Press release from Government of Canada August 26th 2014 ) – Canada Revenue Agency
The Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of National Revenue, joined by Peter Braid, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo and Stephen Woodworth, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre, today highlighted pilot projects to help small and medium enterprise (SME) compliance. The Liaison Officer Initiative (LOI) focuses on providing in-person support to businesses as their operations grow. The CRA initially launched two LOI pilot projects in March 2014, one in Ontario, and the other in Quebec. The LOI is based on a “right from the start” approach which allows the CRA to address non-compliance in a more efficient and effective way by focusing on educating, informing and supporting small and medium businesses.
In the fall of 2014, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will expand the Liaison Officer Initiative (LOI) pilot project to British Columbia, the Prairies and Atlantic Canada. Through these pilot projects, the CRA is providing information and guidance at key points in the lifecycle of a business so that businesses can avoid mistakes that would be more costly to correct down the road. Such an approach translates into fewer audits, re-assessments, and potentially fines, which in turn means less red tape and lower costs for both the taxpayer and the CRA.
As part of the pilot project, businesses in the industry sectors selected for the pilot will be contacted by the CRA and a Liaison Officer will offer a voluntary face-to-face visit that will focus on educational and preventative measures to improve voluntary compliance. Businesses that accept the CRA’s offer will benefit from one, two or all of the following activities: small business support visits; books and records reviews; and compliance support arrangements. These educational and preventative measures should not be confused with CRA audit activities.
The Minister’s visit today is part of a three-stop tour to Kitchener-Waterloo, London and Mississauga where she is holding round-table discussions with stakeholders to discuss the CRA’s red-tape reduction initiatives, including the LOI.
- The CRA wants to help Canadian businesses reduce red tape and avoid tax-related problems by ensuring they understand their tax obligations. By meeting their obligations, SMEs can potentially avoid time-consuming audits in the future.
- LOI pilot projects are taking place from March 2014 to December 2015 in the Ontario and Quebec regions. New pilot projects will get underway in B.C, the Prairies and Atlantic Canada in the fall of 2014.
- The LOI is built on the “right from the start” approach that has been identified as an international best practice by other tax administrations.
“Our government is committed to working with small and medium-sized businesses and the industry groups that represent them to make compliance easier. The Liaison Officer Initiative pilot projects are just one way the CRA is cutting red tape and meeting its commitments to small business under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.” The Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of National Revenue
“Early support and certainty are important for small businesses. The Liaison Officer Initiative project is helping businesses make significant decisions that may be critical to their success in a competitive global environment and helping them get it right from the start. CFIB supports the government’s efforts to provide clarity and education to small business owners as they work to comply with Canada’s complicated tax regime.” Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice President, National Affairs, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)