional advice. There is no guarantee or warrant of information on this site and it should be noted that rules and laws change regularly. You should consult a professional before considering implementing or taking any action based on information on this site. Call our team for a consultation before taking any action. ©2024 Shajani CPA.

Shajani CPA is a CPA Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer firm and provides Accountant, Bookkeeping, Tax Advice and Tax Planning service.

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Nizam Shajani, Partner, LLM, CPA, CA, TEP, MBA

I enjoy formulating plans that help my clients meet their objectives. It's this sense of pride in service that facilitates client success which forms the culture of Shajani CPA.

Shajani Professional Accountants has offices in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. We’re here to support you in all of your personal and business tax and other accounting needs.