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Canada Revenue Agency Call Centres Fails Own Audit

tax
Posted by Ryan Rawluk Posted on 21 Nov 2017

On November 21, 2017, the Auditor General for Canada released its 2017 Fall Reports and one section of this report was particularly scathing about Canada Revenue Agency's Call Centres.

The Agency's call centres are in place to give individuals and businesses timely and accurate information about their taxes, credits and benefits.  CRA currently operates nine call centres across Canada.

CRA publishes service standards each year and reports on its own results compared to these service standards.  For example, when a caller calls the general enquiries 1-800 phone number and indicates they want to speak to an agent, CRA's goal is to have an agent answer the call within two minutes, 80% of the time.  In fact, the Agency's own published results for the 2016-2017 fiscal year indicate this happened 81.2% of the time.

The Auditor General's findings were that if CRA could not handle the call volume, they would block calls.  This means you would get a recorded message that instructed you to call back later and then ended the call.  The Auditor General found that more than half of the calls to CRA call centres ended up being blocked.

The Auditor General also tested the Agency's accuracy as far as how it answered general tax related questions that people may have.  The Auditor General found that almost 30% of the time, the Agency gave incorrect information.

For example, one of the questions asked was "When will the interest begin to be charged on my 2015 initial assessment?"  The correct answer is May 2, 2016 but a CRA agent gave a different answer 84% of the time.

Obviously, Canadians expect and deserve better service than this.  That's why at Rawluk & Robert Chartered Professional Accountants Inc, our clients rely on us to answer the phone promptly and to give them accurate and reliable information.  This Auditor General report just reconfirms what our clients already knew.

Tax Time for Small Business

tax
Posted by Sharon Johnston Posted on 17 Nov 2017

Tax time is not too far away, and if you operate your own business as a sole proprietor you know that the time is now to start gathering your paperwork together.  Sometime, though, it’s hard to know what is needed, so you toss it all into a shopping bag and drop it off to the accountant’s office.  Personally, I like to dig to the bottom of the bag, sort it out and get to work on the data entry; however, this takes time to do and time costs you money.  If you want to reduce the amount of time that we spend organizing your information, here are some simple tips to help:

  1. 1. If you have a bank account in your business name, please bring us all bank statements for the calendar year.  This helps to make sure we can capture expenses automatically paid through your bank account, for which you may not have receipts.  If your bank or credit union sends you copies of the cheques that are processed through your account, please include those pages.  Otherwise, include the cheque stubs or record book so that we can know to whom and for what the cheques were written.
  2.  
  3. 2. If you purchase items with your debit card for the business, please clip or staple the receipts to the back of each business statement in the order that they appear on the statement.  Similarly, if you have a credit card that you use for the purchase of business related items, clip or staple the receipts to the back of the credit card statement.
  4.  
  5. 3. Please put your sales invoices or receipts in date order.
  6.  
  7. 4. For cash paid expenses put these receipts in different expense categories, label each expense then sort them by date.
  8.  
  9. 5. If the use of your personal vehicle is essential to the operation of your business, please send the following information to us:
  1. a. Vehicle insurance cost
  2. b. Fuel receipts
  3. c. Driver’s license cost
  4. d. Repair & maintenance of your vehicle – oil changes, repairs, etc
  5. e. If you are making payments on your vehicle, please bring the bill of sale & financing agreements as we can write off a portion of the interest expense or the lease agreement if you lease.
  6. f. Your driving log book.  If your vehicle is used partly for business and partly personal use, the log book is important as it helps to calculate the percentage of your vehicle expenses we can claim on your tax return.  If the vehicle is used 50% of the time for business, we can claim 50% of the expenses.  Revenue Canada may request to see your log books to back up your expense claim, so keep it accessible in your vehicle for accuracy of recording.</ol>

 

  1. 6. If you have a GST/HST account with Canada Revenue Agency, please bring the returns that may have been sent to you with your tax papers.
  2.  
  3. 7. If you have employees, include your source deduction worksheets.

A little organization on your part will only be to your benefit, but if you just can’t find the time to get it all together, don’t worry!  I’ll just slip on my diving suit and swim right to the bottom and get started!
Your friendly bookkeeper.

 

Federal Government announces reduction in Small Business Corporate Income Tax Rate

Posted by Ryan Rawluk Posted on 16 Oct 2017

On October 16, 2017, the federal government announced a reduction in the Small Business Corporate Income Tax Rate.  The current rate is 10.5% after it had been previously reduced from 11% effective January 1, 2016. 

The reduction will occur in two steps.  The rate will be reduced to 10% on January 1, 2018 and further reduced to 9% on January 1, 2019.

The government also signaled that the non-eligible dividend tax rate will be increased on January 1, 2019 to compensate for the change in corporate tax rates.

As Manitoba's Small Business Corporate Income Tax Rate is already zero, Manitoba corporations will be subject to the above rates.

Breakfast at Clementine

Posted by Admin Posted on 29 Sept 2017

Enjoying breakfast with the staff of Rawluk & Robert CPAs at Winnipeg's Clementine Restaurant.

Listed as one of Canada's best new restaurants.  Check it out here.

Breakfast at Clementine