Event: Tax relief for families and businesses / Red tape reduction
Venue: Fort St. John, BC
Date: April 9, 2015
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Good afternoon, thank you for that kind introduction and thank you for joining us today.
It's great to be here in Fort St. John. I've had a busy day. I'd like to thank MP Bob Zimmer (Prince George - Peace River) for planning today's events. Earlier this morning, I met with members of the accounting firm MNP to hear their thoughts on the Canada Revenue Agency's programs and services.
And I just met with small business owners from the Fort St. John Chamber of Commerce, and was really pleased to hear their thoughts and feedback.
Small businesses represent about half of the jobs in the private sector and a third of Canada's gross domestic product. They are vital to Canada's long-term economic prosperity, and our Government has made a commitment to support them.
For small business owners, tax season can be a little stressful, even overwhelming at times. On top of everything they do on a daily basis to keep their business up and running, they also have to set aside precious time to prepare and file their tax return. The Government of Canada wants to make sure they know about all of the tax credits and deductions that are available, so that they can take advantage of them if they qualify.
Last fall, we asked business owners and representatives to give us their feedback directly - in consultations we held in 20 cities across Canada and online.
One concern that came through loud and clear was that the Canada Revenue Agency needed to continue to improve its services so that Canadian businesses could more quickly and easily fulfill their tax obligations.
Our Government has been active in seeking results.
I have put together a Top 10 list of the ways our Government is reducing red tape at the CRA for businesses.
- We have simplified payroll remittances. Over 800,000 remittances for over 50,000 small and medium-sized businesses were effectively eliminated after remittance thresholds for employer source deductions were revised.
- The mobile Business Tax Reminders app allows businesses to create custom reminders and alerts for dates related to instalment payments, returns, and remittances.
- Businesses can now receive certain correspondence from the CRA and submit documents online through My Business Account
- Businesses have more freedom to manage their affairs on a self-serve basis: such as updating banking and direct deposit information through My Business Account
- Advanced learning tools for auditors were developed, and the CRA created a dedicated team to address the needs of businesses.
- My Business Account Enquiries Service lets businesses ask tax questions related to their account online and receive information they can rely on, in writing.
- Business enquiries telephone service agents are now required to provide an Agent ID, ensuring a consistent and user-friendly experience for callers and making it easier to give feedback on CRA services.
- The Business Number allows businesses to work with six provinces and a number of programs with the CRA, Public Works and Government Services, Industry Canada, and Canada Border Services Agency.
- Liaison Officer Initiative provides in-person support to businesses at key points in their business cycle.
- And I have championed a plain language initiative within CRA to ensure taxpayers get clear, concise information that they can understand and act upon independently.
In January, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business recognized the CRA's efforts in cutting red tape by awarding me with their Golden Scissors Award for showing leadership in freeing entrepreneurs from the paperwork burden.
In a country like ours, where 98% of businesses have fewer than 100 employees, the effect of red tape on the economy is significant.
Our Government will continue to do everything we can to foster an environment for small businesses to grow and prosper
Today our discussions also focused on what's new this tax season, which I will share with you right now.
At the core of our Economic Action Plan is a commitment to keep taxes low for Canadians.
We remain focused on helping hard-working Canadians prosper.
Every Canadian family with children will benefit from our new tax relief and benefit package, introduced by Prime Minister Harper in October.
On average, $1,140 will return to the pockets of families with children through this initiative. Low and middle-income families will receive two-thirds of the overall benefits provided by the package. Let me take a minute to explain.
The Family Tax Cut provides tax relief of up to $2,000 for couples with children under the age of 18, starting with the 2014 tax year. Pension income splitting is helping seniors across the country, which is why the Government is now providing relief for eligible families, too.
We are increasing the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) from $100 to $160 per month for children under the age of 6 … and providing $60 a month for each child between the ages of 6 and 17.
Our Government has doubled the amount of eligible expenses you can claim for the Children's Fitness Tax Credit, from $500 to $1000 per child per year.
We are also increasing the Child Care Expenses Deduction dollar limits by $1,000, starting in the 2015 tax year.
In addition to supporting Canadian families, we continue to introduce tax relief measures to support Canadian businesses. We are keenly aware of the important role you play in sustaining our economic momentum.
I want to highlight one new tax savings measure in particular - the Small Business Job Credit.
The Small Business Job Credit will help small businesses by effectively lowering their Employment Insurance [EI] premiums from the current legislated rate of $1.88 to $1.60 per $100 of insurable earnings in 2015 and 2016. Any business that pays employer EI premiums of $15,000 or less in each of those years will be eligible for the credit.
What this means is that almost 90% of all EI premium-paying businesses in Canada will receive the credit, reducing their EI payroll taxes by nearly 15%. It will save small businesses more than half a billion dollars over two years.
We are making sure that there will be no increased paperwork associated with this new tax credit.
Businesses do not have to apply for it - the Canada Revenue Agency will automatically determine eligibility for 2015 and 2016 separately, based on the employer EI premiums paid for each of those years.
Our Government is always looking for ways to make it easier for small businesses to comply with their tax obligations.