Position Profile

Job Title:  Senior Manager, Commodity Tax Audit

Work Unit:  Tax & Revenue Administration, Audit

Ministry:  Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

Competition Number:  1040810

Date:  February 2017
 

Position Summary

 

The Senior Manager, reporting to the Director, Commodity Tax Audit has overall responsibility for leading the activities in the administration of the provisions of the Fuel Tax Act, Tobacco Tax Act, Climate Leadership Act and the Tourism Levy Act. The Senior Manager is responsible for leading a team of 7 to 10 professional audit staff in Edmonton or Calgary offices in the audit and enforcement of all programs under the Alberta Commodity Tax Acts and other related regulations. These programs include the Tax Exempt Fuel User, International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), Alberta Farm Fuel Benefit, Fuel Tax Remitters, Tourism Levy, Alberta Indian Tax Exemption (AITE), Tobacco Collectors, and Aviation etc.

This position is responsible for providing technical expertise on all the Commodity Tax programs and leading a team of highly skilled professional tax auditors in providing audit assurance that taxpayers are complying with the commodity Tax Acts and program requirements and ensuring taxes are collected in a manner that is accurate and fair.

The Senior Manager is a member of the management team that budgets for and allocates manpower resources to ensure appropriate audit coverage in the commodity tax programs administered by Tax and Revenue Administration. The Senior Manager also participates in the creation of the operational business plan to deliver the audit targets and ensure targets are being met. Resource allocations are made based on identified program risk.

The Senior Manager provides input into commodity tax audit programs, recommending changes to the Director to assist in ensuring the programs are conducted in a cost effective and efficient manner while also monitoring and challenging the auditors to balance risk and effort when conducting audits to ensure cost effectiveness.

The Senior Manager ensures that all audit reports are complete, defensible and have a high degree of integrity and that the audit report and the audit file are well documented and supported with evidence at the conclusion of every audit. Issues identified, actions taken and decisions made during the audit must be clearly outlined on the file. The Senior Manager may be asked to consult on technical interpretations by Tax Services or other staff members when dealing with contentious tax matters or to review the appropriateness of procedures within the audit program for a unique audit situation.

Specific Accountabilities

 

Commodity Tax Audit Program Administration:

