In Canada, there is one set of tax rules for corporate insiders, another for the rest of us. The stock option loophole is among the more blatant examples of this lopsided state of affairs.
It is a favourite of bank presidents and other wealthy CEOs. Under current tax laws, they can be paid in stock options and later cash them in, drawing millions in income. But, unlike a regular salary, the first 50 per cent of stock option income is tax free. What’s not for these guys to love?
Cameco’s $2.2 billion tax trial starts today in Toronto. The same day that MPs from the Parliamentary Finance Committee are in Regina to consult with taxpayers about how to manage priorities in the next federal budget.That committee need only look at the Saskatchewan case to get a clear roadmap about how to proceed.
Wealthy multinationals are getting a reality check. They are waking up to a world no longer willing to look the other way while they play the tax dodging game.
The most powerful example is the recent European Commission ruling that Apple owes Ireland $19 billion in unpaid taxes. The tax dispute was the result of the Irish government making a sweetheart deal with Apple that has lasted more than a decade. The money is to be paid to Ireland – a small country of 4.6 million, which could afford to pay every man, woman, and child over $4,000 each.
Could the situation be more perverse? The world's richest company enjoys generous, possibly illegal corporate aid from the Irish government, while Ireland's youth unemployment rate is 18 per cent and waitlists for health care soar. And it is a scenario that plays out all over the world. This stark reality is the subject of an insightful blog from Canadian economist Armine Yalnizyan.
Unions have often called for increasing corporate taxes as a primary way to raise revenue. But in this recent blog originally published in OntarioNewsWatch, Brad James suggests closing loopholes and tax dodging as a primary goal. James heads the organizing department for the United Steelworkers. But the opinion expressed below is his personal take. You can follow him on Twitter @jamesbrad263