Small businesses see new online tax system

The Canada Revenue Agency is creating an online mail service that it says will help streamline the tax workload of small businesses.

The Canada Revenue Agency is creating an online mail service that it says will help streamline the tax workload of small businesses.

Kerry-Lynne Findlay, the minister for national revenue, announced the new My Business Account program in Whitehorse on Friday. The online service allows small businesses to submit letters online securely, similar to online banking systems that provide account statements.

The program has been run for the past year on a pilot basis. Findlay said the government received positive responses from the small businesses involved.

“Those who have used this service appreciate the fact that they get immediate confirmation that their (tax) documents were submitted. More and more, businesses will be able to transmit their forms and documents to the CRA electronically,” Findlay said.

Findlay and Yukon MP Ryan Leef held a round-table meeting in Whitehorse, where they heard many local concerns about the CRA. Among those was a worry that online filing might not work as well in rural communities, where access to reliable Internet is not a given.

To address those concerns, the traditional paper filing system through the mail service will continue to exist as well.

“It’s one thing if you’re in Whitehorse,” said Findlay. “It’s another if you’re farther out. Northern communities share those frustrations right across the territories in terms of access.

The closure of Whitehorse’s CRA office last year provoked a public outcry over the loss of over-the-counter service for taxpayers. In response, Leef offered to take over some duties of the CRA office and run them out of his constituency office on Black Street.

On Friday, Leef said now that the 2013 tax season is over, his office will review the amount and variety of service they will provide for next season.

“I think at their first introduction, they feel more comfortable being in our office and able to pose a question to our staff. But what we really saw was a trend of people not returning after their first introduction,” Leef said.

Most often, Leef’s office staff would simply provide residents with copies of government tax forms. Those forms are also available online, and once taxpayers had been shown the CRA website and how to navigate it, they often didn’t return.

“We are able to show them the navigation of the system, and they can say, ‘Oh, that’s pretty straightforward,’ and we’ve been essentially providing that first introduction for them,” said Leef. “Change can be difficult, but when they have a helping hand we tend not to see them back again.”

When the Whitehorse CRA office was closed last year, it was part of 28 closures across the country. Findlay said 21 more of those offices are set to close in the near future, because the majority of

Canadians prefer to file their taxes online.

The number of face-to-face and over-the-counter tax filings last year accounted for only two per cent of total filings, Findlay said.

“Taxpayers are using those centres less and less, so we are trying to meet that demand by upping the quality of service on the other end,” she said.

Contact Jesse Winter at jessew@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Yukon COs kill 3 bears attracted to ‘waste’ stored at Whitehorse junkyard

‘If it can smell like food (a bear is) on it, and it’s happening all over the place.’

YG bars Dawson City’s retired dentist from providing emergency services

Government can’t get its story straight over why Helmut Schoener can’t use hospital dental suite

Fox family in Whitehorse neighbourhood could face removal this fall

‘The foxes have been here a lot longer, and we’re the invader’

Kaska Dena Council in court over hunting licences

‘Consultation is not a “the more the merrier” proposition’

Great Northern Tournament returns for fourth medieval combat event

‘Every year it grows a little more and we get a little better at it’

Chilkat Challenge Triathlon holds second race

Dozens of racers paddled, biked and ran from Mosquito Lake to Chilkat State Park

YESAB report urges traffic lights at Alaska Highway intersection

Lower speed limits suggested ahead of new gas station construction

Yukon government denies it owes substitute teachers unpaid wages

The Department of Education filed responses July 5 to five lawsuits launched against it by substitute teachers

Some women won the marriage lottery in the Klondike

Others did not fare so well in love

The wonderful world of Airbnb Whitehorse

Wonderful for tourists and homeowners at least. Renters? Not so much

Yukon researcher contributes to climate change adaptation report

‘We really worked to weave consideration of different ways of knowing through the report’

Whitehorse singer Sarah MacDougall’s new record sounds like scenery

‘Just getting out of town slightly, you can see a lot of beauty’

Most Read