Chris Baikie, Business Gazette
Most business owners would rather shove bamboo under their fingernails than organize receipts at tax time. The process is agonizing at best, and can be expensive if you’re paying a bookkeeper.
Don Castling of Calorie Connection (Vending) has a simple solution designed to streamline the process: standardizing the date and time format and location on all receipts in Canada.
“Look at any three receipts and there’s a good chance the date is in a different location on each receipt,” he explains. “Worse, the date formats may not be the same. Is it December the 11th or November the 12th?”
How imagine how much faster you could organize your receipts if the date were always in the same place and format. Those three, five or ten seconds saved per receipt could add up to thousands of hours saved nationwide come tax time.
The more Don thought about, the more the bee began to buzz under his bonnet. So he explained his plan to the Chamber of Commerce, Small Business BC and Don McRae, the Comox Valley’s provincial MLA. He even started a petition on Change.org.
Don says that Mr. McRae was receptive to the idea and brought it up with his colleagues in Victoria, where it quickly became apparent that this was a federal matter for the CRA.
Jane Canotal, of Small Business BC, felt that “due to the logistics of enforcing such changes, it might be very unlikely that they would implement such a standardized system for receipts.”
Don disagrees, citing that more logistically nightmarish changes have been forced upon businesses and they conformed.
“We all remember the HST, or what is sometimes referred to as ‘the New Coke of the BC tax code.’ Switching to it and back was painful, but we all did it because we didn’t have a choice; the penalties would have been prohibitive not to.”
Dianne Hawkins, CEO of the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce, expressed in a letter to Don that although the board agreed that inconsistencies in dating receipts are frustrating for business, advocating for a standardized date format would not “be fruitful” for the Chamber to pursue. The board felt that “the potential costs to business of changing systems that produce receipts would be significant.”
Don respectfully disagrees.
The Business Gazette would like to know what you think. Would a standardized date format on receipts save you time and money? Would you be willing to campaign the CRA to implement it? Don Catling is, and he’d welcome your support!