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RM Issue #030710

Tax the rich more? Statistics show they pay their fair share

Monday, July 07, 2003
-- Canadian Taxpayers' Federation

Tax Statistics on Individuals 2002, a statistical sketch of all tax filers from that year, yields some interesting tidbits about who pays what taxes, average taxes paid, and the so- called rich who allegedly don't pay taxes.

In the year 2,000, 22,237,030 Canadians filed tax returns; only 15,411,650 ended up paying taxes. Do the math and you'll see that 6,825,380 Canadians, from seniors to students and part-time workers, may have had taxes deducted from paycheques, but refunds or other changes meant they paid no federal income tax at all.

In other words, only 69.3 per cent of all federal tax filers actually pay federal income tax while nearly a third of filers don't pay taxes at all. Another interesting statistic addresses the question of wealth: 18.6 million tax filers -- 83.5 per cent of us -- earned a gross income of $50,000 or less.

Over 21.6 million (out of 22 million plus) of all tax filers had gross incomes of less than $100,000. Thus, only 2.7 per cent of tax filers, or 598,700 Canadians, earned more than $100,000 annually.

As for millionaires, we do know that only 102,980 of the 598,700 citizens who earned more than $100,000 have taxable incomes topping $250,000.

Tax the rich more? Our economy needs to generate more wealth creators first.

As to who pays what: Total taxable income that year was $618 billion which yielded $90.3 billion in federal income tax payable.

The average individual income was $31,279 while the average tax paid was $5,856 or 18.7 per cent.

For taxpayers in the $0 to $50,000 taxable income bracket, the average income was $19,380 and federal income taxes payable were $2,565 or 13.2 per cent. Overall, this group accounts for 76.2 per cent of all taxpayers (11.7 million out of 15.4 million) and they paid 33.4 per cent of all federal income taxes.

For taxpayers in the $50,000 to $100,000 taxable income bracket, the average income was $65,856 and taxes payable were $10,255 or 15.6 per cent. This group represents 19.9 per cent of all tax payers (3.1 million out of 15.4) and they paid 34.9 per cent of taxes.

Finally, for 596,840 taxpayers (out of 15.4 million) in the $100,000 and more bracket, they paid 31.7 per cent of all federal taxes even though they represent a mere 3.9 per cent of taxpayers.

In other words, the top 2.7 per cent of all tax filers pay 31.7 per cent of all federal income taxes.

Middle income Canadians --13.8 per cent of us -- pay 34.9 per cent of all federal income taxes. The remaining 83.5 per cent of income earners foot the rest of Canada's federal income tax bill.

Should we tax the rich more? No, they pay their fair share. Nor should we stick it to the middle class. Ditto for Canada's low-income earners who find it tough enough already. So Ottawa doesn't have revenue problem, it has an expenditure problem.

Copyright 2003 The Province

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