New Data Shows Federal Tax Proposals to Have Harmful Effects on Vast Majority of Small Businesses

New Data Shows Federal Tax Proposals to Have Harmful Effects on Vast Majority of Small Businesses

Ottawa/Calgary – An overwhelming majority (95 per cent) of tax professionals — and small business owners themselves — say the proposed federal tax changes will hurt middle-class business owners and their families, according to a survey released today by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

Dan Kelly, President of CFIB, presented the new data to the Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) in Ottawa last week.

“The government is trying to convince the public that these proposed changes are meant to support the middle class – that they are only targeting high income business owners. The reality, however, is these are broad-brush proposals that are going to affect businesses at every income level across the country,” said Kelly. “Nine out of 10 business owners have told us that these tax changes are significant to their business.”

One of the government’s proposals would make it more difficult for small businesses, including family-run businesses, to share income with family members. According to the survey, this change would affect two-thirds of small businesses, including more than 50 per cent who share income with their spouse.

Another proposal would limit a small business owner’s ability to keep certain investments in their business as a safeguard against future emergencies or economic downturns. Notably, 65 per cent of small businesses hold some form of passive investment in their companies, most commonly income from property or land.

These two changes alone would affect the majority of small businesses in Canada.

“The implications of these changes for small businesses—and by extension to the national economy—are huge,” added Kelly. “These aren’t loopholes for the wealthy, as the government claims. These are legitimate ways for small business owners to grow their business, ensure the stability of the firm during uncertain times, or to save for the retirement. Without these measures, businesses will not be able to create as many jobs for Canadians.”

Other findings include:

–       88 per cent of business owner respondents indicate that the proposed changes will make it more difficult for their small business to grow and create jobs.

–       95 per cent of tax practitioners say that the proposed tax changes will further complicate the tax system and increase the cost of tax compliance for their small business clients.

–       94 per cent of small business owners and 95 per cent of tax practitioners do not support this set of tax changes.

Detailed survey results are available on the CFIB website.

The online survey of CFIB members included two samples: 8,553 business owners and 410 tax practitioners.  The survey was conducted between September 6 and September 14, 2017.  Business owner results are statistically accurate within +/- 1.06 percentage points, 19 times out of 20; Tax practitioner results are statistically accurate within +/- 4.84 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. 

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.