The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) applauds the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue, for her latest effort to reduce the impact of the “taxman” on Canada’s small businesses. Earlier this morning, Minister Shea held a joint roundtable with CFIB in Toronto to hear from small business owners on what the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is doing right and wrong. CFIB’s recent report card on the CRA’s Call Centre Business Helpline, released during Canada’s annual Red Tape Awareness WeekTM in January, gave the agency a C- on its performance. While accountability of CRA agents has improved, service standards and agent professionalism have declined.
“If you have ever been audited or tried to do your own taxes, you know just how nerve-racking an experience it can be trying to deal with CRA,” said CFIB’s executive vice president Laura Jones. “The last thing you need is a busy signal or being given inaccurate or incomplete information.”
The good news is that the federal government is listening and acting. Minister Shea was recently awarded CFIB’s Golden Scissors Award for taking some initial steps to improve accountability at CRA, including a new requirement for CRA call agents to provide their ID number to ensure that they are held accountable for the advice they provide.
“Today’s forum shows that Minister Shea is interested in fundamentally changing the culture at CRA by doing more,” added Jones. “She has our commitment to work with her to make that happen.”
Minister Shea heard this morning from business owners about ongoing red tape headaches when dealing with CRA, including the agency’s practice of freezing accounts and/or contacting a business’ customers to collect fees. Concerns about mandatory electronic filings and unprompted changes to remittance schedules/penalties were also identified for priority action.
CFIB has launched an online petition calling on Canadians to join the “Red Tape Revolution” to reduce the impact of this hidden tax on consumers and business. Show your support by signing the petition.