Dennis Howlett's blog

Cameco ruling shows need to outlaw tax haven use

Like many Canadian companies, Cameco uses subsidiaries and related companies in known tax-haven countries to lower their taxes in Canada. This often-used strategy by large corporations is costing Canadians over $10 billion per year.

The September 26, 2018 Tax Court of Canada ruling on the Cameco case deals with the company’s practice of selling uranium at a low below-market price to its subsidiary in Switzerland, which in turn sells at a much higher price to their ultimate customers. The company challenged the CRA tax assessments that they owed back taxes.

The Tax Court ruling sided with Cameco. Though the ruling only covers the company’s 2003, 2005 and 2006 tax years including about $11 million in taxes, it will have implications for the approximately $2 billion in taxes plus interest and penalties CRA has assessed as owing in subsequent years.

To add insult to injury, in addition to the millions taxpayers are already out from the suit, Cameco will be making an application to the court to recover their court costs - a total about $57 million.

Gender Budgeting Misses Tax Bias Against Women

The government is touting its Budget 2018 as setting a new standard in 'gender budgeting' as a core pillar of budget-making.

It is commendable that the government has committed to examining the gender impacts of the budget in terms of education and skills development, economic participation, leadership, access to justice, poverty reduction and health, and gender equality around the world. However they seem to have forgotten about examining the gender impacts of tax policies.

Action at top and bottom needed to reduce inequality

The government's fall fiscal update has some good news for those living in poverty or who are struggling to get ahead. The Child Tax Benefit will be indexed to inflation and the Working Income Tax Benefit will be increased by $500 million, both moves the Canadians for Tax Fairness and other social justice groups have been calling for. However, while these are important poverty reduction measures, they only address growing inequality at the bottom.

Inequality needs to be tackled at both the top and bottom end of the income divide.

Federal tax reforms will help Nova Scotia and Canada

Federal tax reform could give Nova Scotians some of the funds we need to improve our infrastructure and public services.

There are compelling reasons to support the federal government’s proposed small-business tax proposals. Does that surprise you? Let’s pause for a moment and consider a few facts.

Tax breaks in the last 20 years have benefited Canada’s corporations and wealthiest citizens far more than the rest of us. These breaks have contributed to wealth concentration at the top and entrenched poverty at the bottom.

They have gradually starved governments of billions of dollars needed to pay for vital programs and services. The current proposals will replace some of the tax revenue that has been lost — about $1 billion yearly by some estimates. Taxes and public services have come to represent a significantly smaller percentage of our economy than in most other developed countries — it’s time to stop the bleeding.

Tax System Can Reduce Poverty and Inequality

The tax system can be a powerful tool for redistributing wealth and reducing inequality and poverty. We all benefit (including the rich) from a more equal society with better population health, reduced crime, and better education. Recent research also now shows that lower inequality also means better employment opportunities and a more vigorous economy, again, from which we all benefit, rich or poor.

Paying Your Taxes is Political Crap? Game on, Apple

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.

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