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Conservative MP for Delta—Richmond East (B.C.)
Won her last election, in 2011, with 54.20% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Questions on the Order Paper September 15th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), Section 241 of the Income Tax Act precludes the Canada Revenue Agency, the CRA, from providing taxpayer-specific information or information that would identify specific taxpayers; therefore, the CRA will not comment on an investigation that it may or may not be undertaking.
With regard to (b), on an ongoing basis, the CRA provides information to Canadians on tax matters, including warnings to beware of groups or individuals who conspire, counsel, and promote tax avoidance schemes. The CRA continues to issue substantial public warnings about tax schemes and inform Canadians about how to protect themselves from fraud through tax alerts, news releases, and fact sheets–all of which can be found on the CRA website--as well as through outreach and partnerships with stakeholders.
Information on these schemes and how to identify and avoid them is readily available to anyone seeking it. Through these various media the CRA also informs Canadians about the consequences of participating in and promoting various schemes, how to report participation in a scheme they become aware of, and how to come forward using the voluntary disclosures program to correct past tax mistakes before criminal and financial consequences occur.
When a conviction related to an illegal tax avoidance scheme occurs, the CRA issues a regional conviction news release to inform the Canadian public in order to help others who may have unknowingly participated in similar schemes and to deter others from participating. More information on convictions that have occurred within the last year is available on the CRA website.
Under certain circumstances, including when it may provide a more timely warning of ongoing schemes, the CRA issues news releases when charges are laid. The CRA has also provided interviews to the media to inform the Canadian public about participating in tax schemes, including the risks and costs they could incur and how to identify them and avoid taking part.
Specifically to warn taxpayers of schemes and fraud, in 2006 the CRA created tax alerts—a warning issued to the media, posted to the CRA website, and issued through an e-mail list and RSS feed. Some tax alerts have made specific reference to schemes involving fictitious business losses, while others have been broader, encompassing a call to action to seek independent advice from a trusted tax professional before becoming involved in a scheme or arrangement. Many of these alerts have reminded Canadians that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
The CRA also collaborates with the Competition Bureau and the RCMP in its yearly promotion of Fraud Prevention Month. The CRA issues a yearly fraud prevention news release that reminds Canadians to protect themselves and leads them to the CRA’s website, where a comprehensive web resource provides them with further details. Other products such as fact sheets and checklists on how Canadians can protect themselves have accompanied those releases.
In addition to the yearly Fraud Prevention Month promotion, the CRA has also issued several other warnings about fraud or schemes. These have been distributed using News Canada articles, news releases, and tax tips during income tax filing season, and through the CRA’s Twitter feed, which prominently features tweets on schemes, scams, and fraud. Regardless of the exact nature of the warning, web links to information on a variety of schemes and fraud are provided. Promoting those resources helps visitors learn about how to protect themselves on a variety of fronts.
With regard to parts (c) through (i), the CRA routinely audits questionable business losses. The CRA does not track information by specific tax scheme, such as DSC and Fiscal Arbitrators. Furthermore, section 241 of the Income Tax Act precludes the CRA from providing taxpayer-specific information or information that would identify specific taxpayers.
Questions on the Order Paper September 15th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, the 2011 federal budget originally introduced the hiring credit for small business, HCSB. The HCSB was extended in 2012 and expanded and extended again in 2013.
With regard to (a), the Canada Revenue Agency, CRA, administers the HCSB as part of its daily operations. As HCSB administration costs are not tracked separately, the CRA is unable to respond in the manner requested.
With regard to (b), the HCSB was a credit intended to stimulate new employment and support small businesses. Since its introduction, a number of Canadian small businesses have successfully accessed the credit. As the CRA tracks the number of employers who have received the HCSB by taxation year, rather than by fiscal period, its response is limited to information for the following tax years: 2011, 551,940 employers; 2012, 550,609 employers; and 2013, 509,544 employers to date. For 2013, the numbers represent a year to date total. It is anticipated that additional filing and processing of employer returns will increase the total number of employers receiving the credit for 2013.
With regard to (c), the HCSB provides a credit to the taxpayer’s account at a minimum of $2 and a maximum credit of $1,000 based on the taxpayer’s eligibility for the program. The available data focuses on the credit paid to taxpayers and may not fully represent the average tax savings for taxpayers who have successfully accessed the HCSB. The average credit paid to taxpayers by tax year is as follows: 2011, $381.23; 2012, $396.47; and 2013, $422.74 to date. The 2013 HCSB threshold of the employers’ portion of the employment insurance premiums was expanded from $10,000 to $15,000, which potentially has increased the number of taxpayers eligible to receive the maximum credit.
