Tax Law Services Portfolio Evaluation

1. Introduction

The Tax Law Services (TLS) Portfolio is one of six portfolios within Justice Canada dedicated to providing government departments and agencies with legal services. The TLS Portfolio provides litigation and legal advisory services to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in all areas of tax law and in other practice areas relevant to the CRA (including administrative law, corporate governance and civil litigation). The TLS Portfolio provides legal services to the CRA through its headquarters' office in Ottawa, a Legal Services Unit (LSU) co-located with the CRA, and regional TLS Sections.

The evaluation of the TLS Portfolio was conducted between October 2011 and November 2012. This is the first evaluation of the Portfolio, and it represents the first legal services evaluation under the 2009 Treasury Board Secretariat's Policy on Evaluation. This evaluation is intended to serve as a benchmark for subsequent legal services evaluations.

1.1. Purpose of the Evaluation

In accordance with the 2009 Policy on Evaluation, the primary purpose of this evaluation was to assess the relevance and performance of the TLS Portfolio. In terms of relevance, the evaluation considered the continued need for the Portfolio and the alignment of its priorities and activities with government priorities, departmental strategic outcomes, and federal roles and responsibilities. With regard to performance, the evaluation considered both effectiveness (i.e., the extent to which the Portfolio has achieved its objectives) and efficiency and economy (i.e., the degree to which appropriate and efficient means are being employed to achieve the desired outcomes).

The evaluation covers the TLS Portfolio's work between fiscal years 2007/08 and 2011/12. The Department of Justice Evaluation Division directed the evaluation, and an evaluation working group, an advisory group with representatives from the Portfolio headquarters and regional offices, provided ongoing input into the evaluation.

1.2. Structure of the Report

This report contains five sections, including the Introduction. Section 2 provides the background on the TLS Portfolio, describing its structure, resources, services, and the logic behind its activities. Section 3 describes the methodology used in the evaluation, while Section 4 summarizes the key findings, and Section 5 presents the conclusions and Section 6 outlines the issues, recommendations and management response.

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