Accountants urge regulation streamlining

The Chartered Accountants of BC recently recommend reducing the regulatory burden on business and modernizing B.C.’s tax system.

The Chartered Accountants of BC recently made recommendations to the provincial government’s Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services that focused on reducing the regulatory burden on business and modernizing B.C.’s tax system.

If implemented, these initiatives will help businesses manage costs and stay competitive, two things that are vitally important at this economically unstable time.

Creating a regulatory system that is clear and predictable helps businesses better manage capital, stimulates economic growth and attracts new industries and institutions, skilled workers and increased investment. Inconsistencies in our province’s regulatory framework undermine economic growth.

To that end, we recommended establishing a provincial Single Business Licence Program. Given the municipal density that exists in regions across B.C, cutting red tape for business licences makes sense.

Currently, B.C. Chartered Accountants support regional collaboration for administration and services. Our communities share economic issues that require not only effective and informed leadership, but also increased inter-regional partnerships.

As Vancouver Island transitions from a mainly resource-based extraction economy to more of an information- and service-based regional economy, focusing on collective community will help ease this switch.

Resource sharing will also increase access to our region’s investment community and enhance our competitiveness and ability to attract skilled workers.

A Single Business Licence Program for the province would work off of these guiding principles, do more to streamline and simplify B.C.’s regulatory framework and increase the vibrancy of the Island’s business community.

On the issue of taxation, it has been more than 20 years since the provincial government undertook a review of the various forms of tax that it collects.

A fair tax review should assess the province’s taxes and make recommendations on how to create a modern, efficient, streamlined and competitive business and personal taxation system that will positively position B.C.’s economy for the future, as well as meet the financial needs of the government to provide excellent public services.

B.C.’s CAs also recommended turning the B.C. PST into a B.C. value-added tax to ensure the economic benefits of input tax credits are not lost and to allow B.C.’s businesses to maintain their competitive position.

However, if the government moves forward with a PST/GST system that is similar to that which existed before, wherever possible, the new B.C. PST should mirror the GST with respect to registration, administration and reporting. This would simplify the remittance process for businesses and lower the cost of compliance.

In these uncertain times of fragile economic recovery, it is imperative that government policy support measures to stabilize and support B.C.’s economy. Reducing red tape and creating an efficient taxation system will allow our business community to thrive, keep our citizens gainfully employed and provide government with the necessary funds for vital public services.

Woody Hayes is a chartered accountant with Hayes Stewart Little & Co with offices in Duncan, Nanaimo and Victoria.

The Chartered Accountants of BC recently made recommendations to the provincial government’s Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services that focused on reducing the regulatory burden on business and modernizing B.C.’s tax system.

If implemented, these initiatives will help businesses manage costs and stay competitive, two things that are vitally important at this economically unstable time.

Creating a regulatory system that is clear and predictable helps businesses better manage capital, stimulates economic growth and attracts new industries and institutions, skilled workers and increased investment. Inconsistencies in our province’s regulatory framework undermine economic growth.

To that end, we recommended establishing a provincial Single Business Licence Program. Given the municipal density that exists in regions across B.C, cutting red tape for business licences makes sense.

Currently, B.C. Chartered Accountants support regional collaboration for administration and services. Our communities share economic issues that require not only effective and informed leadership, but also increased inter-regional partnerships.

As Vancouver Island transitions from a mainly resource-based extraction economy to more of an information- and service-based regional economy, focusing on collective community will help ease this switch.

Resource sharing will also increase access to our region’s investment community and enhance our competitiveness and ability to attract skilled workers.

A Single Business Licence Program for the province would work off of these guiding principles, do more to streamline and simplify B.C.’s regulatory framework and increase the vibrancy of the Island’s business community.

On the issue of taxation, it has been more than 20 years since the provincial government undertook a review of the various forms of tax that it collects.

A fair tax review should assess the province’s taxes and make recommendations on how to create a modern, efficient, streamlined and competitive business and personal taxation system that will positively position B.C.’s economy for the future, as well as meet the financial needs of the government to provide excellent public services.

B.C.’s CAs also recommended turning the B.C. PST into a B.C. value-added tax to ensure the economic benefits of input tax credits are not lost and to allow B.C.’s businesses to maintain their competitive position.

However, if the government moves forward with a PST/GST system that is similar to that which existed before, wherever possible, the new B.C. PST should mirror the GST with respect to registration, administration and reporting. This would simplify the remittance process for businesses and lower the cost of compliance.

In these uncertain times of fragile economic recovery, it is imperative that government policy support measures to stabilize and support B.C.’s economy. Reducing red tape and creating an efficient taxation system will allow our business community to thrive, keep our citizens gainfully employed and provide government with the necessary funds for vital public services.

Woody Hayes is a chartered accountant with Hayes Stewart Little & Co with offices in Duncan, Nanaimo and Victoria.

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