CGA-Canada: Federal Budget Disappoints on Tax Simplification
Calling the federal government’s March 29 budget “a missed opportunity” to improve the nation’s tax compliance system, CGA-Canada was nonetheless pleased with many of the Conservatives’ fiscal moves.
“The annual cost of tax compliance is $12.6 billion for Canadian business alone. However, today’s budget came up short on this one critical measure,” said a CGA-Canada response to the budget. “Changes to the tax system announced are piecemeal and will not bring the significant change required to give Canada the cost-effective and efficient tax system it needs,” says CGA-Canada.
“This is unfortunate, considering the impact tax simplification would have for every Canadian household and every Canadian business,” says Anthony Ariganello, FCGA, President and CEO of CGA-Canada. “We hoped for more, and, frankly, this was a missed opportunity for a win-win situation.”
In other areas, the Certified General Accountants were glad to see the government follow through on its promise to cut spending and balance the budget. Measures introduced include:
- 6.9 per cent reduction of the review base in departmental spending over three years.
- Elimination of the deficit by 2015/16.
- Changing the Old Age Security pension age eligibility, on a phased-in approach starting on April 1, 2023, from 65 to 67.
- Reforms to the Public Sector Pension Plan, moving over time to a 50:50 contribution ratio and changing the retirement age from 60 to 65 for those joining the public service in 2013.
- Federal workforce numbers to be reduced by almost five per cent, with jobs in the national capital region mostly affected.
“It’s time to get our house in order after the recent stimulus package spending,” says Ariganello. “Deficit reduction is the first order of business for this government if we are going to get Canada back on track.”
CGA-Canada was also pleased to see the federal government deliver a plan that will not only address the deficit but encourage innovation through mechanisms like industry-academic research partnerships and a $400-million commitment to help increase private sector investment in early stage risk capital.
And on the fate of the penny, Ariganello adds “If you want my two-cents worth, retiring the penny is long overdue.”