Highlights from the CGA-Canada Summit on Tax Simplification:
- Approximately 60 participants drawn from national associations, academia and think tanks gathered to discuss and strategize about how to move forward on tax reform. They agreed the tax system had become unduly complex and some put forward that at times political visibility trumps good economics. The tax system has not kept with changing demographics and changing societal needs.
- The Minister for National Revenue, Gail Shea, opened the summit describing the government’s efforts to reduce red tape and the compliance burden. “A recent study has ranked Canada as having one of the ten most efficient tax systems in the world. Our Government is committed to building on this success, and continuing our efforts,” said Minister Shea.
- Participants also heard from the UK Office of Tax Simplification on efforts there to reduce complexity. Some agreed that this could be a good model moving forward.
- Key recommendations included establishing a process to study and bring forward options to simplify the tax system. This could include creating an independent commission or providing resources and support to the parliamentary budget officer and parliamentary committees. Participants agreed assurance is needed from the parliamentary process to enact tax legislation. Specific recommendations to simplify compliance were also made.
- In closing, former provincial Finance Minister and Summit Chair Janice McKinnon said there is a solid case that complexity is costly and there are good reasons to simplify and spend resources more appropriately.
- CGA-Canada will be publishing an outcomes report which will be available in early 2013.
For more information please contact: Ottawa@cga-canada.org
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