Income taxes in Canada constitute the majority of the annual revenues of the Government of Canada, and of the governments of the Provinces of Canada. In the fiscal year ending 31 March 2015, the federal government collected nearly three and a half times more revenue from personal income taxes than it did from corporate income taxes.
Tax collection agreements enable different governments to levy taxes through a single administration and collection agency. The federal government collects personal income taxes on behalf of all provinces and territories except Quebec and collects corporate income taxes on behalf of all provinces and territories except Alberta and Quebec. Canada’s federal income tax system is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Canadian federal income taxes, both personal and corporate are levied under the provisions of the Income Tax Act. Provincial and territorial income taxes are levied under various provincial statutes.
The Canadian income tax system is a self-assessment regime. Taxpayers assess their tax liability by filing a return with the CRA by the required filing deadline. CRA will then assess the return based on the return filed and on information it has obtained from employers and financial companies, correcting it for obvious errors. A taxpayer who disagrees with CRA’s assessment of a particular return may appeal the assessment. The appeal process starts when a taxpayer formally objects to the CRA assessment. The objection must explain, in writing, the reasons for the appeal along with all the related facts. The objection is then reviewed by the appeals branch of CRA. An appealed assessment may either be confirmed, vacated or varied by the CRA. If the assessment is confirmed or varied, the taxpayer may appeal the decision to the Tax Court of Canada and then to the Federal Court of Appeal.