by Andrea Zusnabar
The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a productive roundtable with New Brunswick representatives from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and staff and board member of the chamber. The meeting aimed to bridge the gap between the CRA and the local business community, fostering a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by businesses and exploring potential solutions. In this article, we will highlight the key issues identified during the discussion and the suggested recommendations put forth by the Chamber of Commerce.
The New Brunswick Tax Services Office aims to embrace a new philosophy called “Assisted Compliance.” They expressed their commitment to support businesses and dispel the misconception that the CRA’s focus is solely on taking from businesses. This new approach focuses on providing assistance and guidance to businesses, helping them meet their tax obligations. For this purpose, services such as the Business Enquiries Call Centre and the Liaison Officer Service offer free personalized support to business owners.
· Payroll Processes: Businesses find the electronic submission of T4A and T4 forms to be cumbersome and time-consuming.
· Audits: Multiple document submissions when inquiring about an audit, and the timing of complex audits during busy months (March-May) pose challenges for businesses.
· Collection Calls: Difficulty in ensuring collectors choose the correct level for small businesses.
· Assistance and agent conduct: Conflict arises when negotiating payment arrangements due to agents’ lack of understanding of New Brunswick’s unique processes, as some agents are based in other provinces.
· Representative Authorization: Changes in the “authorize a client” process have led to delays and complications, particularly for corporate clients and EFILERS.
· My Business Account Platform: The complexity of the My Business Account platform creates challenges for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
· Addressing Late Fees: Document delivery delays impose late fees on first-time business owners, hindering their growth.
· Safeguarding Newcomers: The increasing complexity of processes makes newcomers more vulnerable to scammers.
· Ensuring Transparency: Concerns are raised about the non-requirement of listing directors in T3010 forms for charities and NGOs.
Suggestions made by the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce:
· Establish Improved Communication Channels: Create a dedicated professional line or flagging system that allows business representatives and accountants to connect with senior agents or managers for effective communication and issue resolution.
· Streamline the Audit Process: Introduce a case number system to streamline audit-related submissions and eliminate the need for repetitive document submissions, saving businesses time and resources.
· Foster Networking and Collaboration: Explore the possibility of organizing panel sessions involving relevant organizations to facilitate discussions on common concerns, encourage collaboration, and exchange best practices.
· Enhance Representative Authorization: Consider separate streams for trusted EFILERS, expediting processes and minimizing delays.
· Facilitate Information Sharing: Share regular updates and relevant information with the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, to disseminate the information to the local business community.
As the roundtable concluded, the government officials committed to bringing all issues back to CRA for discussion and affirmed that efforts would be made to address the concerns raised where possible. This collaborative initiative between the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce and the New Brunswick Tax Services Office sets a positive precedent for fostering better understanding and communication between the CRA and the local business community. Through ongoing dialogue and implementation of the suggested recommendations, a more supportive and efficient environment for businesses can be achieved.