1. Family Income Splitting
The federal government plans to spend about $2-billion per year on family income splitting that will mainly benefit high-income, traditional families with a stay at home spouse, to a maximum amount of $2,000 per year. There is no benefit at all from income splitting for single parents, or for two parent families in which both earners are in the same tax bracket, including the middle and bottom income tax brackets; these families with children under 18 represent over half of all families that are the apparent target of the scheme, according to the Broadbent Institute study, The Big Split. Meanwhile, the large savings will go to families with one partner in the top tax bracket and a stay at home spouse with a tax rate of zero. This big pre-election tax cut will directly increase income inequality.
The Harper government’s tax package released Thursday is a throwback to the family policies of a bygone era. It turns its back on the pressing need for affordable, high quality child care; introduces a new tax measure which will mainly benefit traditional families with a stay at home spouse; and brings back the old family allowance in a modified form.
The government’s token response to calls for a national child care program is to modestly increase the Child Care Expense Deduction – representing a tiny fraction ($395 million) of the government’s package exceeding $26 billion. This will hardly make child care any more affordable, and will do nothing to create badly needed new spaces. The deduction has to be claimed by the lowest earning spouse and the increase of $1,000 per child will translate into just $150 per year for those in the bottom tax bracket.Read more
Jennifer Robson / iPolitics.ca
In The National Post, Tasha Kheriddin critiques a recent study on income splitting by Tristat Resources for The Broadbent Institute. Kheriddin argues that income-splitting is just a matter of establishing fairness between families with kids and those without.Read more
Tasha Kheiriddin / National Post
The issue of income-splitting — a tax policy whereby income is reattributed within a household from a higher-earning spouse to a lower-earning spouse — has been front of mind among tax experts, federal Conservative ministers and, most recently, the left-leaning Broadbent Institute. The practice advantages households in which income is predominantly earned by one spouse, since it allows a taxpayer in a high tax bracket to attribute income to a partner who pays at a lower marginal rate (or who earns nothing at all).Read more
If Stephen Harper’s goal was to design a tax policy to make income inequality in this country even worse, he can pat himself on the back. That’s exactly what the Conservatives’ family income-splitting tax scheme will do.
Research from various organizations across the political spectrum has demonstrated already that this tax policy, projected to cost the federal treasury $3 billion in 2015, would be an expensive and inequitable tax giveaway.Read more
Broadbent Institute study finds income splitting would result in many losers, few winners, big regional variations
Detailed analysis of Conservative proposal reveals deeply unequal scheme
OTTAWA—Two out of three families targeted by the Conservative income splitting plan would receive less than $500 while fewer than 4% of such families – some of the wealthiest in Canada – would be eligible for a benefit in excess of $5,000, a new study by the Broadbent Institute has found.Read more