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Audit Critical of CRA Charity Oversight

(Aug. 22, 2005) An audit of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) by federal investigators is highly critical of the agency for it ineffective and inefficient oversight of the charitable sector, according to an article by The Canadian Press.

The audit points out a number of errors and problems with the agency, including:

  • Approximately 15 percent to 17 percent of the information in its database is incorrect, mostly due to inaccuracies as data from annual returns are keyed in manually
  • There is no systemic or defined process in place to analyze returns and identify likely offenders - the agency relies too much on the judgment of individual investigators
  • The software used by the agency is slow and is sometimes shut down on purpose because it gets backlogged

The CRA has responded to the story by noting that it underwent a series of steps earlier in 2005 to reform some of these issues and provide better training to staff.

The agency has about 210 employees who oversee Canada's approximately 81,000 registered charities, which together report about $11 billion in donations every year, according to the article.

The audit, conducted to analyze how effective the CRA was in monitoring fraud in the charitable sector, was obtained by The Canadian Press through the Access to Information Act.

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