Zul Nanji is a retired International Tax Auditor with the CRA. Originally from Kenya, Zul has been working in international taxation since he moved to Ottawa in 1992, and was a tax auditor with the government for 35 years.
“I love getting information and learning, and I thought public service was good place to start as a job,” says Zul.
His knack for puzzle solving was a perfect fit, as he spent his career working with other countries and governments to analyze and assess inconsistencies in corporate tax claims.
“We look at taxes as a game – you win some, you lose some. And it’s with the big companies that you want to win. We try and find things that they’ve done wrong.”
But why is that important? Zul knows that “as Canadians, we should all be concerned that everyone pays their fair share of taxes.”
“It’s not fair that a big corporation can transfer millions of dollars out of the country without paying tax and claiming it as an expense, and then bring the money back into the country as a loan or a gift, and not have to pay the tax,” says Zul. “They made all that money in Canada, and they should pay their share.”
It's not just a question of fairness – Zul also knows what's at risk if the CRA doesn't crack down on these fraud or illegal cases. “You can tell your representatives in government what you want, and if there's taxes – great – but if there's no money or funding, guess what, it's not happening, or we're running a deficit and your children and grandchildren are paying for it.”
The files and cases Zul worked on had major implications for Canadians, as his efforts helped to level the playing field for Canadian businesses competing with international imports.
He is incredibly proud to have represented Canada's interests in an international forum. “I used to attend meetings overseas and make sure all the technical issues discussed at the table with all the countries in the world were what's best for Canada and in the interest of Canada.”
And Zul knows it’s critical that the services CRA provides are publicly delivered.
“Here in the CRA, we’re not interested in the profit aspect of anything. We’re interested in doing public service,” Zul says. “We’re trying to make sure that everybody pays their fair share, so you get all your schools, hospitals and all your social services provided for you.” Even in his retirement, Zul is keeping up with public service – volunteering to help seniors with their taxes in Ottawa.