  • Responsible to monitor and ensure the day-to-day administration of Commodity Tax Audits are conducted in accordance with relevant legislation and administrative processes. The Senior Manager ensures that all audit reports are thorough, complete, and defensible and have a high degree of integrity and that the audit report and the audit file are well documented, are compliant with all Commodity tax programs and are supported with evidence at the conclusion of every audit. Researches and provides recommendations to the Director on the Commodity Audit programs, legislative changes or TRA policy changes that may result in more efficient processes and increased voluntary compliance.
  • Provides recommendations for changes to the Director to assist in ensuring the commodity tax audits are conducted in a cost effective and efficient manner, encouraging voluntary compliance and education of taxpayers and stakeholders. This includes developing and amending processes and/or procedures to improve audit effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Reviews other jurisdictions’ commodity tax programs, determines their key audit processes and develops best practices for Alberta’s audit processes.
  • Reviews and edit external publications, such as Information Circulars, to ensure technical accuracy and clarity.
  • Provides input to the Director for budgeting and forecasting activities related to the Commodity Tax Audit group.
  • Identifies and communicates areas of risk to the Director, taking steps to mitigate risks where appropriate.
  • Establishes target criteria for work volume including turnaround times, processing schedules and ensures productivity targets are met. Ensures that the group establishes appropriate performance measures.
  • Participates in setting the semi-annual and annual production goals and targets with the Director, and ensures they are achieved and tie in with divisional and Treasury Board and Finance (TBF) goals and objectives. Compares actual results with projections and report on variances.
  • Makes recommendations and provides background information and papers to TRA Management Committee (TRAM), ADM, DM and Minister of TBF (e.g. Briefing notes relating to the administration of the Alberta Commodity Tax Acts).
  • Co-ordinates a periodic multi-group technical session including all commodity tax auditors; Revenue Operations, Tax Services and AGLC representatives to share experiences and educate attendees in technically complex issues.
  • Documents, updates and maintains a high level of expertise, and maintains permanent files for all commodity tax programs being administered. Documents all commodity tax programs, noting areas of weakness and develops processes that Audit can implement to address the weaknesses.
  • Is extensively involved in the risk assessment function and works with other TRA areas as necessary to determine areas/levels of risk and develop appropriate audit action plans.
  • Ensures monthly status reports are prepared by all auditors to tie in with functional area status reports. Generates other management reports as necessary. Encourages participation in TBF wide initiatives and develops a strong team atmosphere within the functional area.
  • Ensures allocated resources are utilized to capacity and with creativity to meet group priorities and targets.
  • Ensures policies and procedures are kept up to date, reflecting any changes to legislation, processes or systems.
  • Collaborates with the other Senior Managers in Commodity Tax Audit on procedures, processes, systems requirements, ensuring work passing between the groups is well coordinated and consistent in quality.
  • Ensures Ministerial Action Requests are completed in a timely manner.
  • Reviews/approves audit plans and programs for use by auditors
  • Works with Senior Auditors to arrange and perform field audits of specific corporate entities and finalizes files.
  • Provides technical background to Tax Services on contentious tax matters.
  • Reviews the appropriateness of procedures within the audit program which do not fit the particular audit situation.
  • Contributes to increasing staff morale, and ensuring staff is well trained with tools they need with the goal of TBF becoming an employer of choice by discussing & implementing alternate or flexible work arrangements, opportunities for development, support for pursuit of education, and team building activities.
  • Identifies high risk or complex audit issues, recommending audit approaches to resolve those issues and updating audit programs and procedures as required.
  • Provides feedback and recommendations to the Director, Commodity Tax Audit as to improvements and enhancements needed to existing systems and procedures. Responsible for implementation of those changes into the audit program and processes.
  • Provides direction and decisions to audit staff on complex and sometimes contentious issues. Issues that are sensitive, high dollar risk etc. will be discussed with the Director and at times elevated to the Executive Director depending on the complexity and risk of the issue.
  • Forecasts future staff/program needs and plans accordingly including developing internal resources through succession planning and learning and development programs.
  • Identifies relevant information to enable the Director to make decisions with respect to the group’s budget and ensure accuracy in forecasting expenditures.

Staff Management/Development

  • Participates in the creation of the operational business plan to deliver audit targets and ensures targets are being met, allocations are made and the group strives to achieve the results.
  • Plans, coordinates and supervises the day-to-day activities of auditors.
  • Conducts a detailed quality review of completed files.
  • Monitors and challenges the auditors to balance risk and effort when conducting audits to ensure cost effectiveness.
  • Attends in the field, for training purposes and/or to assist on actual audit undertakings.
  • Develops learning initiatives for each staff member, including recommending courses and seminars.
  • Responsible for allocation of assigned commodity audit staff to appropriate work assignments in partnership with the Director. Commodity Senior Managers oversees the productivity, effectiveness and timeliness of the work in the Commodity Tax Audit group.
  • Develops succession plans and learning and development plans for direct reports and coordinates with other Senior Managers to ensure similar plans are developed for staff throughout the group.
  • Anticipates potential staffing needs and works with the other Senior Managers in Corporate and Commodity Audit to ensure efficient and effective recruitment plans are created.
  • Responsible for participating in the recruitment process including the preparation of job ads, screening of resumes, interviewing candidates, and overseeing new employee orientation
  • Identifies skills and abilities for future operations and develops training plans to ensure staff is ready to meet changing operational requirements with a high degree of accuracy and quality in their work.
  • Works with staff to ensure they participate in developmental and training activities that are relevant to their current positions as well as potential or target positions.
  • Supports the Director, Commodity Tax Audit to ensure vision and mission of TRA are understood by all staff in Commodity Audit.
  • Provides technical expertise to audit staff in researching, understanding and interpreting Alberta Commodity Tax Acts. Approves Technical Interpretation Requests (TIR) sent to Tax Services, initiates requests for legal opinions with Alberta Justice and liaises as necessary.
  • Maintains/improves the technical expertise of auditors in complex commodity tax programs by holding technical sessions, preparing TIR’s, Administrative Policy Directives, and providing advice to management as required. Is aware of emerging compliance concerns and takes necessary action to promote voluntary compliance.
  • Ensure proper tools/equipment/processes/systems are available and functional for all auditors.
  • Accompanies staff on field audits, as necessary, to assist and to keep apprised of current industry trends.
  • Acts for the Director if required.

