New initiatives to assist small and medium-sized businesses: consultation report on the proposed Registration of Tax Preparers Program (RTPP)

On January 17, 2014, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced the introduction of a new three-point plan to improve compliance and provide support to the small and medium-sized business community. As part of this initiative, a consultation process with taxpayers and the tax preparer community was launched on the proposed Registration of Tax Preparer Program (RTPP), an important component of the CRA's new and innovative approach to its compliance programs.

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RTPP consultations

From January to May 2014, the CRA consulted with taxpayers and the tax preparer community to gain a common understanding of the business needs of tax preparers and solicit input from all stakeholders on the proposed RTPP. A consultation paper was published to help the CRA seek feedback on a number of key issues that will ultimately assist the CRA in determining the final design of the program.

In February 2014, the CRA hosted discussion sessions with taxpayers, tax preparers and organizations representing tax preparers across Canada on the proposed RTPP.

Taxpayers, tax preparers, and all other stakeholders also participated by providing their input online or in writing.

The CRA received submissions from a broad range of stakeholders including self-employed tax preparers, medium-sized and national professional services firms, and national associations representing approximately 185,000 accountants.

The CRA will continue to work closely with stakeholders as final decisions are made on program design.

For more information, go to What We Heard - A report on the public consultation for the proposed Registration of Tax Preparers Program.

The three-point plan

The CRA's three-point plan is about making it easier for those who want to comply with their tax obligations through early support and reducing red tape. It is also about making it more difficult for those who choose not to comply.

The first component of the three-point plan is the Liaison Officer Initiative (LOI) which will focus on providing information and in-person support to businesses at key points in their business cycle, to assist taxpayers in navigating the tax system and getting it "right from the start."

The proposed RTPP will focus on working with tax preparers to prevent errors when tax returns are filed. Under the proposed RTPP, tax preparers who prepare individual and corporate income tax returns for a fee would be required to register with the CRA. Registration would allow the CRA to identify where errors are being made and work with the tax preparer, using a strategic compliance approach, to correct these errors before the tax return is filed.

The third component of the three-point plan is an enhanced focus on high risk files to address non-compliance that cannot be resolved through other means. The use of improved business intelligence, specialized audit teams focused on specific sectors, and novel approaches such as letter writing campaigns, in addition to the CRA's traditional audit processes when required, will result in a more strategic approach to identifying and addressing non-compliance issues.

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