Questions on the Order Paper September 15th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, individual tax filers with taxable income, as reported on line 260 of the general income tax and benefit return, under the basic personal amount do not pay federal income tax.
The figures provided below include all individual filers whose taxable income was less than the basic personal amount. The figures are not limited to those who applied for the above-mentioned credits, as it is expected that some individuals will choose not to claim the credits given that their taxable income is less than the basic personal amount, and claiming any of these credits would not result in additional tax savings. As such, the Canada Revenue Agency, CRA, cannot determine how many of these individuals may have been able to benefit from one or more of the above-mentioned credits.
The number of individual tax filers with taxable income less than the basic personal amount for tax years 2011 and 2012 are as follows. As the CRA is currently processing 2013 tax year returns, data is not currently available for that taxation year.
For 2011, the number of filers was 6,636,600, with a basic personal amount of $10,527; and for 2012, it was 6,462,350, with a basic personal amount of $10,822. The figures are rounded to the nearest 10. They are from the CRA T1 Data Mart and include all initially assessed returns processed up to May 2, 2014, that is, the most recent available data.
Taxation September 15th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, the member really should be ashamed of himself for attempting to score cheap political points on the backs of professional public servants at the CRA. As the director general of the charities directorate, the commissioner of the CRA, and I have said, there is no political interference or motivation in CRA audits whatsoever. The rule regarding charities and political activities, as I have said, are long standing. CRA has a legal responsibility to ensure that charitable dollars are used appropriately, and charities have a responsibility to respect the law.
Taxation September 15th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, the member knows full well that CRA audits occur at arm's length, conducted free of any political interference or motivation. Rules regarding charities and their political activities are very long standing. In 2012 alone, over $14 billion was tax receipted from approximately 86,000 charities. Charities must respect the law, and the CRA has a legal responsibility to ensure that charitable dollars donated by charitable Canadians are used for charitable purposes. The only politics in this story are the very shameful political motivations of the member and his party.
Privacy June 11th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, those statements are simply false. When CRA officials uncover evidence of serious criminal activity in the course of their ordinary duties, they will be able to share that with law enforcement agencies. That is a reasonable expectation that all Canadians would have.
There have been occasions when CRA officials have uncovered evidence of drug trafficking, terrorism, child pornography, and even contracts for the commission of murder, and have been restricted from conveying that information. Contrary to these claims, police forces will not be able to direct CRA officials to search for specific information. Quite frankly, I find the statements of the member opposite extraordinary.
Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 June 5th, 2014
My apologies, Mr. Speaker.
Jobs, the economy, and helping families remain the priorities of our government.
We met the challenge of the global economic crisis head on with our economic action plan. We paid down debt, we cut taxes to stimulate job growth, and we rejected opposition demands for job-killing higher taxes.
Canada continues to enjoy a stellar economic record and to receive international recognition for our economic leadership. This is why I stand in this House today in full support of the measures contained in the 2014 budget implementation act.
This government, through our economic action plan, has created the economic environment that allows Canadians businesses to prosper and Canadian citizens to benefit from a high standard of living. That is the sentiment shared by many. Globally recognized authorities, from the OECD to the International Monetary Fund, have ranked Canada as one of the best countries in the world to do business. In fact, they expect Canada to be among the strongest-growing economies in the G7 over not just this year but the next.
International business press, including Forbes Magazine and Bloomberg News, is equally fulsome in its praise for Canada's success in creating a climate conducive to job creation. Indeed, the facts speak for themselves. There are over one million more Canadians working today than during the worst part of the recession. That is the best job creation record of any G7 country during this period.
Of course, there is ongoing uncertainty in the global economic environment. That is why we must continue to encourage job creation and foster economic growth, the twin pillars of the economic action plan since its inception in 2009, while remaining on the road to a balanced federal budget in the coming year.
We must, and we will, continue to improve the conditions for business investment. We will keep taxes low and reduce the tax compliance and regulatory burden on businesses so they can focus on jobs and economic growth.
There are over 20 tax measures in the budget that would improve the fairness and integrity of Canada's tax system. Today I want to highlight again in this House those measures that address what our government is doing to reduce red tape.
