The Government is committed to the objective of an economy that works for everyone. In keeping with this objective, the Government’s focus since coming to office in 2015 has been to reduce taxes and increase support for the middle class and those who are working hard to join it.
One of the Government’s first actions was to raise personal income taxes on the wealthiest Canadians in order to cut taxes for the middle class. Over nine million Canadians are benefitting from the reduction of the second personal income tax rate to 20.5% from 22%. Single individuals who benefit are saving an average of $330 each year, and couples who benefit are saving an average of $540 each year.
The Government has been transparent in estimating the revenue impacts of these measures. On December 7, 2015, when these measures were first proposed, the Department of Finance published a backgrounder on its website: https://www.fin.gc.ca/n15/data/15-086_1-eng.asp. Table 2 of this backgrounder (Fiscal Cost of Proposed Tax Changes) provides a detailed breakdown of the estimated $8.2 billion revenue impact of the two federal personal income tax rate changes from 2015-16 to 2020-21. A footnote to Table 2 states that the estimates of the revenue gain from introducing a 33-per-cent rate on taxable income above $200,000 assume that those affected would respond by slightly reducing their taxable income on an ongoing basis.
In estimating the ongoing revenue impacts associated with the changes to the federal personal income tax rate structure, the Department of Finance has taken a prudent approach that reflects Canadian and international research on how individuals at different income levels respond to changes in tax rates.
Raising taxes on the wealthiest one per cent in order to cut them for the middle class has been a key step towards the Government’s goal of improving the fairness of the tax system and ensuring that the benefits of growth are shared among all Canadians. Measures like the middle class tax cut and the Canada Child Benefit have provided Canadian families with more money to save, invest, and spend in their communities. Families receiving the Canada Child Benefit are getting $6,800 on average this year. These and other measures introduced by the Government to support the middle class and those who are working hard to join it are driving higher levels of Canadian consumer and business confidence and supporting wage growth.
Going forward, the Government will continue to be guided by the objective of ensuring that the benefits of economic growth are widely shared.