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Reducing tax complexity a key to economic recovery

The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) today (Oct. 23, 2012) in Ottawa outlined what it views as priorities for the next federal budget if the country is to experience economic growth, job creation and enhanced competitiveness.

Gabe Hayos, the CICA’s vice-president of taxation, told the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance that prudent fiscal management and a focus on Canada’s tax system are crucial factors to achieving a sustained economic recovery.

The CICA applauded the federal government for its plan to balance the budget over time through expenditure controls and for fulfilling its commitment to lower the corporate tax rate to 15 per cent.

“Attention must now turn to reducing the complexity of the country’s tax system,” stressed Hayos. “A real commitment to tax simplication is required from the federal government if change is going to occur.

Simplification would increase productivity and improve competitiveness and we can look to other jurisdictions for guidance.”

The CICA recommends a two-staged approach. First, the federal government should establish an independent office that would provide advice on reducing both the legislative and administrative complexity of Canada’s tax system. This body would focus on immediate or short-range actions.

The UK Office of Tax Simplification could serve as a model.

For a more long-term focus, the CICA suggests the government establish an expert panel to explore major structural changes to the tax system.

Other taxation matters were addressed as well including a call to ease the personal income tax burden to help attract and retain talent.

“We are closely monitoring the pulse of Canadians on taxation matters,” explained Hayos. “The CICA is active all year long, whether it be through special committees devoted to tax or conferences and courses we offer.”

The CICA presentation also addressed financial literacy, innovation funding, reducing red tape, expanding international trade agreements and helping internationally trained professionals succeed in their chosen fields.

Chartered Accountants (CAs) are Canada’s most valued, internationally recognized profession of leaders in senior management, advisory, financial, tax and assurance roles. Through their integrity, expertise, and internationally recognized qualification standards, Canada’s 82,000 CAs sustain their influence and leadership position both in Canada and globally. As trusted business advisors to Canadian organizations of all sizes, Canada’s CAs foster confidence in Canadian business and contribute to the health and sustainability of Canada’s capital markets and economy. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) represents Canada’s CA profession both nationally and internationally. The CICA is a founding member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA).


Discussion Questions:

1. Will simplification of the Canadian Tax system help economic growth?

2. Reducing corporate taxes for small business from 18% to 15%: Will this increase more businesses to venture and invest to help increase economic growth?

3. Will simplification of the tax system ever be achieved due to the complex nature of business?

To read more visit CICA, reducing tax complexity

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