Seek­ing in­put

Sto­ries col­lected about tax con­cerns

Cape Breton Post - - Business - BY CAPE BRE­TON POST STAFF

The Strait Area Cham­ber of Com­merce is col­lect­ing sto­ries from mem­bers about how they be­lieve pro­posed fed­eral tax changes will af­fect them.

The fed­eral Lib­eral gov­ern­ment is com­ing un­der mount­ing pres­sure from some groups over the pro­posed changes, in­clud­ing the cur­tail­ment of “in­come sprin­kling,” a method by which busi­ness own­ers shift a por­tion of in­come to fam­ily mem­bers, ei­ther through salary or div­i­dends. Another pro­posal would curb “pas­sive in­vest­ment in­come,” which the gov­ern­ment has de­scribed as the in­vest­ment of money left in a cor­po­ra­tion, for pur­poses other than to in­vest di­rectly in growth.

Amanda Mom­bour­quette, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Strait cham­ber, said mem­bers have raised the is­sue dur­ing re­cent meet­ings with cham­ber of­fi­cials. They also had a meet­ing with Cape Bre­ton-Canso MP Rodger Cuzner.

“We had a re­ally frank dis­cus­sion about the po­ten­tial im­pact to small busi­ness in the new pro­posed leg­is­la­tion and how we think it’s go­ing to harm small busi­ness and he was good to meet with us, for one, and num­ber two, he did com­mit to bring­ing it back to his cau­cus meet­ings,” Mom­bour­quette said.

In a mail­ing to its mem­bers, the cham­ber has asked that they re­spond with their thoughts via email to amanda@ straitareacham­ber.ca or by di­rectly con­tact­ing MPs.

The sto­ries will be shared with the na­tional body, Mom­bour­quette added, “to get a col­lec­tive na­tional voice go­ing.

“We need to hear what is the im­pact to you,” Mom­bour­quette said.

She noted she re­cently re­ceived a let­ter from a small busi­ness owner who started his busi­ness a bit over a year ago. He launched the ven­ture af­ter work­ing in a gov­ern­ment job for about two decades, Mom­bour­quette said.

“He wanted to use his ex­per­tise to start a busi­ness that would be a fam­ily busi­ness, he took that risk … he’s pro­vid­ing work for his el­dest son, I know that his spouse sup­ports the busi­ness as well, he’s taken quite a bit of risk in terms of his fam­ily’s in­come,” she said. “He doesn’t get va­ca­tion pay … he doesn’t get a lot of things that salaried em­ploy­ees are en­ti­tled to in this prov­ince.”

The changes would mean he would not be­ing able to make use of in­come sprin­kling or in­vest re­tained earn­ings back into the busi­ness with­out be­ing taxed at a higher level, Mom­bour­quette said.

“Now he’s fac­ing a great deal of un­cer­tainty that he never an­tic­i­pated,” she said. He’s an ex­am­ple. He’s not rich, he’s never been rich. He lives a pretty mod­est life here in Cape Bre­ton.”

Mom­bour­quette was also due to take part in a round­table meet­ing on the is­sue with another group of busi­ness own­ers from the Strait area.

The fed­eral Lib­er­als say the changes are to close tax loop­holes, with Fi­nance Min­is­ter Bill Morneau ar­gu­ing most busi­ness own­ers won’t be af­fected by the changes if they come into ef­fect.

“We had a re­ally frank dis­cus­sion about the po­ten­tial im­pact to small busi­ness in the new pro­posed leg­is­la­tion and how we think it’s go­ing to harm small busi­ness …”

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