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Capital gains tax hike will cause widespread damage in Canadian economy

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6 minute read

From the Fraser Institute

By Jake Fuss and Grady Munro

According to an analysis by economist Jack Mintz, 50 per cent of taxpayers who claim more than $250,000 of capital gains in a year earned less than $117,592 in normal annual income from 2011 to 2021. These include individuals with modest annual incomes who own businesses, second homes or stocks, and who may choose to sell those assets once or infrequently in their lifetimes (such as at retirement)

On Monday, two months after tabling the federal budget, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland introduced a motion in Parliament to increase taxes on capital gains. On Tuesday, the motion passed as the NDP, Bloc Québécois and Green Party voted with the Liberals. Unfortunately for Canadians, the tax hike will likely hurt Canada’s economy. And the finance minister continues to make misleading claims to defend it.

Currently, investors who sell capital assets pay taxes on 50 per cent of the gain (based on their highest marginal tax rate). On June 25, thanks to Freeland’s motion, that share will increase to 66.7 per cent for capital gains above $250,000. (Critically, the gain includes inflationary and real increases in the value of the asset.)

According to Minister Freeland, the hike is necessary because it will bring in more than $19 billion of revenue over five years to pay for new spending on housing, national defence and other programs. This claim is disingenuous for two reasons.

First, investors do not pay capital gains taxes until they sell assets and realize gains. A higher capital gains tax rate gives them an incentive to hold onto their investments, perhaps anticipating that a future government may reduce the rate. Individuals and businesses may not sell their assets as quickly as the government anticipates so the tax hike ends up generating less revenue than expected.

Second, the government does not have a revenue problem. Annual federal revenue is increasing and has grown (nominally) more than $185 billion (or 66.2 per cent) from 2014-15 to 2023-24. Before tabling the budget in April, the government was already anticipating annual revenue to increase by more than $27 billion this year. But the government has chosen to spend every dime it takes in (and then some) instead of being disciplined.

Years of unrestrained spending and borrowing have led to a precarious fiscal situation in Ottawa. If the government wanted to pay for new programs, it could’ve reduced spending in other areas. But Minister Freeland largely chose not to do this and sought new revenue tools after realizing this year’s deficit was on track to surpass her fiscal targets. Clearly, raising taxes to generate revenue was unnecessary and could’ve been avoided with more disciplined spending.

Further misleading Canadians, the Trudeau government claims this tax hike will only increase taxes for “0.13 per cent of Canadians.” But in reality, many Canadians earning modest incomes will pay capital gains taxes.

According to an analysis by economist Jack Mintz, 50 per cent of taxpayers who claim more than $250,000 of capital gains in a year earned less than $117,592 in normal annual income from 2011 to 2021. These include individuals with modest annual incomes who own businesses, second homes or stocks, and who may choose to sell those assets once or infrequently in their lifetimes (such as at retirement). Contrary to the government’s claims, the capital gains tax hike will affect 4.74 million investors in Canadian companies (or 15.8 per cent of all tax filers).

In sum, many Canadians who you wouldn’t consider among “the wealthiest” will earn capital gains exceeding $250,000 following the sale of their assets, and be impacted by Freeland’s hike.

Finally, the capital gains tax hike will also inhibit economic growth during a time when Canadians are seeing a historic decline in living standards. Capital gains taxes discourage entrepreneurship and business investment. By raising capital gains taxes the Trudeau government is reducing the return that entrepreneurs and investors can expect from starting a business or investing in the Canadian economy. This means that potential entrepreneurs or investors are more likely to take their ideas and money elsewhere, and Canadians will continue to suffer the consequences of a stagnating economy.

If Minister Freeland and the Trudeau government want to pave a path to widespread prosperity for Canadians, they should reverse their tax hike on capital gains.

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National

Trudeau must prove he won’t tax our homes

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Author: Franco Terrazzano 

Actions speak louder the words. That’s especially true when those words come from a politician with a track record of breaking promises and hiking taxes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he won’t send the taxman after Canadians’ homes. But if Trudeau wants Canadians to believe he won’t impose a home equity tax, there’s one thing he must do: end the CRA’s home reporting requirement.

In 2016, the Trudeau government made it mandatory for Canadians to report the sale of their primary residence even though it’s tax-exempt. If you sell your home, the CRA wants to know how much money you received from that sale. But if the taxman isn’t taxing it, why is the taxman asking that question? Is the CRA just curious?

Official Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre confirmed to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation he would remove this reporting requirement if he forms government.

Trudeau must do the same. Otherwise, Canadians should worry a home equity tax is right around the corner. As Toronto Sun Columnist Brian Lilley recently wrote, “For Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party, taxing your primary residence is a bad idea they just can’t quit.”

On June 25, Trudeau attended “a private town hall about generational fairness,” hosted by Generation Squeeze, a group advocating for home taxes.

