Small businesses are clearly underwhelmed by CRA.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) gives the agency a C-grade in its latest report card. The grade hasn’t improved since the federation’s last report card in 2015.
“In recent years, the CRA has made efforts to improve its customer service, but it’s clear that its service outcomes still don’t align with expectations of small business owners,” says Corinne Pohlmann, senior vice-president of national affairs at CFIB, in a release.
The report includes a survey of more than 8,300 small business owners and 330 tax practitioners. Overall, small businesses are more satisfied than tax practitioners, but both groups indicate CRA has work to do.
Here are the highlights:
- More tax practitioners (47%) than business owners (18%) believe that the service they received from CRA has worsened in the past three years.
- 66% of tax practitioners and 43% of business owners said their overall administrative burden of tax obligations has increased in the past three years.
- Only 25% of SME owners, and 43% of tax practitioners, feel that CRA is making an effort to be small-business friendly.
CRA’s efforts to improve services to small businesses include the liaison officer service, which helps small, unincorporated businesses understand their tax obligations.
The agency has also introduced a mobile app that provides business customers with tax reminders.
The CFIB survey suggests that small businesses aren’t aware of these tools: 92% don’t know about the liaison officer service, and 91% don’t know about the tax reminders.
Last month, Auditor General Michael Ferguson reported that callers trying to contact CRA often get a busy signal, and 30% of those who do get through are given erroneous information.