Economic action plan 2014 announced that we would be cutting red tape for employers by reducing the maximum number of times employers need to send source deduction payments to the CRA. These are deductions companies withhold for their employees' income tax, Canada pension plan contributions, and employment insurance premiums. This would reduce the maximum number of payments businesses are required to prepare and submit to the CRA. This action would eliminate more than 800,000 payroll remittances for over 50,000 small and medium businesses. Currently, if employers withhold an average of $15,000 to $50,000 in deductions monthly, they are required to remit deductions up to twice each month. Larger organizations withholding monthly deductions of $50,000 or more must remit them up to four times each month.
These changes are being made on the recommendations of small and medium independent businesses, the drivers of our economic growth, with whom we dialogue often. It would help these entrepreneurs spend more time serving their customers and growing their businesses.
In a country like ours, where 98% of our companies have fewer than 100 employees, the effect of red tape on our economy is significant.
We also intend to launch a liaison officer initiative pilot project to improve compliance within Canada's small and medium business community. Firms will be provided with information and the support they need, when they need it most, so that they meet their tax obligations right from the start.
This will help them avoid costly and time-consuming interactions with the CRA, freeing up businesses to focus on doing business.
We are reducing the paper burden for companies big and small by making improvements to CRA service delivery. For instance, authorized company tax representatives, such as accounting firms, would be able to submit an electronic authorization request to the CRA instead of filing paper forms.
This January, I announced the registration of the tax preparers program. Tax preparers play a key role in the tax system. Last year the majority of adjustments were in the $2,200 to $6,000 range, in other words, relatively minor adjustments due to inadvertence or simple mistakes. But from the CRA's perspective, this is significant and must be addressed. We have five million small and medium enterprises, one-third of which have simple, easy-to-correct errors in their returns.
In Canada, about 70% of individuals and business taxpayers use the services of a tax preparer to help them deal with their tax affairs. The CRA would be able to help tax preparers and taxpayers through more focused support and shift our focus from one of auditing after the fact to assisting in compliance from the beginning.
As of October 2014, businesses will be able to update their banking and direct deposit information online. October is also when the first free online option for paying taxes will be available for business owners registered with My Business Account. As well, a detailed payment history for all of their accounts will be available in one secure and convenient place.
Last year we introduced manage online mail for Canadian businesses. Business owners and representatives can now choose to receive notices of assessment and reassessment electronically as well as some correspondence for their corporate, payroll, and GST accounts.
People can also ask the CRA specific tax-related questions online through the my business account inquiry service. The CRA will not only answer the question online, but more important, it will stand by its written responses. This means that when making key business decisions, people will have the critical answers solidified in writing and the certainty that comes with that.
When people want to talk to a live person, we have improved the CRA's telephone inquiry services for the business community. All CRA business inquiry agents must now identify themselves to the caller using their first name and number and the regional suffix. This agent ID policy ensures a consistent experience for callers and makes it easier for taxpayers to provide feedback on CRA's services.
In our efforts to reduce red tape we are continually engaging Canada's business community, listening to its concerns, and acting on its recommendations.
In addition to our red tape reduction initiatives, I could go on highlighting a long list of new tax credits in this year's budget. They range from recognizing the contributions of volunteers who conduct search and rescue efforts, a very welcome initiative, to expanding the list of eligible medical expenses, and enhancing the adoption expense tax credit. These initiatives would make a meaningful difference in the lives of hard-working Canadians.
I am extremely proud to be helping to implement the 2014 economic action plan, which will help us to balance the budget and generate $9.1 billion in additional savings over six years.
I urge my colleagues from all parties to join us in passing this important legislation so we can continue on our path toward job creation and economic growth across the country.
Privacy May 13th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, our government will continue to protect Canadians, particularly their tax data, while ensuring their privacy is protected. There are rare occasions, I repeat, when CRA officials, in the course of their ordinary duties, become aware of information that any reasonable person would believe is evidence of serious criminal activity.
Let me be clear. Information cannot be shared on the mere suspicion of criminal activity or based on a request initiated by law enforcement authorities. It should be noted that this legislation responds to a recommendation from the OECD for member countries to adopt such measures.
Privacy May 13th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, there are rare occasions, when CRA officials, in the course of their regular duties, become aware of information that any reasonable person would believe is evidence of serious criminal activity.
Let us be clear. Officials cannot share information on the mere suspicion of criminal activity or based on a request initiated by law enforcement authorities.
The amendments proposed in Bill C-31 will enable CRA officials to provide information to an officer—