Performance Management:

  • Ensures performance agreements, including development plans are prepared and updated on a timely basis by all auditors. Ensures each staff member has an opportunity for technical skills development and all new staff is properly trained to perform their tasks. Participates in and encourage succession planning for the organization.
  • Ensures that all staff is aware of performance expectations and that timely and appropriate action is taken to address performance issues.
  • Attempt to resolve staff personnel issues before they become problematic.
  • Establishes and actively monitors action plans to address performance issues. Has direct involvement with managing ongoing performance issues.
  • Completes performance agreements for direct reports including conducting semi-annual reviews and ensures that they reflect accurate learning profiles.
  • Provides monthly reporting on performance measures to the Director.

Committee Representation:

  • Attends meetings with those involved with commodity tax issues and implements pertinent suggestions.
  • Represents TBF at various ad hoc meetings with other jurisdictions, Alberta government ministries, crown corporations and Canada Revenue Agency. Brings forward issues with recommendations to the Director as necessary.

Planning, Project Management and Cross Division Support:

  • Participates as a technical resource/adviser for various groups within Tax and Revenue Administration.
  • Attends TRA team/group meetings involving Commodity tax issues and implements appropriate team suggestions. Provides input to improve processes in all functional areas in TRA.
  • Assists in coordinating assigned projects on behalf of TRA and Audit.
  • Assists the Director in planning activities, as required, ensuring plans are communicated and translated into operational work plans that direct the daily activities of staff.
  • Provides the Director with regular progress reports on work activities and plan.
  • Ensures appropriate actions are taken to resolve issues which challenge the group’s ability to meet established targets and measures.
  • Ensures operational issues and their related impacts are communicated and considered in the branch business planning process.
  • Works with Tax Services on files where notices of objection are filed.
  • Stays in contact with AGLC and other provincial jurisdictions on tobacco, fuel and tourism matters.
  • Work with other Ministries on specific projects.

Knowledge / Experience

 

Knowledge

  • Extensive knowledge of all aspects of the Alberta Commodity Tax Acts, IFTA, International Registration Plan and the federal Income Tax Act and their interactions.
  • Working knowledge of other provincial commodity tax legislation especially as it pertains to tobacco, fuel and IFTA matters.
  • In-depth knowledge of TRA‘s operating processes, assessment procedures and appeal processes.
  • In-depth knowledge of when to apply penalties on audit adjustments.
  • In-depth knowledge of investigative processes and supporting documentary requirements for Court actions.
  • In-depth knowledge of standard audit procedures and knowledge of TRA audit standards and principles.
  • Thorough knowledge of other Alberta tax program under the Fuel Tax Act, Tobacco Act, Tourism Levy Tax Act and Climate Leadership Implementation Act.
  • In-depth knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and (GAAP) and Generally Accepted Audit Standards (GAAS).

Education

  • Professional Accounting Designation CPA (formerly CA, CMA or CGA) or MBA supplemented by recognized auditing courses and microcomputer experience.

Experience

  • 3 to 5 years auditing experience including directly related supervisory experience, plus 5 to 8 years Commodity tax experience.

This position will lead a group of seven to ten professional audit staff which may include seconded auditors.

