Jack Mintz in an email to Brent Fullard, November 26, 2006
“I do want to point out that there is a serious flaw in some analyses especially on the taxation of pension and RRSP accounts. Finance was not right to treat the impact as zero.”
NDP MP Denise Savoie in a letter to a concerned constituent in February 2007):
“I have asked Judy Wasylycia-Leis to investigate a number of concerns. I am confident in supporting her position on this matter: “I am confident that government estimates of future tax leakage are solid”"
Independent economists discredit govt tax leakage claims
OTTAWA, Feb. 1, 2007 /CNW Telbec/ - In remarks delivered to the House of
Commons Finance Committee Thursday, Dennis Bruce, Vice President of HLB
Decision Economics Inc., provided data and supporting documentation to
discredit the Department of Finance's tax leakage claims.
"The department is sharply overstating tax leakage," said Mr. Bruce, who
added that there would be minimal costs associated with a 10 year phase-in of
the new tax on income trust distribution payments.
HLB Decision Economics, an Ottawa-based independent consulting firm that
provides analytical consulting services to industry and governments worldwide,
has been working on behalf of the income trust sector to develop a comparative
analysis of taxes generated under the income trust structure versus the
Mr. Bruce told committee members that his firm worked with the Department
of Finance as it prepared the federal government's 2005 consultation paper on
the tax effects of income trusts. Specifically, HLB was asked by the
department to develop a common methodology and assumptions for deriving tax
Mr. Bruce said that HLB and the Finance Department achieved consensus on
the methodology with one exception - they disagreed on whether to include
deferred taxes. Deferred taxes are derived from distributions, capital gains,
and dividends received in tax exempt accounts. While they are not immediately
taxable, they are taxable upon withdrawal from such accounts.
"The discussions that you are hearing about deferred taxes reflect
confusion about budgeting convention versus policy analysis," said Mr. Bruce.
"While federal budgeting is done on a current basis, federal policy analysis
is done on a life-cycle basis. Accounting for the life-cycle effects of tax
changes, namely deferred taxes, is appropriate in the consideration of tax
Mr. Bruce went on to outline the factors that resulted in the differences
between HLB's tax leakage estimates and the tax leakage figures put forward by
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. These factors include:
1) The Department's assumed effective corporate tax rate for energy
trusts fails to reflect the reductions in the tax rates for resource
corporations from 2004 through 2006, from 27.12% to 24.12%. This
results in an overstatement of tax leakage of $84 million;
2) The Department's figure for income trust units held in tax exempt
accounts is overstated. Derived from data from surveys, Statistics
Canada, interviews and Scotia Capital Markets data, the percentage of
units held in tax exempt accounts is 31 percent, less than the
Department's 38 percent estimate. This results in an overstatement of
tax leakage of $125 million;
3) The value of deferred taxes is excluded from the Department of Finance
analysis. This results in an overstatement of tax leakage of
$80 million; and,
4) The Finance Department's atypical inclusion of the impact of limited
partnerships, which reduces the tax leakage to $45 million.
5) The impact of future legislated tax changes post 2010 has not been
accounted for. Doing so reduces the ongoing federal tax leakage after
2010 by $232 million.
Mr. Bruce stressed that the discrepancies between HLB and the Finance
Department led his firm to conclude that the Finance Department is "sharply
overstating tax leakage."
Specifically, HLB concluded that:
- Federal tax leakage for 2006 was $164 million, not the
half billion dollars stated by the Department; and,
- Ongoing tax leakage, post 2010, after taking into account legislated
tax changes, is $32 million per year, about five percent of the
For further information: Dennis Bruce, Vice President, HDR - HLB
Decision Economics Inc. (613) 234-0080; Cell: (709) 632-1708
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Posted by Fillibluster at 6:37 AM