Policy Tracker: Made in Canada – Inclusive Tax Policy Process (ITPP)
Where is this policy/position currently at?
After “50 Years of Cutting and Pasting”, Canadian taxation, in general, has become far too complex to understand, administer, and manage. In the present environment, there is a need, and an appetite, to have a close look at the anatomy of the Canadian taxation system to determine best practices, as well as methods of implementation. It has also been determined that a study of other countries existing tax review, and implementation systems that are working, are worth a look.
One of the core issues experienced by the business community today, who truly understand the need for efficient taxation, is the methods of determining how best to create a system of taxation that truly is not only efficient, but measurable, and is in the best interest of all. Similar to New Zealand’s economic statement stating its core principals being simplicity, fairness, efficiency, competitiveness, transparency and regular review.
Because of the unprecedented commitment by governments at all levels to borrow money to manage pandemic related issues, the timing to put a new tax policy process in place to ensure tax efficiency going forward is now.
Further, Canadians say they want action. Canadians want action to simplify Canada’s tax system, according to a Nanos Research public opinion survey on tax, commissioned by CPA Canada. Over 81 percent of Canadians see a comprehensive tax review as a priority for the federal government, with more than one in three (35percent) saying it should be a high priority (i)
A base taxation review system is already in place, and has been time tested since 1994. The system has been created and implemented in New Zealand, and is called The Generic Tax Policy Process (GTPP). It ensures that the tax system remains not only calibrated to political goals of the party in power, but also reflects broader changes the country is going through.
“John Cuthbertson, tax leader for Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand, says the most salient element of the process is that it’s undertaken “holistically,” meaning that specific changes to the system must account for their impact on the entire tax code, including policies governing charities, retirement savings and the environment. The government has dubbed the exercise “a national conversation on the future of tax.”
It’s an impressively transparent process and it offers some important lessons, quite apart from the fact that New Zealanders don’t wait half a century to make big fixes to their system. As CPA Canada’s recent position papers on the subject point out, Canada’s system is suffering from a host of shortcomings, including the loss of our corporate tax advantage since the U.S. slashed its rates; uncompetitive personal income tax rates and thresholds; an overreliance on income taxes; and administrative complexity. (ii)
“The GTPP improves policy and regulatory outcomes and informs stakeholders in advance of regulatory changes. Submitters will often have better access to empirical information on the size and nature of the policy problem or opportunity. Consultation can also enhance voluntary compliance because it allows taxpayers more time to understand why we need to change, and more time to adjust to changes. There is an added sense of legitimacy and shared ownership if stakeholders have been given a chance to provide input into the development of new” (iii)
A “Made in Canada” version of this initiative would finally give the people who pay the taxes in our country to have a say in how, and how much, the required taxes will be implemented, and collected.
The Kamloops Chamber Recommends
The Chamber recommends the provincial, and federal governments initiate a task force to further explore, develop, and implement an efficient taxation system that includes a review and development, and implementation of the New Zealand Generic Tax Policy Process (GTTP) using a Made in Canada mandate.
(iii) Tax Working Group Information Release Document September 2018