Gateway Gazette

Small Businesses Give the CRA a “C” for Performance

 

Entrepreneurs support recent service improvements, but most unaware they existed

Toronto – The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is getting better, but most small business owners don’t know about it, according to the latest CRA Report Card released today by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).  The majority of small business owners and tax practitioners surveyed support recent changes at the agency, but still give the CRA a “C” grade.

“Paying taxes is not something that anyone looks forward to, but dealing with the CRA can be especially painful for small business owners,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President, National Affairs, at CFIB.  “The agency has put a lot of great measures in place to treat taxpayers more like customers, but hasn’t done the best job of getting the word out.”

Most small business owners are unaware of the agency’s recent service improvements:

·         Liaison Officer Initiative (8 per cent aware)

·         Commitment to honour advice given online through My Business Account (16 per cent aware)

·         Increased source deduction thresholds (24 per cent aware)

·         Call centre agents required to provide their ID numbers (38 per cent aware)

Awareness is higher among tax practitioners (43 per cent for My Business Account), but still very low for a group that deals with the CRA on a daily basis.  “When more than half the tax experts in the country are unaware of a service that provides iron clad tax advice, clearly communication is an issue,” added Pohlmann.

Overall, 55 per cent of small business owners still feel that CRA treats them like they’ve done something wrong, and 54 per cent think that the agency needs to improve the clarity and quality of information it provides.

When told about the above service improvements from CRA, an overwhelming majority of small business owners AND tax practitioners were supportive (over 80 per cent), suggesting that improved awareness would make a difference in the way small business owners perceive the agency.

“Apart from stronger service standards and implementing third-party reviews, improving overall taxpayer awareness of CRA initiatives tops the recommendations we’ve outlined in our report,” concluded Pohlmann.  “We’re hoping these will help increase accountability at the CRA, and cut some of the unnecessary red tape that small business owners face.”

The report is the fifth in a series examining the CRA’s performance and its interactions with small and medium sized enterprises, and comes on the fourth day of Red Tape Awareness WeekTM.

Read the full report at www.cfib.ca/rtaw.

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.

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