Helping you get small business taxes right from the start
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is working hard to improve its services so you can more easily meet your tax obligations, plus save time and money. The Liaison Officer Initiative (LOI) provides in-person guidance, support, and information that will help you understand and navigate the tax system. Early support and certainty make it easier for you to meet your tax obligations. The CRA benefits too: by identifying emerging issues and answering questions for a business in the early stages of development, the CRA can help prevent more serious problems that would cost more to resolve later.
Audits are still one of the tools the CRA uses to make sure taxpayers comply. But with the LOI the CRA is shifting its compliance approach to offer proactive support before costly and time-consuming audits become necessary. LOI activities are geared toward providing timely education and building a stronger relationship between you and the CRA.
The LOI provides the following services:
Small business support visits: A liaison officer will visit you at your place of business to give you support and guidance on tax matters. One-on-one, they will respond to any tax-related questions and concerns you have, give you general information on tax obligations, and tell you about common tax errors small businesses make.
Books and records review: When a small business is not meeting its tax obligations, it is often because of poor record-keeping. The liaison officer will offer to review your books and records and give feedback and guidance on their accuracy and completeness. Your participation in a books and records review is voluntary. By choosing to participate you allow the CRA to help address potential problems before you file your taxes.
Compliance support arrangement: After your visit or review, the liaison officer will ask you to sign a compliance support arrangement. This step is completely voluntary. By signing, you acknowledge that you understand your tax obligations and you intend to meet those obligations. The compliance support arrangement will highlight the key responsibilities of both parties, identify tax errors that are commonly made by small businesses, and outline industry benchmarks that you can use to compare your business’s performance to the sector in general.
These services will help you avoid common tax errors. They will also help you spend less time, effort, and money on figuring out your tax obligations and entitlements.
Right now, the CRA’s Liaison Officer Initiative is offered to new small businesses (sole proprietorships/partnerships). However, we are constantly evolving and looking for ways to better serve taxpayers. In the future, we anticipate expanding the LOI to include more business lines and services.
We are also expanding by piloting a Liaison Officer Assistance Request service for small businesses in the greater Toronto and greater Montréal areas. To learn more about this project go to Liaison Officer Assistance Requests – Pilot Project.