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Small businesses issue list of priorities for federal government

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Fair taxes for business succession, credit card fees, payroll taxes top list

Ottawa, February 5, 2020 – With Parliament back to work and pre-budget season in full swing, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is urging all parties to put forward policies that make it more affordable to own, operate and pass on a small business, including fair tax treatment of family succession, lowering payroll taxes, and reducing red tape. 

“During the election, all the parties talked about making life more affordable for Canadians, and this theme needs to include small business owners. This year’s budget is an opportunity for all sides to work together to create an environment where entrepreneurs feel confident starting and growing their business,” said Dan Kelly, CFIB president. 

With an aging population, succession is a growing concern for small business owners, many of whom wish to sell their business to their children. According to CFIB research 72 per cent of business owners plan on exiting their business within the next decade, which represents a transfer of assets potentially worth over $1.5 trillion. 

“The exclusion of family members from the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption is the top tax issue small business owners want to see addressed. Almost all parties included something about succession or intergenerational transfers in their election platforms last fall,” added Kelly. “We think that making it easier for small business owners to sell to their kids is something that all the parties can get behind —and it would be a big win for entrepreneurs.” 

“One of the biggest election commitments to small business owners was from the Liberal Party and CFIB is keen to work with government to deliver on the promise to eliminate credit card processing fees on GST and HST. CFIB estimates this could save merchants up to $500 million per year and would be welcome news on top of the Visa and Mastercard fee reductions already planned later in the spring,” Kelly continued.

CPP premiums will continue to increase for the next four years, making it more difficult for employers to hire and retain their employees. Small businesses in many provinces are also facing significant labour shortages, which directly impact their ability to stay productive or grow their business. 

In order to help small businesses stay competitive, CFIB recommends that the government include other measures in its upcoming budget:

  • Pause planned CPP premium hikes and implement an EI credit which effectively lowers the rate for small businesses. 
  • Allocate an equal share of carbon tax revenues between households and businesses to better reflect the share of carbon taxes being paid by each. 
  • Put in place a plan to return to balanced budgets within the next five years.
  • Reduce red tape by improving government customer service, including through utilizing digital technologies.
  • Ensure that the Canada Training Benefit meets the needs of both employees and employers.

“We’re looking forward to working with all parties to ensure that Budget 2020 shows small business owners that the government is serious about helping to create the economic conditions in which they and their employees can thrive,” added Corinne Pohlmann, CFIB senior vice-president of national affairs.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB
647-464-2814
[email protected] 

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.