The av­er­age Cana­dian fam­ily paid $37,058 in taxes last year - more than hous­ing, food and cloth­ing costs com­bined

The Southwest Booster - - FRONT PAGE - FRASER IN­STI­TUTE

The av­er­age Cana­dian fam­ily spent 43 per cent of its in­come on taxes in 2017, more than hous­ing, food and cloth­ing costs com­bined, finds a new study re­leased Au­gust 14 by the Fraser In­sti­tute, an in­de­pen­dent, non-par­ti­san Cana­dian pub­lic pol­icy think-tank.

“Many Cana­di­ans will be sur­prised to learn that taxes— and not life’s ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties, in­clud­ing hous­ing—is the big­gest house­hold ex­pense,” said Charles Lammam, di­rec­tor of fis­cal stud­ies at the Fraser In­sti­tute and co-au­thor of the Cana­dian Con­sumer Tax In­dex, which tracks the to­tal tax bill of the av­er­age Cana­dian fam­ily from 1961 to 2017.

Last year, the av­er­age Cana­dian fam­ily earned $85,883 and paid $37,058 in to­tal taxes com­pared to $30,597 on hous­ing (in­clud­ing rent and mort­gage pay­ments), food and cloth­ing com­bined.

In fact, the av­er­age Cana­dian fam­ily paid more than twice as much of their in­come in taxes (43.1 per cent) as they did for hous­ing (20.8 per cent). The ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties of life, which in­clude food, cloth­ing and hous­ing, amounted to just 35.6 per cent of in­come—still less than the per­cent­age of in­come go­ing to taxes.

This rep­re­sents a marked shift since 1961, when the av­er­age Cana­dian fam­ily spent much less on taxes (33.5 per cent) than on food, cloth­ing and hous­ing (56.5 per cent).

The to­tal tax bill re­flects both vis­i­ble and hid­den taxes that fam­i­lies pay to the fed­eral, pro­vin­cial and local governments in­clud­ing in­come, pay­roll, sales, prop­erty, car­bon, health, fuel and al­co­hol taxes and more.

Since 1961, the av­er­age Cana­dian fam­ily’s to­tal tax bill has in­creased by a stag­ger­ing 2,112 per cent, dwarf­ing in­creases in an­nual hous­ing costs (1,480 per cent), cloth­ing (732 per cent), and food (625 per cent).

Even af­ter ac­count­ing for in­fla­tion, the tax bill has still in­creased 166.4 per cent over this pe­riod.

“Taxes help fund im­por­tant pub­lic ser­vices that Cana­di­ans rely on, but the is­sue is the amount of taxes governments take com­pared to what Cana­di­ans get in re­turn,” Lammam said.

“With 43 per cent of their in­come go­ing to taxes, Cana­di­ans might ask whether they’re get­ting the best value for their tax dol­lars.”

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