Finance announces that CRA is suspending most audit activity

Today’s Finance release on the response to COVID-19 included the statement:

The Canada Revenue Agency will not contact any small or medium (SME) businesses to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or Income Tax audits for the next four weeks. For the vast majority of businesses, the Canada Revenue Agency will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives.

It is unclear whether the SME definition is using the VDP cut-off of “corporations with gross revenue in excess of $250 million in at least two of their last five taxation years, and any related entities” or something else, and there is no definition of “vast majority.”

In a somewhat related CRA Memorandum to Employees dated yesterday, auditing was not mentioned as a critical function, and a move to remote work was briefly discussed.

Neal Armstrong. Summary of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses 18 March 2020 under s. 152(1).