TORONTO, April 17, 2012 /CNW/ - On behalf of its 109,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is pleased to see the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) take an important step forward in improving its accountability and accessibility for SMEs.
At a press conference this afternoon, the Minister of National Revenue Gail Shea, announced that SMEs will now be able to communicate electronically with CRA through My Business Account. This means that for the first time business owners will be able to submit questions electronically to CRA and receive written answers in return, thereby expanding the opportunities for them to access CRA. Even more importantly, CRA will honour their response to an SME or their representative, even if it is later found to be incorrect as long as CRA has been provided with all the relevant information.
This is welcome news given that CFIB's Report Card on CRA released earlier this year, found that 57 per cent of small business owners and 78 per cent of tax practitioners did not believe that CRA was accountable for any mistakes they make.
"Since the CRA touches every business in Canada, this announcement is a big deal. The ability to have written answers from CRA will give small businesses peace of mind," remarked Catherine Swift, president of CFIB. "Knowing that the Agency must respect the information that they've sent to the small business owner, even if it turns out to be incorrect will go a long way in improving the relationship between small business taxpayers and CRA."
CFIB's Report Card on CRA also found over 90 per cent of small business owners and tax practitioners would like to have the ability to electronically communicate with CRA. "About half of our members currently use My Business Account and will be able to benefit from this new service right away," said Swift. "We will be closely watching how well CRA delivers the service as well as encouraging other SME owners and their tax practitioners to use it."
The battle between the "tax man" and small business is one that has been going on for years. CFIB is pleased that CRA is recognizing the burden SMEs face when collecting and remitting taxes. "It is good to see that CRA is realizing it needs to change with the times and steps taken today will open more lines of communication between SMEs and CRA and hopefully bring with it a better working relationship going forward," concluded Swift.
As Canada's largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses, CFIB is Powered by Entrepreneurs™. Established in 1971, CFIB takes direction from more than 109,000 members in every sector nationwide, giving independent business a strong and influential voice at all levels of government and helping to grow the economy.
For further information:
or to arrange an interview with Catherine Swift contact Gisele Lumsden at 647-808-5769 or Meghan Carrington at 416-222-8022 or via [email protected]