Tax and fiscal policies must evolve to support economic growth

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Montreal, March 7, 2017 – With the tabling of the 2017-2018 Quebec budget just around the corner, the Quebec CPA Order has put forward eight proposals based on principles of good governance, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency, representing key benchmarks to guide the Quebec Government in drawing up its next budget.

Now that the budget is balanced, the focus should turn to transparency

The CPA Order recognizes the progress achieved so far in restoring fiscal health and stresses the importance of the Generations Fund. The return to structured deficits is not an option for Quebec. It is therefore essential to maintain balanced budgets by taking three concrete measures which are founded on best practices: implementing a permanent tax expenditure assessment process, creating a parliamentary budget officer position, and ensuring real access to the financial statements of public and parapublic organizations.

Eliminating costly duplications between the federal and provincial tax authorities

Having overlapping tax authorities is costly: Quebecers must file a tax return with both the Canada Revenue Agency and Revenu Québec, which unnecessarily affects Quebec’s competitiveness. The CPA Order recommends putting an end to duplication between the federal and provincial tax authorities by implementing a real harmonized sales tax (HST) and a single tax return. This measure would save the Government of Quebec some $500 million annually.

Retail sector: Ending tax inequity

The retail sector is increasingly the victim of tax inequity due to the growth of online shopping outside Quebec. This has resulted in a competitive disadvantage for Quebec retailers, and $177 million in uncollected sales taxes for the government. The Order is therefore urging the government to engage in discussions with the major credit card issuers and electronic payment operators to compel them to collect the QST on international purchases made by Quebecers, thereby ending the exemption granted to foreign digital companies. This is a question of fairness among taxpayers and for Quebec-based retailers.

Simplifying taxation for seniors: A top priority in the context of an aging population

The tax system for seniors is burdened by a thicket of measures that many seniors find difficult to understand, analyze and monitor. The Order believes a major reform is needed to ensure better comprehension and coherence of the tax measures for taxpayers aged 65 and over.

The Order’s proposals are supported by an Aramis survey of some 500 internet users conducted last month which revealed the following:

  • 78% of Quebecers are in favour of having a single tax return.
  • Only 41% of Quebecers consider information on public finances as reliable.
  • 78% of Quebecers support the creation of a parliamentary budget officer position in Quebec.
  • 51% of Quebecers find it unfair that online purchases outside Quebec are not subject to the QST.

“Now more than ever, the government must bring its tax and fiscal policy in line with the many transformations taking place in society, both demographically and economically,” says Geneviève Mottard, CPA, CA, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Order.

Read the brief submitted by the Order (in French only) [+]

About the Quebec CPA Order
The Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec has 39,000 members and 5,000 future CPAs, making it the third largest professional order in Quebec. The Order ensures the protection of the public and the visibility of the profession. It represents all areas of expertise of the accounting profession, including assurance, financial accounting, management and management accounting, finance and taxation.

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Jean-Louis Laplante
Manager, Public Affairs
Ordre des CPA du Québec
T. 514 288.3256 [3024]  1 800 363.4688

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