The first time it happened I was taken aback.
A Canada Revenue Agency employee approached me after I had given a talk to a community group in Charlottetown about tax havens. She shared her frustrations and concerns. Mismanagement and misplaced priorities, she said, were hobbling the capacity of the agency to do a good job on behalf of Canadians. Staff were being forced to throw the book at ordinary taxpayers who had simply made small errors in their tax returns. They were no longer able to exercise discretion or arrange for more flexible payment plans. Meanwhile, big time tax cheats were getting off lightly.
It already seems so long since Stephen Harper lorded over our nation. But before memories fade of this awful ordeal, there are some critical house-cleaning items to take care of. Perhaps the most pressing is the need to uncover whether the Canada Revenue Agency was improperly taking political direction from the Prime Minister’s Office. BC Journalist Mitchell Anderson explains why.
The economy has been a key issue in this campaign. And how – and who pays their taxes is an essential part of that discussion. So it would make sense that it would be a hot issue at Thursday’s leaders’ debate on the economy. But there’s a worrisome development. One of the world’s biggest tax avoiders is getting in on the election action. Google is partnering with the Globe and Mail to host a leaders’ debate on the economy.
If you are on social media you might have noticed a campaign by TD Bank called #TDThanksYou.
It is another example of a popular corporate advertising practice that goes like this:
Canada's corporate income tax rate has been cut by one third - from 22.1% in 2006 to 15% today. That costs $12 billion in reduced tax revenues annually. So ask yourself, what have we got for that money? Corporate money in offshore tax havens is at an all-time high while corporate tax cuts during a time of deficits has resulted in cuts public services and an increase in public debt. Economist Andrew Jackson why the math just doesn't make sense.
Luxembourg has been a prime destination for Canadians looking for a tax haven.
Secretive. Discreet. Accommodating.
These features were so attractive that Canadian companies had $36 Billion there in 2013. That's just part of the $199 billion corporate Canada has shifted to the top ten tax havens to avoid paying tax at home. It may profit CEOs and stockholders. The rest of us are getting pretty fed up.