Canadian Liberals Propose New Tax Reforms in 2024 Budget

The Canadian government proposes raising capital gains tax to 67% for high earners, sparking debate over fairness and impact on doctors' retirement savings. The budget also includes $8.5B for housing, but experts question long-term financing.

Sakchi Khandelwal
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Canadian Liberals Propose New Tax Reforms in 2024 Budget

Canadian Liberals Propose New Tax Reforms in 2024 Budget

The Canadian Liberal government has unveiled new tax reform proposals in its 2024 federal budget, following the controversial struggles with tax reforms in 2017. The budget, presented by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, includes $52.9 billion in new spending over the next five years, with a focus on affordability and housing.

The most notable tax reform is an increase in the capital gains inclusion rate from the current 50% to 67% for gains over $250,000 for individuals and all capital gains realized by corporations. The government argues that the current preferential tax treatment of capital gains has disproportionately benefited the wealthiest families, and the proposed changes are aimed at asking the wealthiest Canadians to pay their fair share. The reforms are expected to impact only about 0.13% of Canadians and generate $19.4 billion in revenue over five years.

However, the proposed changes have faced opposition from various groups, including the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), which warns that the increased capital gains tax could put doctors' retirement savings at risk. Many doctors incorporate their medical practices and invest for retirement within their corporations. The CMA argues that the changes will disrupt estate plans and disproportionately affect average hard-working Canadians.

Why this matters: The proposed tax reforms have significant implications for income inequality and the fairness of Canada's tax system. The debate surrounding the changes highlights the ongoing tensions between efforts to address wealth disparities and concerns about the potential impacts on specific groups, such as doctors and small business owners.

Some financial experts, like Jean-Pierre Laporte of Integris Pension Management Corp., suggest that incorporated professionals can shield their retirement savings from the increased capital gains tax by setting up registered pension plans, which would provide tax deductions. The government defends the reforms as necessary to level the playing field between those who earn income via capital gains and other sources.

The budget also includes a plan to spend $8.5 billion on housing to build 3.9 million homes by 2031, which has broad support from Canadians. However, experts like Don Drummond criticize the budget as "not surprising but disappointing," arguing that the government is prioritizing young people at the expense of future generations who will bear the debt burden.

As Canada looks ahead to the 2025 federal election, the Liberal government's tax reform proposals and spending priorities are likely to be key points of debate. The NDP, which has supported the Liberals, may look to distance themselves as the election approaches. Experts question whether the Liberals have a solid long-term plan to finance their expenditures. The ultimate impact of the tax changes, if implemented, will be closely watched by Canadians across the economic spectrum.

Key Takeaways

  • Canadian government proposes 67% capital gains tax on gains over $250,000.
  • Tax changes aim to have wealthiest Canadians pay their fair share.
  • Doctors warn increased tax could jeopardize their retirement savings.
  • Budget includes $8.5B for 3.9M new homes by 2031, but faces criticism.
  • Tax reforms and spending priorities likely to be key election issues in 2025.