There’s no shortage of former Canada Revenue Agency employees who leverage their CRA experience in the market place. There’s nothing surprising or unexpected about that.

I happen to be one of those people. I worked as a taxpayer relief adjudicator and senior enforcement officer in the Collection Division for just under 12 years. I provide clients with expertise in the area of taxpayer relief applications and CRA collection policies, procedures, and protocols. In the process of conducting this kind of consulting work, I discovered an interesting and problematic dynamic in the tax industry.

Quite routinely clients ask me about an audit that’s taken place, or a particular filing method, or an accounting problem. I can see their wheels spinning as they ask, ‘because, like, you worked at CRA so…’.

Fair enough. I did work there.

But I don’t do consulting in the area of tax audits, or tax planning, or tax preparation. Why? Because I didn’t work in the CRA Audit Division and I’m not a designated accounting practitioner. Those are not areas my CRA experience created expertise in. And I would say the same of anyone who worked in other areas of CRA as it pertains to the Collection Division.

Ex-CRA auditors, client assistance folks etc. don’t typically know much about the subtleties and nuances of CRA Collection Division actions. Why would they? It wasn’t the work they were doing there.

Just because someone worked at Canada Revenue Agency, that doesn’t automatically mean they’re the right person to help solve your problem. Asking a former CRA auditor to solve your collections problem, or a former CRA collections officer to solve your audit problem, is a bit like asking the front desk security guard at the hospital to perform your knee surgery, ‘because, like, you work at a hospital so…’.