It’s an annual tradition for me to write about the Tax Freedom Day (June 25th in 2005, June 23rd in 2006 and June 18th in 2007) and rant about our high taxes. The Fraser Institute estimates that, in 2008, Tax Freedom Day fell on June 14th. The Institue’s report is a useful reminder of the sheer number and amount of taxes we pay and demand that all levels of government are careful with the public purse.
Some of the big ticket taxes we pay are obvious — federal and provincial Income tax, sales taxes like GST, PST or HST, EI premiums, CPP contributions, provincial health premiums and municipal property taxes — fall into the category. Less obvious is the “hidden” taxes — employer contributions to EI and CPP, liquor tax (which is the main reason why alcohol is much cheaper in the U.S.), tobacco tax, amusement tax, fuel tax, gasoline tax, land transfer tax, motor vehicle license tax, import duties, corporate taxes (which are ultimately borne by its owners) etc. Add it all up and the Fraser Institute reckons that an average Canadian family making $90,678 ends up paying $40,667 or close to 45% of their income in taxes. So much for a “temporary measure” introduced to fund the expenses of the First World War.
The good news is that our total tax burden has decreased in the past few years due to the cuts in the GST and lower income taxes at the federal level and in some provinces. On the not-so-good-news front, the municipal taxes are going up sharply in many Ontario cities.