2016 Federal Budget - My editorial comment

First of all, an overall comment that while, it is true that the time to borrow and ‘invest’ is when the economy is down and so are interest rates…  Am afraid that this ‘investing’ will instead be spending money on luxuries, such as arenas and other pet projects, rather than on the fixing and upgrading of true infrastructure. (rant on) If cities want arenas, then they should get the multi-million business, disguised as professional sports, to pay for them…  (rant off).

  1. Child Tax Benefit – Even though I will not actually get anything out of this, while I did get UCCB, I actually think this move is overdue.  Not necessarily the largesse, but the concept to have all the CCB rolled into one.  Though they should also remove the child care expenses off the tax return and throw it into here.  While they were at it, they should have cancelled the GST credit payments.
  2. Family tax cut – believe that as well intentioned that may have been, it did not work well, especially as CRA has started to ‘audit’ it, which is a major compliance headache.  Still think though that Canada should give taxpayers the option of a true ‘joint return’.
  3. Northern Residents Deduction – have a number of clients that really like this one.  Cost of living is higher in the northern parts of this country, and it is good that is recognized in the tax system.  Though I believe it should be a non-refundable tax credit…
  4. Labour Sponsored Venture Capital – have never yet seen a client with one, though I hear it is popular in some eastern regions in this country.  Seems like a waste of administration though.
  5. School Supply Tax Credit – along the lines of the Arts and Fitness Credits – meaningless and a nuisance – glad it is not open to the general population (also the mechanics and apprentice tools fall in the same category).  If they had been consistent, they would have made it an employment deduction, rather than a tax credit…
  6. Ontario Electricity Support Program – do not have a clue on this one, though it seems senseless.  If this program is to help the low incomes, their income will be low enough already to begin with…
  7.  Mineral exploration tax credit – every little way to reach out to the ‘patch’ in these days of low commodity prices is welcome.
  8. Education and textbook tax credit – as anyone above the ‘low’ middle class will realize, they do generally not qualify for the ‘Canada Student Grant’.  As such, the education credits were one way that parents could give their college educated kids get a leg up, without it coming directly from the wallet (some parents think that is all they are some days).  My practice has been to help them, but then also to get the credit that was available for transfer.  This has also been the practice of many of my clients.  Yes, I realize the so-called ‘rich’ do not need the tax system to help them…  Also, when the ex-students get to their income earning years, the accumulated credits were big bucks to them for a year or two…  sometimes to the tune of $15,000 refunds (had one like that just the other day).  Guess this was one of my pets.
  9. Children’s fitness and arts credits – good riddance.  They are a nuisance in the preparation, hardly anyone issued receipts that conformed to the standard CRA would like to see, and they were only worth a pittance.  (Still have to request an adjustment for my own 2014 return as I have been fighting with the kids’ music school for the receipt that has all the required wording).
  10. Switch funds – makes sense to me, and will aid the tracking, in my opinion.
  11. Linked notes – never seen one, so will not comment on these, but seems to make sense.

Will limit myself to the personal tax measures here.

Don’t get me started on the environmental, clean and green nonsense.  The hypocrisy of the present government – it is fine to have the tankers lining up at New Brunswick delivering oil to Canada, but tankers are not allowed on the west coast to export oil from Canada.  It is fine to have trains with oil running through Canada’s cities, inviting another Lac Megantic, but it is impossible to get approval on a pipeline, which is much safer and more energy efficient, and as such, better for the environment.  There is a huge outcry when 20 ducks drown in a tailings pond, but nobody dares to say anything about the environmental damage done by the wind-power generators and solar farms to birds and other wildlife (and wind power is not even economically feasible, as Trans Alta Utilities just recently announced).  (Yes, I love birds, and am an avid bird photographer.)

I will restrain myself from further comment.