Leadership and Business Know-How

 

The Senior Manager requires well developed and demonstrated:

  • leadership and influencing skills, including ability to promote innovation; develop policies and processes; build consensus; and manage complex issues 
  • interpersonal and consultation skills to collaborate with diverse clients, partners, and stakeholders having varied and occasionally conflicting perspectives, expectations, requirements and priorities 
  • communication skills, including ability to develop recommendations and solutions based on consultation, analysis, and research and deliver presentations to senior decision-makers verbally and in writing
  • negotiation and conflict resolution skills
  • critical thinking and analytical skills to analyze variety of inputs; synthesize diverse information; and make decisions that are aligned with Ministry and government business plan goals
  • ability to develop and maintain collaborative working relationships throughout the Ministry and with Government representatives, stakeholders and partners
  • management and supervisory skills, including commitment to team building, coaching, and developing capacity
  • professional judgment and decision-making skills to determine priorities and represent the Ministry and government on committees involving multiple stakeholders and sensitive strategic and/or political information
  • organizational and project management skills to deliver results within tight timeframes and lead teams involved with diverse initiatives and projects and provide understanding and motivation to team members
  • human resource skills are used in leading teams/individuals on an ongoing/project basis, training new staff, communicating findings, participating in problem resolution, client complaints and investigations, and in representing the Ministry in meetings with other departments and organizations. This position resolves differences in interpretation of legislation with accounting professionals of corporations.
  • This position must be able to handle immediate difficult or confrontational situations, if they arise.
  • commitment to innovation, continuous improvement, and maintaining awareness of current and emerging accountability best practices, including identifying and promoting those with high potential value to the Ministry
  • strong results-orientation, with ability to plan and deliver ongoing programs while concurrently managing ad hoc projects and initiatives
  • The ability to communicate effectively and clearly, both orally and in writing, with taxpayers, other Alberta ministries and, other taxing jurisdictions;
  • client service orientation, including understanding the sensitivity to the impact of decisions on the Ministry and its stakeholders

Examples illustrating the significant leadership, organization and coordination skills required by this position include:

  • coordinating the input of Ministry business area representatives, staff members, and stakeholders to develop and continually enhance the Ministry’s grant program accountability framework while ensuring alignment with relevant legislation, regulations, policies and guidelines providing leadership and direction to a specialized but functionally similar team of professional auditors that deliver a various Commodity Tax programs and assesses the level of risk and compliance.
  • increasing staff morale, and ensuring staff are well trained with tools they need with the goal of TBF becoming an employer of choice by discussing & implementing alternate or flexible work arrangements, opportunities for development, support for pursuit of education, and team building activities.

The position administers a group of diverse audit programs and operates in consultation with the other knowledge groups (e.g. Revenue Operations, Corporate Audit, TRA Management, Tax Services and AGLC) in order to function effectively A high level of coordination, organization and leadership is required to establish credibility with various units and other jurisdictions, which may have competing interests. Results are expected not only from the senior management, but also from staff to solve or champion their Audit program needs. The position needs to possess strong partnership, mentoring and diplomacy skills.

Staying technically current with all Commodity tax programs and tax changes that occur in jurisdictions across Canada by attending conferences, webinars and courses as well as reading publications and technical updates.

Problem Solving

 

Review the audit work of commodity tax auditors. Detect and assess audit risk with these auditors to arrive at audit solutions.

Managing a group of professional tax auditors in a field and desk audit environment to ensure sound audit techniques are applied and quality standards are met in the audit work. The lucrative Alberta job market causes a large retention problem. This leads to different expectations and challenges to retain staff. The Senior Manager identifies creative methods for recruiting and retaining staff. This may involve identifying unique places to post advertisement, having conversations with other TRA leaders to identify potential candidates, identify and support developmental placements, having open discussions with staff to help identify learning goals.

Dealing with accountants and senior tax lawyers representing their clients on sensitive and/or controversial tax matters. Discussion, deliberation and tact are necessary in dealing with these situations. In some cases, material amounts of tax and interest is involved. When situations are more unique, highly political, high dollar value, or high risk the Senior Manager may refer or consult with the Director.
Monitoring the priorities set by the Senior Manager in consultation with the Director and ensuring audit strategies, approaches and enforcement processes are applied in a fair and equitable manner and in the most cost-effective method possible.

