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Will the Government Really Help you to Get your Business Right?

Will Canada Revenue Agency help your business?

It wouldn’t be a mistake to say that most businesses especially those in the small to medium category, welcome almost any type of help they can get to grow their business.  If this is help that is being offered by the CRA though is going to be a warmly received?

It goes without saying that for the most part the Canada Revenue Agency is one government department that is not viewed as the most receptive to deal with.  At least this could be said about it in the past, but there has been a new trend taking place.   It really seems as though this government agency is making great efforts to change its persona, and is really trying to prove itself as an asset for business and not a department that one wants to avoid dealing with at all costs.

Now that is not to say that the CRA is lightening up on its obligations to collect the money owed to them.   However, they may be lightening up on their approach, yet keeping the same goal in mind which is to collect taxes.

There are several changes that are taking place that have been instigated by the Harper Government and their big campaign all focuses on helping medium to small businesses get it right from the start.

The crux of these endeavors is small and medium enterprise compliance. A new term to get used to in the Canada business tax world is the LOI, or Liaison Officer Initiative. This is about these officers providing in person support to those whose business is going through the growth stages.

The program which has been tested through two pilot projects places emphasis on non compliance and how the CRA can address this more effectively and efficiently.   They are attempting to do this by provide proper education, information and support.   The goal is to help the growing businesses avoid mistakes that may lead them into non compliance which can be costly.

This is supposed to create a win-win situation both for the businesses and the CRA.  It costs a lot of tax payer money to conduct audits and completed re-assessment then fine enforcement procedures.   The CRA is hoping that the LOI program will go a long way in reducing this.

To really get the project launched the CRA is proposing to contact businesses in various industry sectors to take part in the program.   For those who accept this government agency may set up a voluntary face to face visit to the business, which will entail the proper education and prevention that will assist the company to improve voluntary compliance.   The program offering seems to have been well planned out but it may take a change in the way that many Canadian business owners view any contact with the CRA no matter what the purpose is.

 

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Sam Seidman, CPA, CA, LPA
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