New Capital Gains Change Implemented – Take Action Now!

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland reacts to a reporter's question on her support for the NHL's Edmonton Oilers, as they compete in the Stanley Cup Finals, after her news conference on the capital gains tax inclusion on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, June 10, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

“Controversial Increase in Capital Gains Inclusion Rate Sparks Backlash”

A significant increase in the capital gains inclusion rate has recently come into effect, stirring up controversy among small businesses, farmers, and medical professionals. This change, which targets individuals with capital gains exceeding $250,000, raises the inclusion rate to 67 percent from the previous 50 percent for corporations.

The Federal government defends this move as a step towards increasing tax fairness and boosting federal revenues, projecting an additional $19.4 billion over the next five years. With the bulk of the money expected to flow into federal coffers this year, Budget 2024 estimates a revenue of $6.9 billion just for the current fiscal year.

Tackling Tax Fairness: The Rationale Behind the Increase

The concept behind this tax change centers around the idea of funding essential investments such as healthcare and housing, while also addressing the rising federal deficit. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland emphasized the importance of taking responsibility for current expenditures rather than passing on a significant debt to future generations.

EY Canada tax policy leader, Fred O’Riordan, suggests that this increase is an attempt to maintain the federal deficit below the $40 billion mark. By encouraging individuals to realize capital gains before the change took effect on June 25, the government aimed to generate additional tax revenue for the current fiscal year.

The Rush to Realize Gains: Impact on Various Sectors

Law firms and corporations involved in handling capital gains have witnessed a surge in clients hurrying to realize their gains before the revised inclusion rate came into force. While the Liberal government insists that only a small fraction of Canadians will be affected by this increase, diverse groups, including small businesses, medical professionals, and farmers, have raised concerns.

Farmers Feel the Brunt: A Targeted Impact

Farmers, in particular, have been vocal about the negative effects of the increased inclusion rate on their livelihoods. Günter Jochum, a wheat farmer from Winnipeg, expresses his dismay at the change, highlighting the potential hurdles involved in passing on the family farm to the next generation. The reduction in the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption further compounds the financial burden on farmers, making farming less attractive and possibly leading to the outright sale of farms instead of generational transfers.

The Plight of Medical Professionals: Struggling with Tax Hikes

Medical professionals, categorized as corporations for tax purposes, also face challenges due to the higher inclusion rate. The Canadian Medical Association president, Dr. Joss Reimer, expresses disappointment at the lack of exemptions for family doctors. The increased tax burden on medical corporations could deter healthcare providers from choosing or staying in family practice, exacerbating the existing shortage of healthcare professionals.

Looking Towards the Future: New Incentives for Entrepreneurs

Amidst the controversy, the government has introduced the Canadian Entrepreneurs’ Incentive, aimed at reducing the inclusion rate on eligible capital gains for entrepreneurs. This measure provides a lifeline for entrepreneurs, offering a maximum exemption of $2 million on capital gains and a combined exemption of at least $3.25 million when coupled with the existing Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption.

The Road Ahead: Finding Balance and Fairness

As the impact of the increased capital gains inclusion rate unfolds across different sectors, there arises a need for a balanced approach that considers the concerns of various stakeholders. While the government aims to address tax fairness and revenue generation, it is crucial to assess the unintended consequences on small businesses, farmers, and medical professionals. As discussions continue over potential carve-outs and exemptions, the path forward should strive to strike a balance between revenue generation and supporting key sectors vital to the economy.”



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