06/13/2018

Here’s When Canadian Families Are Finally Free From Paying Taxes

Charles Lammam and Milagros Palacios, Fraser Institute

Happy Tax Freedom Day, Canada! If you had to pay all your taxes for 2018 upfront, you’d give every dollar you earned to government before today. It’s taken nearly half the year but finally, on June 10, you’re working for yourself and your family.

If it sounds like you pay a lot of taxes, it’s because you do. With different governments (federal, provincial, local) imposing so many different taxes, it’s easy to lose sight of how much we pay in total. We don’t just pay income taxes. We also pay payroll taxes, health taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, fuel taxes, carbon taxes, vehicle taxes, profit taxes, import taxes, various “sin” taxes, and much more.

Some of these taxes are visible but many are hidden, which makes it hard to tally them up. Tax Freedom Day is a handy measure of the total tax burden imposed on Canadian families. In 2018, we estimate the average Canadian family (consisting of two or more people) will earn $115,724 in income and pay $50,464 in taxes—or 43.6 per cent of its income.

And while that’s a big percentage of income going to taxes, it doesn’t end there. That level of taxation is still not enough to satisfy the excessive spending habits of our governments in Canada. This year, the federal government and six of 10 provinces will run budget deficits, spending cumulatively $35.4 billion more than what they collect in revenues. But future taxpayers must inevitably service and repay that borrowed money.

Which leads to another calculation.

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The Reagan Tax Cuts Worked

Thanks to "bracket creep," the inflation of the 1970s pushed millions of taxpayers into higher tax brackets even though their inflation-adjusted incomes were not rising. To help offset this tax increase and also to improve incentives to work, save, and invest, President Reagan proposed sweeping tax rate reductions during the 1980s. What happened? Total tax revenues climbed by 99.4 percent during the 1980s, and the results are even more impressive when looking at what happened to personal income tax revenues. Once the economy received an unambiguous tax cut in January 1983, income tax revenues climbed dramatically, increasing by more than 54 percent by 1989 (28 percent after adjusting for inflation).

 

-- Daniel J. Mitchell,

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