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.
This desire to 'do good' without any financial reward might help explain why the number of Canadians taking advantage of charitable tax credits plummeted from 29.5 to 21.9 per cent from 1990 to 2013, and why under six million people claim the federal Charitable Donation Tax Credit each year despite the fact that about 24 million of us (about 85 per cent of Canadians) make an annual financial donation to charity.
For students, the month of April is quickly approaching and with it comes not only the stress of final exams but also the deadline for filing your tax return. Of course you need to make sure you're paying what the law requires, but you also want to take advantage of some of the ways that students can reduce their tax bills.
Road levy. Recreation and culture levy. Transportation for tomorrow tax. Dedicated road tax. Asset levy. Make no mistake: we want our cities to invest in infrastructure. Sewer, water, roads; these are core responsibilities of local government. But repackaging this spending with a new tax is a slap in the face.
The Conservative budget's failure to initiate a process of comprehensive tax reform is a missed opportunity to lift Canada's prospects for long-term prosperity and growth. Tax reform and simplification would improve Canada's international competitiveness, productivity and economic growth, from both a personal and corporate perspective.
The Harper Conservatives have done a lot of damage to Canada. It has been the proverbial death by a thousand cuts: health transfers, aboriginal education and health, child care, social and co-op housing. The list goes on. It has increased stress on ordinary Canadians and created a huge social, economic and environmental deficit. And it has increased unemployment and harmed economic growth. The big question will be: Can damage be undone without raising taxes on 90 per cent of middle and lower income Canadians? The answer is yes.
Children up to six years old will receive $160 per month or $1,920 for the year. Once they turn six, parents will receive $60 per month or $720 per year until the child turns 18. If you are a parent, it can make you excited about your taxes. However, it is not being paid out as part of your tax refund.
Investing in an RESP early on can give you peace of mind knowing that money is there to help fund your child's education. The earlier you start, the more your savings can benefit from the power of compounding. If you start investing $210 every month for your newborn, their RESP could be worth as much as $30,743 more than if you start when your child is five.
The ecological and physical consequences of blowing our carbon budget, from disappearing coastlines to a melting arctic, are stark but often hard for someone like Minister Flaherty to understand. This ignorance, willful or accidental, is dangerous because it is also obscuring major economic consequences.
Health associations have long been calling for a "fat tax"; taxes on foods that some nutritionists and researchers don't want us to eat or drink. Unfortunately, the lack of sound thinking behind vilifying sugary drinks or less healthful snacks has not changed, nor has the blunt, imprecise, and unfair nature of a "junk food" or "sugary drink" tax. Overly simplistic solutions to obesity that vilify an industry or food product are bad public policy. The reality is that "junk food" taxes or sugary drink taxes are ineffective instruments that fail to recognize the complex and manifold causes of obesity. It's time we put the idea of such taxes in their rightful place: the junk bin.
Canada is a superb creation and initial credit for that must, obviously, go to Canada's founding fathers. How we came about is a fascinating tale of seemingly intractable regional disputes resolved, at least for a time, by new institutions and a new country. Thus, today, inter-provincial debates are similar to pre-1867 tussles where one province's citizens complain of how others are on the federal dole courtesy of tax dollars from the more prosperous regions. And all the provinces again regularly press the federal government for more money.