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Sunday News Roundup 22.12.18: OTO annual report, CRA jabs nurses, Williams warns, and more Canadian accounting news

Wrapping up the odds and ends from the past week in Canadian accounting news

Author: Canadian Accountant

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TORONTO, Dec. 18, 2022 – As the year comes to a close and another tax season looms ahead, service standards at the Canada Revenue Agency will be a concern for many Canadian accountants. This past Tuesday,  Canada's Taxpayers' Ombudsperson, François Boileau, released his second annual report, Service Matters: Numbers Speak Volumes

Boileau spoke to Canadian Accountant back in March 2021, when he took over the job from Sherra Profit, and discussed the record of the Canada Revenue Agency. His top priorities at the time were CRA service and communications standards, especially as they related to vulnerable populations in Canada. That was reflected in media coverage, which reported a sharp increase in service complaints, primarily due to pandemic benefits, and the slow service Canadians receive from CRA contact centres. 

Boileau would like to see low-income Canadians file for the refunds they deserve, and wants the CRA to warn Canadians applying for benefits about the rsik of clawbacks. No mention, sorry to say, of tax preparers or accountants, although the ombudsperson is calling for the CRA to make technical changes in terms of security and verification. 

And now, on to the rest of the news from the past week in Canadian accounting. 

CRA sticks it to Canadian cross-border nurses

Here’s a weird one. According to the CBC, the CRA is playing Scrooge and freezing accounts of Canadian nurses working in US states over unpaid income taxes. Nurses are suddenly seeing their bank accounts emptied and are begging relatives for money. Now the nurses, who typically live in border towns like Windsor, will have to wait months for their appeals and a chance to get their money back. 

The issue seems to lie with the US Internal Revenue Agency, which is taking six to eight months to process the average tax return, after years of budget cuts and antiquated technology. But, according to Ian Murphy, CPA, CA of MCO Partners in Windsor, there are massive backlogs at the CRA as well, because “the agency is under-staffed, under-trained and broke." 

US audit watchdog keeps warning accountants

South of the border, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board marked a major victory under Chair Erica Williams, negotiating full access to inspect and investigate firms in China for the first time ever, and removing the risk that around 200 Chinese companies could be kicked off U.S. stock exchanges. 

Williams also delivered keynote remarks at annual conference of American CPAs, and urged accounting firms to “resist complacency, sharpen your focus and meet your responsibility to verify the honesty our system depends on with a vigilance that is worthy of [investors’] trust.” It was an interesting speech, as Williams lauded audit improvements under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which not so long ago seemed under threat by the Trump administration. 

Williams then lit into the audience, noting an increase of audit deficiencies in both US and non-US firms, and declared: “the PCAOB will not tolerate unethical behavior. I have said before, and I will say again, the PCAOB means business when it comes to enforcement.” Hard to imagine a Canadian regulator dressing down the accounting profession in the same way. 

Quick Hits: Articles of Interest

Five ways to take advantage of tax benefits when donating to charity (Financial Post) 

UK Audit Watchdog Wants More Cash, Slams Market Reform Delays (Bloomberg Tax)
Audits could solve crypto’s transparency problem. Why is that so hard? (Fortune Crypto)
SEC Adopts Final Rules For Recovery Of Erroneously Awarded Compensation (Mondaq) 

By Canadian Accountant staff.

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