A new report released Monday says Canada’s tax department is ensnared in red tape and a comprehensive review is impossible but it should provide training to end “unconscious” bias when dealing with Muslim charities, Anadolu News Agency reports.
The Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson report found that bias creeps in unconsciously and training would “improve the CRA’s (Canada Revenue Agency’s) services to both Muslim-led charities and charities, in general.”
The report also said there is so much red tape when dealing with the CRA that a comprehensive review of its operations regarding charities is impossible.
“Despite our best efforts, we encountered legislative and administrative obstacles that prevented us from having the information we needed to conduct a comprehensive examination and validate the information gathered from all sides,” said the report, titled, “Charity Begins with Fairness: More to Explore”.
“However, regardless of these obstacles, we believe that this report identifies opportunities for the CRA to improve the service it provides to charities,” said the report.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) has, for years, accused the CRA of bias when it comes to Muslim charities.
It said in a press release, Monday, that yet another planned review, this time by the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, is overkill and would run into the same red tape experienced by the Ombudsperson office.
“Thus, we reject the notion of waiting for yet another review to tell us what we already know,” the NCCM release said. “It is unfair to continue to subject Muslim-led charities to unfair audit practices in the interim.”
The problem is donations to charities are tax deductible. But, if CRA audits find charities may be misusing the funds for purposes such as financing terrorism, it can suspend the charity’s tax-deductible status, seriously undermining donations.
The NCCM wants audits stopped while a comprehensive review of the CRA is completed.