“All Canadians, regardless of where they live, deserve to receive quality services from the CRA,” says minister Lebouthillier in a statement.
“In the past few years, I have had the opportunity to become more aware of the issues that specifically affect Northern communities. Northern residents face unique challenges when the time comes to file an income tax return to receive benefits such as the Canada Child Benefit and the northern residents deductions. The opening of these three service centres will bring the CRA closer to people year-round.”
The CRA will also set up dedicated telephone lines to make it easier for territorial residents to contact officers with specialized training to address their needs.
The new offices are part of the federal government’s northern service improvement strategy. In 2016 the CRA travelled to the northern territories to meet with small and medium businesses and accountants in sessions hosted by local chambers of commerce and accounting organizations in Yellowknife, Whitehorse and Iqaluit.
One specific area where the CRA says it needs to help people in the North is when they claim the northern residents deductions, which almost 60% of the filing population in Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut claim on their taxes.
The Minister of National Revenue heard about the high levels of reassessments of northern Canadians during her trips to the northern territories. The CRA reviewed the northern residents deductions verification activities and found the complex nature of the credit makes it difficult for individuals to claim them correctly. “This often results in errors and, ultimately, more reassessments,” according to a news release from the CRA.