Researching and recommending to the Director the need for additional funding for resources to support the Commodity tax audit effort to stabilize the Commodity tax base.

As the Senior Manager makes recommendations to the Director on many audit matters the Senior Manager’s recommendations must be well researched.

It is important to note that TRA operates in an environment where it is important to ensure all TRA branches are included in significant changes to programs, policies, legislation, and practices and therefore some recommendations are brought to the TRA Management team for consideration prior to implementation.

Position works within clearly defined Commodity Taxes regulations, legislation and guidelines and auditing procedures. Detailed technical audit or tax issues are sometimes non-conforming, without clear precedents for solutions requiring analytical, interpretative, evaluative thinking. It also requires a significant breadth of technical knowledge with respect to Commodity Tax Audit programs and services. It is expected that the Senior Manager will solve the majority of day to day issues and only requires occasional assistance and advice from the Director on unique, complex and non-recurring issues.

Given the complexity of the tax legislation and the audit issues, the position must ensure that correct application of the legislation and favourable resolution of disputes in these files which is critical to the commodity tax base.

Relationships / Contacts

Clients Frequency Nature and Purpose of Contact
Internal

Direct reports

Daily

Provide direction, assign files and committee work, set goals/targets, and manage performance.

Director, Commodity Tax Audit, Commodity Tax audit management team, Corporate Tax audit management team, other TRA Managers/Directors

Daily as needed

Discuss audit issues, make improvements to processes, strategic and operational planning.

Ad hoc committees

As needed

Certain ad hoc committees established by Management to develop audit strategies and to relate information obtained during the audit processes for purposes of risk evaluations.

External

Senior officials of provincial/federal government

As needed

Develop and co-ordinated audit initiatives and to share information.

Accounting and legal representatives

As needed

Meetings and negotiations on complex tax matters.

Accounting and legal associations

As needed

Attend meetings and presentations

Impact and Magnitude of Job (Scope)

 

The results from this position are focused both internally and externally. In planning, coordinating and supervising the day-to-day activities of the team of auditors, the role impacts the delivery of the commodity audit program.  This position impacts Alberta taxpayers and corporations, not only in their compliance with tax legislation but also impacts the taxpayers’ and corporations’ bottom line. The audits performed impact tax collection for the province of Alberta, which in turn provides funding for provincial programs.. Clients and stakeholders (government and non-government) may be impacted by actions taken. Political impacts occur if a complaint is put forward to the Minister or Premier on the administration of an Audit program.

This position impacts the provincial budget based on the collection and payment of taxes. The job provides Commodity Audit interpretive and advisory services for use by internal (Auditors) and external clients (other jurisdictions, committees, Ministries in the GOA) in making decisions and achieving results. The position does not provide advice to taxpayers or corporations. There is a need for a high degree of accuracy, timeliness, reliability and accessibility to data and information.

This position is responsible for the work development function by conducting risk analysis and selecting high risk files for audit, to ensure compliance for Commodity Tax programs.

It is important to ensure the audit work is performed adequately to maintain the integrity and the fairness of the commodity tax system as well as to promote self-compliance. Given the complexity of the tax legislation and the audit issues, correct application of the legislation and favourable resolution of disputes in these files are critical to the commodity tax base.

The Senior Manager operates within the context of relevant legislation, government objectives, policy and administrative frameworks. The Senior Manager will keep the Director informed of key issues as required and receive direction on major or contentious issues as necessary.

The Senior Manager is accountable for the day to day operational management of the processes for the Commodity Tax Audit programs and services – freedom to act within the bounds of established policy/procedures and legislation is required in order for programs and services to be delivered efficiently and effectively.

The Senior Manager also requires significant managerial skills to supervise staff that possess varied skills and levels of experience. This position is expected to resolve, with only occasional assistance from the Director, the majority of the day to day management problems/issues.

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