Durham Economic Prosperity Committee

Harper Government Is Cutting Red Tape

October 9, 2014—The Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of National Revenue, was in Ottawa yesterday to highlight our Government’s progress on red tape reduction, and kick off the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) 2014 red tape reduction consultations with small and medium-sized businesses.

Minister Findlay noted the many actions the CRA has recently taken, stemming from the 2012 consultations to cut the red tape burden for businesses, including:

  • Through the CRA’s secure online self-service portal, businesses now have 24/7 control over more than 50 different transactions such as registering for services, making payments, filing returns, making account changes, asking questions, viewing balances, and, starting October 20, managing banking information online and signing up for pre authorized debit services;
  • The remittance thresholds for employer source deductions were revised to reduce the maximum number of payments that businesses are required to submit to the CRA, in the process eliminating more than 800,000 payroll remittances for over 50,000 small and medium-sized employers;
  • The CRA launched its first-ever mobile app, the Business Tax Reminders app, which allows small and medium-sized businesses to create custom reminders and alerts for dates related to instalment payments, returns, and remittances; and
  • The new Liaison Officer Initiative was launched to help small and medium-sized businesses get it right from the start with in-person support and information by CRA officers at key points in the business cycle.

The 2014 consultations will seek input and ideas from businesses, bookkeepers, accountants, and stakeholder associations, and will be held in 23 cities from coast to coast to coast: Surrey, Kelowna, Delta, Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Greater Toronto Area, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Sherbrooke, Montréal, Quebec City, Moncton, Halifax, Charlottetown, St-John’s, Whitehorse, Yellowknife, and Iqaluit. The consultations will include facilitated in-person and online sessions, roundtables, as well as an online survey available to the public. Questions for participants will seek their views on the CRA’s progress in reducing red tape to date, and solicit their ideas for new red tape reduction ideas that address the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Minister Findlay also announced at yesterday's inaugural session that, as part of its focus on red tape reduction and better service, the CRA is improving the clarity and simplicity of its communications. A concise and consistent plain language approach to the millions of notices and letters sent to Canadians will help to ensure taxpayers are better supported in meeting their tax obligations and accessing the benefits to which they may be entitled.

The CRA works closely with many stakeholder associations on its red tape reduction agenda, including the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, and the Canadian Payroll Association.

Quick facts

  • CRA’s 2012 red tape consultations led to improvements in several areas, such as the availability and clarity of tax information, online services, the collection of information, reporting obligations and frequency of filing, and more. The results can be found in the Focussing on Small Business Priorities: Canada Revenue Agency Consultations on Cutting Red Tape report.
  • In 2011-2012, the CRA sent out nearly 129 million pieces of personalized administrative correspondence to individuals, businesses, and representatives.
  • Those wanting to participate in the facilitator-led consultations can contact 1-866-208-1686 or redtape-paperasse@ipsos.com.
  • The CRA’s online consultation tool went live at cra-arc.gc.ca/redtapereduction, on October 8, and closes on December 12.

“The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is pleased to participate. Our members have lots of great ideas for streamlining and reducing the paperwork related to taxation, and they want to do even more online. We applaud the Agency and the Minister for reaching out to the Chamber network to find ways to make it easier for business to work with CRA,” stated Hendrik Brakel, Senior Director, Economic, Financial and Tax Policy, Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

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