It is time to bring about meaningful tax ammendments
To the Expositor:
Your editorial in today’s edition (‘Tax evasion slight of hand tarnishes hard work and success,’ November 15, Page 4) raises some interesting issues, not to mention mixed emotions in the public. As you state, there is nothing inherently wrong or evil in anyone working hard; being successful; and amassing personal wealth. The fact that some later go into public life is their own choice and, for some, beneficial to society as a whole. What most are doing or have done to get where they are, is, as you say, perfectly legal under our system.
What does bother a great number of ordinary citizens is that because of their accumulated wealth, they can afford to hire accountants and skilled financial advisers to ferret out “loop holes” in our overly complicated tax system, and, basically, legally hide vast amounts (collectively) from taxation, while the vast majority of the rest of us cannot afford the high priced help and dutifully, either struggle through our tax return reams of paper every year, or pay a tax preparation service to do it for us. Even if some of us could accumulate enough “extra” income to bury offshore, we do not have the expertise to know how.
One major question many have is: are our banks or investment houses not capable of providing an acceptable (while reportable) return to anyone putting their “extra” income with? A second question follows. Why is it so vital that this “extra” income be hidden away from the government of our own country, and taxed fairly, just like everybody else? We allegedly have something called a “progressive income tax” where one’s rate is based on total gross income. The more you earn, the higher your tax rate is. If income is hidden elsewhere, an artificially low gross and untrue income is reported, allowing the individual to shield their money from taxation while the rest of us pay what the system demands. It has nothing to do with working hard anymore, but everything to do with money making more money but paying no tax on it, and producing nothing tangible for society itself. In short, if the income is earned in Canada, Canadian taxes are paid according to your tax bracket.
Unfortunately, the federal government has known about this for many years, since they created the rules. They know it’s unfair but are afraid to (in some cases) bite the hands that feed them. As with anything, governments move at a snail’s pace to change anything, especially if it effects the already rich and powerful. One need only look south of our borders to see what the frustration of the masses has got them, in the form of the new “president.” They are angry and believed his empty populist promises, and will likely be in for a big disappointment in the end. We can only hope our government will see this and stop talking about meaningful fair tax amendments soon, before we end up in the same leaky, rocking boat.
Keith H. Moyer