Courtenay-Alberni Member of Parliament Gord Johns and Canada’s New Democrats are demanding the Liberals double the allotted time for consultations on tax fairness and expand the scope beyond small businesses to include large corporations, loopholes for CEOs and international tax havens.
“I think anytime the government puts forward a consultation process in the middle of July, a 75-day consultation process, they clearly don’t understand small business because small business people are working in the middle of summer, 75 days certainly isn’t long enough,” Johns said.
The Liberal government are proposing changes to federal tax laws including eliminating income sprinkling for small businesses. Consultations will wrap up on Oct. 2.
Income sprinkling is a loophole that allows small business owners to lower their tax load by passing some income to family members.
“This government has broken promise after promise in terms of small business,” Johns said. “They promised to lower the tax for small business from 10.5 per cent to 9 per cent in the last election. They didn’t follow through with that promise. Canadian businesses pay some of the highest in the world. Clearly [the Liberal’s] priorities have been that of their friends on Bay Street.”
Finance minister Bill Morneau and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have backed up the proposed small business tax changes despite opposition from those that would be affected. The Liberals have said the tax changes are about creating a fair system, rather than generating tax revenue for the government.
“The rhetoric that [the government] used along the way is absolutely disgraceful. It’s outrageous that they’re calling small business people tax cheats. These are the people, the very people that have had to go out and create jobs,” Johns said. “It’s very important that we have tools in place to support small business people.”
Johns said the Liberals have backed away from a major campaign promise to close the CEO stock option loophole which costs Canadians $750 million a year.
“The government needs to look at CEO tax loopholes, look at tax havens if they’re going to be looking at small business,” Johns said. “CEOs continue to enjoy tax loopholes where they’re not paying their fair share of taxes. Canada’s wealthiest individuals enjoy tax havens that are costing everyday Canadians billions of dollars a year, and then small businesses are put under pressure as a starting place for what they’re calling tax fairness.”