You probably don’t pay close attention to the latest news and requests for feedback from Canada Revenue Agency. Who gets excited about tax forms?
Well, we do. That’s why when CRA recently asked Canadians if they should accept electronic signatures on a couple of forms, we decided to respond. I blocked off some time during my day (during tax season too!), got a cup of coffee, and gave my two cents on the two forms. I did this because I think it’s important for Canadians in general and for our clients. And if we didn’t respond, who would?
The two forms in question are the ones that accountants like us ask clients like you to sign to allow personal and corporate tax returns to be filed electronically.
We’re particularly connected to this issue because we are an entirely remote, cloud-based accounting firm serving hundreds of clients and employing eight full-time accountants. Our goal is to make it easy for our clients to file their taxes and manage their accounting from anywhere they choose. Our clients provide us with all their information electronically, so they don’t need to print things and drop them off to us. We try to be as paperless as possible.
That puts Zenbooks at the forefront of an industry that has been incredibly slow to change. But we’re determined to continue to fighting to make accounting as efficient and accessible as possible.
I thought about sending my response by good-old-fashioned mail. But then I would have had to buy stamps. So I actually sent it in by fax. I don’t even have a fax machine, but I used an email-to-fax service.
I’m not even sure I’ll get a response to my letter or whether it will go into a black hole at CRA. But I’m still glad I wrote it. And the CRA is apparently trying harder to listen to the public; they now have a Chief Service Office and they also opened a program to receive this type of feedback. They’ve actually made a number of improvements over the last couple of years to their online presence and portal.
(If you don’t have a online account, you should definitely sign up here)
We believe for Canada to be successful, Canadian employees and business owners should have the flexibility to work from home or from wherever life and business take them. Taxpayers should have access to their information, and be able to file their returns and other paperwork, from anywhere that is convenient for them.
Requiring our clients to physically sign documents creates an unnecessary burden for them. Travelling to an accounting office to sign a simple form costs them time and money, and it’s also bad for the environment.
So we believe electronic signatures are the way to go. Here’s the letter we sent to CRA on March 4.
Maybe one day we will achieve the goal in our company slogan: No more paper cuts.