Canadian Tax System Too Complex

Huge Gold Loonie by Greg Nehring
Huge Gold Loonie by Greg Nehring

According to a BMO Tax Season Study, the majority of Canadians are looking for a more simplified tax system that reduces capital gains and adds more tax incentives for home ownership or renovations.

Approximately 70% of the Canadian government’s income comes from taxation. Canadians pay personal income taxes (40% of total tax revenue), corporate taxes (companies pay tax on profit income and on capital), federal sales tax, provincial sales taxes (in all provinces except Alberta), property taxes (on residential, industrial, and commercial properties), excise taxes (taxes on inelastic goods such as gasoline, cigarettes, et cetera), estate taxes, international taxes (taxes based on companies’ world-wide income), payroll taxes (“Employer Health Tax”), and health and prescription insurance tax (in all provinces except Alberta).

Canadian families paid more on taxes than on food, clothing, and shelter combined in 2010, reports a study released by the Fraser Institute. “The average Canadian family has seen its total tax bill increase by an astounding 1,686 per cent over the past 49 years. As a result, taxes have become the most significant item in family budgets,” noted Niels Veldhuis, Fraser Institute senior economist, in a press release.

Canada has the second highest taxes on property, accounting for 3.5% of the national GDP in 2009. It has increased by 0.1% since previous years, and Canada has always hovered near the top of the list of highest tax properties.

BMO’s survey showed that 69% of Canadians are interested in more family-friendly tax incentives. More than three-quarters would like more tax incentives for home ownership and renovations, 62% would like to see a reduction in capital gains tax, 57% would like to move to a flatter tax model, and most Canadians (64%) would like social benefits payments delivered through their tax return.

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