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 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:
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.
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.