Thursday, January 22, 2009

Simple Tax Relief and a Capital Holiday

One hopes the January 27 Federal Budget will allow Canadians to keep more of their own money and invest it with confidence.

Cuts in personal and corporate taxes, as well as a holiday from the capital gains tax (which would be relatively painless, since not many Canadians are fretting about how to offset gains just now), would place billions of stimulus dollars in the hands of private citizens and go a long way toward helping our country through its economic troubles.

While theyʼre at it, letʼs hope the government extends the end date for income trusts past 2011. Setting aside the questionable wisdom of cancelling the trusts in the first place, our economy was rather different when that decision was made. The price of energy was heading for the stratosphere and markets were in reasonable shape. It may seem awkward for the Tories to change course on this issue yet again, having repeatedly promised to leave income trusts untouched before reversing themselves completely, but inconsistent wisdom is preferable to intransigent folly. To wit, flip-flops can be forgiven, so long as you land the right way up.

Finally, when it comes to letting Canadians keep their own money, donʼt gild the lily. Make a tax cut a tax cut, not a credit where a person has to reinvest in government-approved silly-bears then run to the Parliament Hill parking lot and touch the hood of Michael Ignatieffʼs Thunderbird before getting any benefit. For once, make Canadian tax relief comprehensive and simple.

Theo Caldwell, President of Caldwell Asset Management, Inc., is an investment advisor in the United States and Canada.