A huge labyrinth that needs to be simplified


Is there an accountant who looks moody? If not, you probably don’t live in Canada. But if you do, you probably need one. You shouldn’t.

I don’t just mean an accountant. But paying taxes without taxes is incredibly difficult. I mean something moody. It’s incredibly difficult to pay even one tax. Meet “George”, the fictional protagonist of Neil Winnockle’s book “The Grumpy Accountant”.

George and Winnockle want to get them out of business. And here, surprisingly often, it may be necessary to explain to Canadians that they are being abused. In this case, the tax system they take for granted is actually a scandal as part of the price they pay to live in a world-class country.

Like the long waiting list of medical procedures, the length of tax law, the complexity and instability of its rules, the huge budget of the Canada Revenue Agency and its aggressive and slow procedures, and the need to file tax returns are all Unnecessary deterioration, failure of governance, and breach of social commitments.

Wait a minute, you cry. Do I need to file a tax return? Didn’t Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. say “taxes are what we pay to civilized society”? Are you a libertarian in some kind of nut bar?

OK, maybe you didn’t all cry Holmesbit. But yes, he did so in 1927. Yes, they are. No, I’m not a nuts bar that I consider tax and government free. However, the need to pay taxes is not the same as the need to pay excessive taxes in the system, so it’s huge enough to envy the person who created the rack. And, as Winncle points out, there are many civilized nations where most people do not file tax returns.

No, really. Their employers only submit a local version of T4 that tells the government what they have earned, so the appropriate tax rate applies. Here you will be punished if you do not submit the T4 you already have. Crank that a little more, Willia? In exotic areas like England, 90% of taxpayers do not need to file a tax return. In Sweden, 74 percent. And in Estonia, it takes an average of 5 minutes to submit one.

Canadians are a little too accustomed to being treated like the soil at the feet of the government. When I try to call the Canada Revenue Agency, I can’t make a call, but if I wait 90 minutes, for example, and finally get an agent, I get a strict auto-warning to be ungrateful. And don’t be rude because they hang up and I feel sorry for the CRA agents who are actually dealing with frustrated people who are scared all day long. But why do we need to be either? And for a long time?

Some Canadians were actually able to get a “refund” of taxes as if the government had ultimately benefited us by paying back the principal on a voluntary, interest-free loan. I feel lucky. If the CRA thinks you owe them money, then you’ll soon get fed up with interest-free and manners.

Then there are all those tax credits. Politicians love them. Includes Stephen Harper, a man suspected of being a nutbar libertarian who was once found not to be a libertarian because they made you a “micro-target” of voters. This wasn’t the purpose of the tax system, and it didn’t work for him. But I deviate.

I will not do it. As a moody commentator, I want to make all sorts of changes to Canada’s governance. This includes conservative parties that make conservative criticisms of big names such as climate and euthanasia. But if you ask too many of them, can you at least simplify the tax system? Is it so controversial?

There is no principle argument that it is a labyrinth with a bureaucratic minotaur. People hate it. Even accountants, Canada’s vast and lucrative industry for both the maze and the Minotaur, hate it. Economicists hate it. And if politicians love it anyway, well, they also hate it freely. Especially because it’s not a new issue.

As Winokur complains, our tax system hasn’t been radically revisited since Leafs last won the cup. But it hasn’t sat down yet. GST has been added, infuriating the masses who prefer inefficient and invisible taxes. However, the basic tax exemption for SMEs to become unpaid tax collectors was $ 30,000 in 1991, and is still the case today. Is it fair? Logical? Is it arguable?

Our tax law is about 3,000 pages long and tends to transform over a million words. Still, every April 30th, the party advocates reducing to 300, rationalizing social support, and getting most paid Canadians to avoid accountants, tax filing software, fear and disgust. there is no.

If they do it to us and we let them do it, at least we stop pretending that we want a good government. And I’m in a bad mood.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Robson


John Robson is a documentary filmmaker, National Post columnist, Dorchester Review contributor editor, Ottawa News Talk Radio 580 CFRA commentator, and Executive Director of Climate Discussion Nexus. His latest documentary is “Environment: True Story”.