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Reducing the paper burden in business tax compliance


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Canadian Indirect Tax News, May 2008 (08-4)

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The Department of Finance and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) have requested input from members of the tax community on the sources of unnecessary paper or compliance work in the tax system, as well as any specific reporting or other requirements relating to the tax system which might reasonably be eliminated. This initiative stems from the government’s November 2006 economic plan, which committed key departments and regulatory agencies to achieving a 20% reduction in paper and compliance burden on business by November 2008.

To assist them in achieving their reduction target, the Finance and CRA have engaged Deloitte to gather and analyze the recommendations of tax experts and stakeholders in a report to be presented to Finance and the CRA by mid-June.

As part of this initiative, we are reaching out to tax experts across the country to obtain feedback and recommendations on ways that such burdens facing businesses can be reduced in the areas of GST, excise taxes, and where applicable, air traveler security charges. This initiative also includes recommendations in the area of income tax.

Note that due to the nature of the initiative, we are required to present very specific recommendations on ways that the compliance and paper burden can be reduced. In general terms, some ways this might be accomplished include:

  • Consolidating or combining information obligations in existing regulations
  • Reducing the number of information obligations contained in the regulations
  • Eliminating information obligations which cannot be adequately justified or which do not meet the intended policy objectives
  • Eliminating or redrafting obligations whose costs exceed the benefits
  • Harmonizing information reporting obligations across jurisdictions and/or with other federal departments or agencies

Recommendations should focus on particular provisions of current legislation, or specific forms or policies.

In addition to the recommendations themselves, Finance is also interested in the qualitative aspects of such recommendations, and the implications they will have on various parties involved. In particular, they are interested in whether or not the recommendation would have an impact on federal government revenue, what the administrative implications of the recommendations may be, whether the recommendation would impact the integrity of the tax system, etc.

We consider that this is a great opportunity for us to make our voice heard in a meaningful way regarding any issues which are particularly burdensome for businesses. Finance and the CRA are very interested in the views of tax experts, and will be taking any recommendations very seriously.

We look forward to receiving your input and if you have recommendations, please email them to  financesurvey@deloitte.ca .

About Canadian Indirect Tax News
A regular newsletter providing federal and provincial sales tax updates, news, court decisions, legislative announcements and other developments.

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