After running a pilot program out of the Elijah Smith Building in 2017, the Canada Revenue Agency decided it will open a new office in Whitehorse in 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Canada Revenue Agency office to open in Whitehorse

Three offices will open across the territories by 2019

A new Canada Revenue Agency office will open in Whitehorse in time for the 2018 tax season.

The CRA made the announcement on Aug. 24.

Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, announced that the CRA will open three Northern Service Centres, one each in Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit. Up to 12 full-time employees will staff the three offices year-round, a $6 million investment.

Additionally, the CRA will expand its liaison officer service, which assists businesses and self-employed individuals with concerns related specifically to territorial taxes and northern business issues.

It will also expand its Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), in which volunteers file income tax returns, free of charge for vulnerable populations and residents with a modest income.

Ross Ermel, regional assistant commissioner for the prairie region, said that staff from the office in Whitehorse will travel to Yukon communities to train additional volunteers so that there are in-town resources for residents outside of Whitehorse.

The CRA will also establish a phone line that Yukoners can call for help with benefits, credits and deductions specific to the North, including the Canada Child Benefit and the northern residents deductions.

This line will route to call centers in the south, but will reach CRA employees who have been trained to have expertise in northern issues.

Ermel said the initiative comes out of extensive consultation and a 2017 pilot project that saw increased outreach efforts in Whitehorse and the surrounding area.

That pilot included a dedicated phone line and a clinic based out of the Service Canada offices in the Elijah Smith building, where a volunteer prepared tax returns for those eligible under the CVITP.

Heidi Hofstad, communications for the pacific region of the CRA, said in an email that a formal evaluation of the pilot was not completed, but that feedback was positive.

She also said that the plan to open new offices was informed by feedback gathered during consultations the CRA recently held in the North.

“Namely, that territorial residents face unique challenges when it comes to meeting their tax obligations, which have been accentuated by limited access to services. The investments made to deliver these improvements will have significant benefits for northerners,” read the email.

Ermel said regulatory amendments will be recommended in the coming months. Consultations on those amendments will begin this fall, though dates have not yet been set.

“We are excited to be at the start of bringing improved services to the territories and making sure that Canadians see that we are truly treating them as clients and listening to their voice,” said Ermel.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Hospital cancels Whitehorse woman’s surgery 45 minutes beforehand

Patricia Nowell-Lindquist had changed into a gown and was fully prepped when she was told the news

UPDATED: Cross Country Yukon starts GoFundMe campaign for stolen pump

The theft means snowmaking is on hold until a replacement is found

Rams, Crusaders continue Super Volley winning streaks

Vanier secures first overall in boys standings

Cannabis Yukon opens in a blaze of glory

Yukoners spent $59,900 on legal cannabis on the first day

Commentary: Does Yukon need a United Way?

“The reason we ask is that we may not be sustainable”

Whitehorse FC sides impress at B.C. tournaments

Four teams, four tournaments, only one loss

Yukon soccer teams represent at Canada Soccer National Championships U15 Cup

“Everybody brought their game to a totally new level and set a (new) bar”

Yukonomist: The greying of the Yukon

It’s the kind of thing you might see in a society that suffered a major war twenty years ago

History Hunter: New book honours fallen Yukoners of World War I

The book introduces the story of Yukon’s wartime involvement and describes heroic contributions

Commentary: Celebrating Hanksgiving

Instead of a cornucopia centrepiece filled with autumn foods and flora, we use the Wilson volleyball

U Kon Echelon holds weekend mountain bike racing camp in Whitehorse

“It’s incredible the changes I’m seeing from when we started in September to now”

Liberals to scope out ‘efficiencies’ in departments

The premier was asked about ostensible reductions to department budgets at question period

Most Read