Red tape reduction 2011-2013
The CRA has been listening to, and working with, small and medium-sized businesses since 2002 to make meeting their tax obligations easier. In that time, a number of key improvements have been made, including new online services for businesses through the CRA's online service portal, My Business Account, in 2007; working with the Province of Ontario in 2008 to allow businesses to file only one return for both provincial and federal purposes; eliminating over 9,000 reporting obligations for businesses in 2009 by reducing information requests on income tax forms and reducing the required filing frequencies for excise-related returns; and launching a new service in 2012 that allows businesses or their representatives to easily and quickly submit written questions electronically to the CRA.
The Red Tape Reduction Commission
The Red Tape Reduction Commission (RTRC) was announced by the Government of Canada in January 2011. Its mandate was to identify irritants to small businesses that result from federal government rules and regulations. The RTRC solicited feedback online and through 15 roundtable sessions with Canadians and businesses between January and March 2011. During the feedback process, the RTRC compiled a list of approximately 2,300 irritants, which it included in its "What Was Heard" Report in September 2011. In January 2012, the RTRC released its final report, called Recommendations Report - Cutting Red Tape…Freeing Business to Grow, in which it provided recommendations on how government departments and agencies could address the irritants identified by small businesses on a long-term basis.
The Government of Canada's Red Tape Reduction Action Plan
The Government of Canada's Red Tape Reduction Action Plan is the government's response to the recommendations in the Red Tape Reduction Commission's final recommendations report. This Action Plan demonstrates that the Government of Canada has listened and is taking action to address all of the recommendations.
The Action Plan includes six systemic reforms, under three major themes:
- Reducing the burden on businesses;
- Making it easier to do businesses with regulators;
- Improving service and predictability.
The Government of Canada's Action Plan will introduce measures to control administrative burden on businesses and ensure that regulators are sensitive to the needs of small business when they design regulations.
Forward Regulatory Plans
Based on the RTRC's final recommendations report, the Government introduced forward regulatory plans to improve transparency and predictability for business and all Canadians. Forward Regulatory Plans are a publicly available list of potential regulatory actions that a government department or agency anticipates making within the two years. These regulatory plans could include the development of new regulations or changes to existing regulations.
Forward plans will be revised and updated over time to reflect changing circumstances.
Forward Regulatory Plans include the following:
- the title of the regulatory proposal;
- a brief description of the regulatory proposal;
- a list of planned public consultations; and
- instructions on how to obtain additional information.
For more information on the CRA's Forward Regulatory Plans, go to Forward Regulatory Plan.
The Canada Revenue Agency's 12 Red Tape Reduction action plans
Businesses provided the RTRC with over 1,100 irritants related to tax system administration. The CRA analyzed and grouped the 1,100 irritants into 12 overarching themes and developed action plans to reduce or eliminate the compliance burden identified through the irritants.
The 12 action plans were based on the following overarching themes:
- Timely information availability and clarity
- Effective communication to satisfy taxpayer requirements
- Online services:
- information accessibility and written enquiries;
- improved online registration process
- information accessibility and clarity
- enhanced identity authentication
- Accountability for written information
- Auditors' knowledge, training and professionalism
- "Tell us once" approach to eliminate the collection of redundant information
- Timeliness for decisions related to appeals
- Timeliness for decisions related to rulings
- Reporting requirements
- Filing frequency requirements
- Ensuring that business perspectives are fully understood and appreciated in the policy development stage
- Coordination and collaboration among regulators.
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