The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of National Revenue, Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway today held a roundtable discussion with local business leaders about how the Government of Canada is supporting job-creating businesses and working to combat the underground economy. Minister Ashfield also spoke to students on what the government is doing to address their needs as future business owners.
“Businesses are the economic drivers of our country,” said Minister Ashfield. “Our government recognizes that it is the strength of the private sector that will determine the economic future of Canada. For example, the underground economy makes it difficult for law abiding businesses to compete because it gives an unfair, illegal advantage to those who cheat the system.”
During the roundtable meeting, Minister Ashfield and local business leaders discussed the impact of the underground economy on growth. By encouraging trades-people and homeowners to have written contracts for all construction and renovation projects and by conducting seminars to assist businesses with remitting GST/HST, reporting income, payroll, and other topics the CRA is attempting to combat the underground economy. To make tax compliance easier, the CRA has cut more than 8,000 obsolete or non-essential forms, filings and other obligations. Besides helping Canadians meet their tax obligations, the government encourages Canadians to comply with tax laws by offering credits, deductions and rebates.
Minister Ashfield also reminded Canadians that individuals and businesses can come forward and correct their tax affairs through the CRA’s Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP). Taxpayers who come forward through the VDP will not be penalized or prosecuted if they make a valid disclosure before they become aware of any CRA action against them. These taxpayers may only have to pay the taxes owing, plus interest.