Canadian Treasurer

February 13 , 2013

CGA-Canada recommends tax simplification

VANCOUVER, OTTAWA—Tax simplification would provide countless economic benefits, according to a report released by the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada). Some of the benefits cited in the report include lower compliance and administration costs, improved efficiencies, better tax planning opportunities and positive effects on Canada's economic growth.

The report from CGA-Canada's Summit on Tax Simplification, convened in December 2012, highlights some of the challenges facing Canada's tax system and outlines key steps towards simplifying Canada's overly complex tax regime. Approximately 60 stakeholders, public officials and thought leaders participated in the summit.

Summit participants discussed how Canada's tax system acts as a barrier to business, investment, competitiveness and economic growth. By some estimates, compliance costs for personal and corporate income tax combined equals approximately two per cent of Canada's gross domestic product (GDP). Many participants agreed that special tax credits - designed to benefit a certain group, industry or sector - add unnecessary complexities and inefficiencies to the tax system.

"Even though opinions varied on how tax reform should be done, we all agreed that tax simplification would be in the best interest of taxpayers, businesses, governments and the Canadian economy," says Anthony Ariganello, president and CEO of CGA-Canada. "Indeed, tax simplification could provide billions of dollars in savings each year that could be used to help deal with other social and economic challenges, or reinvested to boost sustained economic growth."

Key recommendations include:

- reaching a consensus on the definition of tax simplification;

- allowing consolidated reporting for a corporate group to minimize the number of returns that a group has to file;

- reducing the impact of the tax system on corporate reorganizations through more precise rules;

- creating a non-partisan independent commission to study and bring forward options to simplify the tax system;

- strengthening the role of parliamentary committees by equipping them with research support and other resources required to make informed decisions on behalf of the public on tax matters;

- determining the extent to which complexity in the Income Tax Act may be holding back Canada's economic performance;

- ensuring tax policy proposals are enacted into legislation within a reasonable amount of time.



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