Monday, December 10, 2012
Speaking at the Certified General Accountants (CGA) Summit on Tax Simplification, Gail Shea, Canadian Minister of National Revenue, highlighted many of the important steps the government is taking to ensure Canadian businesses can continue to thrive under Canada’s tax system.
Shea reiterated the Harper government’s commitment to red tape reduction. In particular, the Minister outlined what the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is doing to make sure its action plans are carried out to meet the needs of businesses, including providing more business-friendly online services, more access to easy-to-understand information, and giving priority to consulting with small businesses across Canada to get their views on what changes are most important to them.
"A recent study has ranked Canada as having one of the ten most efficient tax systems in the world," Shea observed. "Our government is committed to building on this success, and continuing our efforts. By implementing the recommendations in the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan, and working to simplify the tax code through the Technical Tax Amendments Act, 2012 we will continue to build a tax system that creates jobs and economic growth."
The CGA-Canada Summit on Tax Simplification brought together tax professionals and policy makers from across the country to discuss Canada’s tax system.
"CGA-Canada has been a leading voice in the growing call for tax simplification in Canada," said Anthony Ariganello, president and CEO of CGA-Canada. "Today we welcome Minister Shea’s contributions, among others, to our first-ever summit on tax simplification and look forward to identifying ways in which we can improve Canada’s tax system."
The Minister also highlighted the importance of recent legislative amendments being proposed under the Technical Tax Amendments Act, 2012, which would make some tax measures simpler, permanent, and more predictable for businesses.
The majority of the proposals in the Technical Tax Amendments Act, 2012, have already been released for public consultation. They include technical income tax amendments relating to the taxation of Canadian multinational corporations with foreign affiliates, and changes to the taxation of non-resident trusts and their beneficiaries and of Canadian taxpayers who hold interests in offshore investment fund property. Amendments will also be made relating to foreign tax credit generators, conversions of specified investment flow-through trusts and partnerships into corporations, and the creation of a regime of information reporting on tax avoidance transactions.
The more minor technical income tax measures relate to labor-sponsored venture capital corporations and to the allocation, among provinces and territories, of the taxable income of airline corporations. Technical amendments to the Excise Tax Act include relieving the Goods and Services Tax and the Harmonized Sales Tax on the administrative service of collecting and distributing the levy on blank media imposed under the Copyright Act.
If the Technical Tax Amendments Act, 2012 passes through parliament, it will be the first time in a decade that a comprehensive package of technical income tax amendments has done so. According to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, the lack of such legislation has resulted in a significant backlog of outstanding measures that need to be addressed. The legislation will therefore provide certainty for taxpayers, Flaherty said.