Tax complexity, response times continue to be significant concerns
Ottawa – The majority of small businesses say the Canada Revenue Agency’s performance is merely satisfactory, according to the latest CRA Report Card, released last week by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
The ‘C’ grade is the same one the agency received in the previous edition of this report, in 2015.
“In recent years, the CRA has made efforts to improve its customer service, but it’s clear that its service outcomes still don’t align with expectations of small business owners,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President, National Affairs at CFIB. “Given the important relationship between small businesses and the CRA, it is critical that they continue to work at improving how they interact with small business.”
The report includes a survey of more than 8,300 small business owners and 330 tax practitioners. Overall, small businesses are more satisfied than tax practitioners; both groups indicate that the CRA still has work to do.
- 18 per cent of business owners and 47 per cent of tax practitioners believe that the service they received from the CRA has gotten worse in the past three years.
- 43 per cent of business owners and 66 per cent of tax practitioners said that their overall administrative burden of tax obligations have increased in the past three years.
- Just 25 per cent of SME owners, and 43 per cent of tax practitioners, feel that the CRA is making an effort to be small business-friendly.
The CRA’s efforts to improve its services to small businesses include the Liaison Officer service which helps small unincorporated businesses understand their tax obligations. They have also introduced a mobile app that provides business customers with tax reminders. But, the survey suggests that small businesses aren’t aware of these tools: 92 per cent don’t know about the Liaison Officer service and 91 per cent don’t know about the tax reminders.
“When business owners know about new initiatives designed to improve their dealings with the CRA, they are extremely supportive,” added Pohlmann. “Unfortunately, a lack of awareness and education about these tools limits the benefit they can provide to Canada’s small business community.”
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region. Learn more at cfib.ca.