Enhanced CRA Assistance for Small Businesses
Canada Revenue Agency has announced the expansion of its Liaison Officer service, which uses an education-focused approach, in-person visits, support and guidance so that small businesses can meet their tax obligations. The expansion means 130 liaison officers are now operating in Canada. The expansion also extends the service to corporations in addition to the initially targeted unincorporated businesses and the self employed.
“Raised in a family of entrepreneurs myself, I have made it a priority to ensure that we are offering Canadian small businesses the best service possible. With the expansion of the Liaison Officer service, the CRA will now be able to help even more small businesses comply with their tax obligations,”
The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue announced on May 10, 2019.
The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, noted, “Our government is making it easier for Canadian businesses by reducing the small business tax rate, asking credit card companies to lower the fees they charge small businesses, and cutting red tape. The Canada Revenue Agency’s expansion of its free Liaison Officer service to small incorporated companies will help small businesses more easily meet their tax obligations, so they can have more time to do what they do best, grow their business and create jobs from coast to coast to coast.”
The Liaison Officer service is free of charge and those using the service should know that a visit is not an audit, nor will it trigger a reassessment of prior tax filings.
The original Liaison Officer service launched in 2014 and since then, more than 35,500 businesses have used the service. Liaison officers visited approximately 9,500 businesses per year; under the expanded program an estimated additional 1,700 businesses will be assisted.
Why the Change?
This expanded service is part of the continued efforts put forth by the CRA to improve service for Canadian businesses, as noted in its press release from May 10: “Small businesses make significant contributions in communities across Canada and are an integral part of the Canadian economy. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is committed to improving services for small businesses and ensuring all Canadians can get the information they need about taxes and benefits easily and quickly.”
Additionally, in 2018, CRA’s Serving You Better (SYB) consultations took place across Canada. During the SYB process, small and medium-sized businesses had the opportunity to share how they felt the CRA could better serve its clients. The enhanced Liaison Officer service is a response to the needs expressed.
How to Contact a Liaison Officer
The Liaison Officer can do individual visits or speak at a seminar in which the business prearranges.
Small businesses interested in this service can visit the CRA’s Liaison Officer page, and click the button to requested a visit. The service request form is short and easy to understand. Data entry is a mix of radio buttons, check boxes and some text (name, location, best time for appointment, etc.).
Help is There When You Need it
Taxes are not the easiest thing to understand but thankfully the CRA is working towards helping small businesses better fulfil their tax obligations. Help is at hand through the Liaison Officer program.
For the daily challenges of accounting and bookkeeping, you can rely on AF Accounting. We specialize in small businesses and have a variety of tools to help your company thrive.
Did you file your taxes late? Here’s help to keep you on track for 2019.