Canada Revenue Agency gets failing grades from small business

A Canadian Federation of Independent Business survey says there’s been an increasing number of audits for companies with more employees.

January 16, 2012   by Canadian Manufacturing Daily Staff

OTTAWA—Some say they’re intimidated. Some feel treated as if they’ve done something wrong.

Those sentiments reflect the overall consensus from small business owners and their experiences with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), according to a report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

The survey of 10,600 small business owners and tax practitioners were asked to grade the CRA’s overall service to small business.

The majority of respondents gave the agency a “C” or lower.

Nearly 40 per cent gave them a “D” or “F.”

For most, there has been little improvement in service in the last three years.

“While CRA has taken steps to improve the way it treats small business owners, those efforts are being drowned out by poor customer service, including audits that some of our members described as witch hunts,” said Laura Jones, CFIB’s senior vice-president of research and economics.

The survey suggests 28 per cent of Canada’s small businesses were audited in the last three years, 34 per cent of which were in the manufacturing sector.

It also found that the more people a company employs increased the likelihood of an audit. Only 20 per cent of companies with one to four employees were audited, while 56 per cent of those with 100 to 499 employees were audited.

CFIB outlines a number of recommendations in its report, which include publicly monitoring and reporting the customer service performance of CRA agents. The report also suggests implementing impartial third-party reviews to level the playing field.

Click here for the full report.

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