What do you notice about the theme of that town hall? The government recently used the cloak of generational fairness to impose its capital gains tax hike.

The Trudeau government also spent hundreds of thousands funding and promoting a report from Generation Squeeze that complained of the “housing wealth windfalls gained by many home owners while they sleep and watch TV.”

The report recommended charging a tax on the value of homes above $1 million. The tax would cost Canadians up to $5.8 billion every year, and it would hit many normal Canadians. In British Columbia and Toronto, the typical home price is above $1 million.

Trying to improve affordability with tax hikes is like trying to boil water with your freezer. Higher taxes won’t make homes affordable. Consider this insight 50 pages into the report.

“Owners of homes valued over $1 million that include informal rental suites may try to recover the surtax by passing some of its cost on to renters,” reads the report.

It turns out higher taxes can make things cost more.

The head of Generation Squeeze was invited to a cabinet ministers’ retreat in Charlottetown last summer.

Documents uncovered by the CTF show staff in the prime minister’s office met twice with the head of Generation Squeeze, which included “a briefing about the tax policy recommendation.”

Trudeau has an appetite for taxing people’s homes. His recent capital gains tax hike will impact Canadians who sell secondary residences and cottages. He imposed a so-called anti-flipping home tax. And Trudeau taxes homes the government deems “underused.”

With Trudeau scrounging through the couch cushions looking for more money to paper over his deficits, Canadians should worry a home equity tax is next.

A home equity tax would come with a big bill for a young couple looking to upgrade to a family home or for grandparents who rely on the equity in their home to fund their golden years.

As an example, Canadians that bought their Toronto home for $250,000 in 1980 and sold it for $1.2 million today would pay between $50,000 and $190,000, depending on the type of home equity tax.

The Trudeau government has repeatedly flirted with home equity taxes. The only way for Trudeau to put Canadians’ minds at ease is to act and remove the requirement for taxpayers to report the sale of their home to the CRA.

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International

‘Really, Really Difficult’: Bureaucrats Worry Behind Closed Doors They’ll Be Sent Packing Under Trump

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From Heartland Daily News

“He’s going to get people in place that are more intelligent and are more loyal to him,” a park service employee said. “Now I think he could do a lot of damage.”

Government workers are reportedly in a state of panic over the prospect of former President Donald Trump winning another term in office, according to E&E News.

Bureaucrats up and down the federal hierarchy are concerned that a second Trump administration could cost them their jobs and put an end to liberal programs they worked to implement under President Joe Biden, E&E News  reported.  Trump has, if elected, pledged to implement reforms that would allow him to fire up to 50,000 civil servants at will, with the former president singling out workers who are incompetent, unnecessary or undermine his democratic mandate.

“The first rendition of the Trump administration was really, really difficult, and we saw a mass exodus of employees retiring,” a National Park Service employee told E&E News. “If we do have an administration shift, other employees will also reconsider their positions and move to the private sector. I don’t know what I’ll end up doing.”

Of the civil servants that didn’t exit during Trump’s first term, many worked internally to deliberately obstruct his agenda, according to Miles Taylor, who served as chief of staff in the Department of Homeland Security from 2017 to 2019 and admitted to engaging in such behavior. Bureaucrats are worried that Trump may seek to appoint administrators who agree with his agenda this time around.

“He’s going to get people in place that are more intelligent and are more loyal to him,” a park service employee said. “Now I think he could do a lot of damage.”

To replace large numbers of federal employees, Trump would reclassify them as Schedule F employees, allowing him to fire them at will. The Biden administration finalized a rule in April that would prevent their status from being changed involuntarily, however, allies of the former president have shrugged off the rule by pointing out that a Trump administration could simply reverse it, according to The New York Times.

Amid fear that Trump’s plans may come to fruition, bureaucrats are making moves to ensure the Biden administration’s policies are as hard to repeal as possible, a senior employee at the Interior Department told E&E News.

“The concern hasn’t been focused on who the Democratic nominee is as much as concerns about Trump winning and what that would mean,” they said. “From everyone’s perspective it is get as much done as possible. Also trying to bury into the agency programs [like environmental justice] so they can survive a Trump administration.”

Conservatives are increasingly optimistic about Trump’s chances of defeating Biden in November as the president lags behind Trump in the polls and the Democratic Party grapples with internal disputes regarding whether or not he should be their nominee.

“The mood is somber and incredulous,” one long-time employee of the Department of the Interior told E&E News. “The hope is we will not suffer through another term with the prior leadership, but the fear [is] that if we do, they will target employees they don’t like, make things up to justify whatever punishment they want and just cripple the good work we are doing.”

Staff at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), meanwhile, are also upset and agitated, the president of a union representing some of the agency’s employees told E&E News. “So many of our members lived through the absolutely disastrous first Trump administration and his attempted dismantling of EPA,” she said.

Originally published by The Daily Caller. Republished with permission.

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