'Ridiculous', Timmins business owner upset over potential crack down on employee discounts
Published Wednesday, October 11, 2017 11:05AM EDT
Over the past five years, Sonya Biemann has worked to make her business a success.
Part of that success is thanks to her staff; a dedicated group that she thanks through employee discounts.
However, those discounts could become a new target for the taxman.
"Ridiculous. I'm a small business owner and I find it ridiculous that I have to pay if I give my staff a discount," said Sonya Biemann, Lemon Grass Custom Floral owner.
If the Canada Revenue Agency has its way, those discounts will count towards her employees’ salaries, meaning more money going to Parliament Hill.
The CRA announced plans to re-assess the way employee benefits and discounts are taxed.
However, after plenty of negative reaction to the idea, now the revenue minister's office said they are now reviewing the document.
Biemann feels the change would compromise the point of the discount.
"They're pretty much advertising when they're wearing Lemon Grass clothes or have some of our products, jewelry on, they're advertising, so it's a reward to my loyal staff," she said.
Loyalty that may come at a cost and the Timmins Chamber of Commerce said that cost isn't worth it.
"Just going to complicate an issue that businesses already face," said Nick Stewart, Timmins Chamber of Commerce policy, research and communications manager.
"In terms of employee retention and attraction, which is already a very significant challenge, it's just going to make their job a lot harder at a time when it's already incredibly difficult."
Tax changes aren't the only hurdle small businesses are facing. Coupled with a provincial minimum wage hike looming, small business owners like Biemann feel besieged.
"It's just very disappointing the way that small businesses have to suffer because of the government trying to soak us for everything we have," she said.
Given the intense opposition to the change, there is a chance it won't take effect, but the Liberal government hopes to roll out these sweeping tax reforms come January.