Canada announces measures to cut red tape for businesses

Plan will ensure small business is considered in future CRA work

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is undertaking new measures to cut red tape that will support businesses in creating jobs and economic growth, said Gail Shea, Canada's minister of national revenue.

As part of its "Red Tape Reduction" efforts, the CRA has created a team responsible for co-ordinating and addressing small business issues. The CRA has mandated the team to ensure the agency takes a small business lens approach to service improvements with a renewed and enhanced focus on cutting red tape for small businesses. This focus on engagement with small businesses and stakeholders will ensure the perspectives on the small business community are taken into account in the CRA’s work.

The Red Tape Reduction Action Plan details the ways in which Canada is addressing issues identified as irritants by business during consultations in 2011. The regulatory reforms arising out of this plan support the federal government’s top priority of jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. The vast majority of these reforms will be implemented in the next three years.

“In 2008, the government reduced paper burden by 20 per cent over two years, which was a good first step in addressing one of the biggest lags on productivity among small firms — red tape,” said Leanne Hachey, vice-president, Atlantic Canada for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. “(This) is a giant leap forward in actually tackling the issue for the long-term and actually making a difference in the lives of Canada’s entrepreneurs."

Canada ranks higher than any other G-7 country based on the overall ease of complying with tax obligations, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2012 international study analyzing the ease of paying taxes, Paying Taxes 2012: The Global Picture. PricewaterhouseCoopers also identified Canada as a potential model for other countries’ tax system from the perspective of a company filing and paying taxes.

The CRA has already put in place some changes to improve services for business, including improved online registration for a business number, and providing GST/HST rulings more quickly to support informed business planning.

To continue to build on Canada’s world class tax system, the CRA will consult with businesses across Canada this fall to obtain further feedback and ideas on proposals to reduce the regulatory burden.

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