OTTAWA — New federal data suggest Canada’s highest earners paid a slightly greater share of the country’s overall income taxes following Liberal changes designed to make the top one per cent contribute more.
The Liberals came to power in 2015 on a signature campaign pledge — dubbed the “middle class tax cut” — to lower the tax rate on the middle income bracket and raise taxes on all income above $200,000.
Finance Department figures say the share of overall personal taxes paid by top earners in 2017 was 25.1 per cent, up from 24.2 per cent in 2014, or an increase of 0.9 per cent compared to before the Liberal measures were announced.
The tax changes took effect at the start of 2016, but a more apt before-and-after look requires a comparison of 2014 figures to those from 2017.
A separate report released today by the parliamentary budget office points at this problem, noting that higher earners shifted income to avoid absorbing a big tax hit in 2016, which affected the data for that year and for 2015.
The budget watchdog’s report estimates top earners brought forward their income to avoid paying higher taxes — behavioural changes that raised government tax revenues by $5.6 billion in 2015 and lowered them in 2016 by $3.2 billion.