The issue of tax havens is inherently international in scope. As a result, the government can use tax agreements to fight tax avoidance schemes. Unfortunately, tax agreements haven't been used for that purpose. On the contrary, they have facilitated the outflow of Canadian money to offshore financial centres, and have done very little to break the damaging secrecy laws of these countries.
Financial knowledge is at the heart of stretching our dollars. For those with a severe and prolonged disability, saving money can be particularly challenging, given the expenses that often accompany disabilities and, in some cases, the difficulties getting or holding a job. And if you are tending to a loved one with a disability, extra costs likely are involved.
There has been some debate in Canada recently over the issue of sales taxes when making purchases on the Internet from abroad. Right now, when Canadians buy products and services, such as clothes or movie streaming subscriptions, from online vendors located abroad, it is the consumers who are responsible for declaring sales taxes.
There's no tax quite as popular as a tax on someone else. But will the people still be on board once the bills come in for collecting the Vancouver vacancy tax, or when the foreign investment tax has to morph to catch the money coming into the country? Or if housing prices are unaffected? Or if housing prices plunge and Canadian homeowners owe more than their home is worth?
Twenty-first century "Canadian" corporate capitalism is quite the racket. Built with public subsidies, a Montréal firm can shift its "head office" to a tax haven and workforce abroad, but Ottawa will continue to use its diplomatic, economic and military might to advance the company's reactionary international interests.
The NDP government of Rachel Notley is showing the rest of Canada, and Newfoundland and Labrador in particular, that when tough times hit, we look after each other. Across the country, the Liberal government of Dwight Ball is showing no such compassion, bringing in tax hikes and service cuts that hurt those with the lowest incomes most.
Is it collusion, corruption or just plain incompetence? That answer will likely play out over time if there is a public demand for accountability. In the meantime, Canadians need a plan to make sure that our leaders understand what we have known for a while -- the tax system is neither fair nor doing an adequate job.
As the deadline looms for honest tax-paying Canadians to file their income tax, word comes this week that the wealthiest among us are going to extreme lengths to avoid paying their fair share. The Panama Papers, at 2.6 terabytes of data believed to be the largest-ever leak of documents, reveal the secret dealings of the world's rich and famous who avoid paying taxes. The scheme is to funnel cash through shell companies offering tax havens around the world. And Panama is just one of many examples.
In the wake of the Panama Papers investigation, federal anti-money laundering agency Fintrac slapped an unnamed Canadian bank with a $1.1-million penalty for failing to report a suspicious transaction and various money transfers. Fintrac hopes the move sends a "strong message" to individuals attempting to short the country's coffers. How's that, exactly?
By making it easier to navigate the tax rules and meet their obligations, Canadians will spend less time and less of their money on preparing their taxes, leaving more in their pockets. For Canadian businesses, productivity could improve as they spend less time, effort and capital dealing with tax compliance and red tape.
For a government that prides itself on holding the line on taxes and cutting red tape, the B.C. Liberals have sure blundered on their new off-road vehicle (ORV) tax and licensing scheme. Late last year, the government began forcing people -- mainly rural British Columbians -- to register their off-road vehicles, including snowmobiles, ATVs and dirt bikes.