Government making more of its services available online

Technology and farming seem to go hand in hand, especially as farmers turn to technology to accomplish their goals of higher yields and improved efficiencies. 


Like farmers, the government recognizes the importance of technology in business and is providing incentives to encourage its use. 


For example, government is using technology to ease the filing requirements. Farmers can save money and free up time and resources by using these tax incentives and technology. 


Businesses must decide when and where to implement technology.


Upgrading technology is usually not cheap, and cost is often a deterrent. However, the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program helps cover the cost of developing and creating new equipment and technology. 


The idea of developing and creating technology may not seem applicable to most farmers, but a small change or tweak may be all they need to take advantage of these programs. 


Ask the following questions when determining whether you have developed a technology that would be applicable:


  • Is the technological advancement not available to the public?

  • Does it drastically or incrementally improve your production process?

  • Did you create the item to solve a problem you were encountering with your farming operations?

  • Did the development of the product require significant capital investment?


Additional savings may be possible if the answer to one of these questions is yes. The portion of checkoffs used to fund research can be claimed under the program. The rules and filings surrounding these potential savings are specific, and farmers should consult their tax adviser if they think they may be eligible for a claim.


Dealing with the government is another element of running a farm, and much of this work can now be done online. 


Registering under the My Business Account service allows farmers to make online enquiries to the government and receive quicker responses than using the traditional postal system. Farmers can also access their GST/HST, payroll and corporate income tax accounts to review past returns, receive current balances, make payments and submit returns. 


Information such as addresses and banking details can be updated online. Backup documents can also be submitted electronically to help reduce the need to print and copy everything that is communicated. All of these services are available online 24 hours a day seven days a week, which means farmers no longer have to work around someone else’s schedule.


The benefits of technology can be seen all around us. Knowing how to implement that technology and access government programs may significantly affect your time and money. 


Simon Janhunen and Karl Hendrickson of KPMG contributed to this article.

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