No budget would be complete without a few goodies, and this year they’re for the athletically inclined.
Documents dropped in Ottawa today propose “to permanently eliminate all tariffs on…sports and athletic equipment (excluding bicycles). This measure will support Canadian families and encourage physical activity and healthy living by lowering the costs of importing these goods.”
Michelle Munro, director of tax planning at Fidelity Investments, says the proposed slash “is just an add-on like the fitness or arts credit.”
David Mason, partner in the tax practice at Deloitte, adds another wrinkle. During the lock-up Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the move was a trial to see what would happen when tariffs are eliminated, although Flaherty didn’t elaborate further.
Tariffs on effected items are currently 2.5% on the low end, and 20% on the high. If approved, changes will take effect April 1.
Families who plan to adopt children also stand to benefit. Currently there’s a 15% credit for all eligible adoption-related expenses, but only in the year the adoption is finalized.
“Prior to that there’s a year or two of expenses that aren’t eligible for the credit. They’re now proposing to allow parents to claim expenses from the point they complete the application to time the adoption takes place,” Dave Walsh, a partner in Ernst & Young’s tax practice explains.
But we’re not talking about baby carriages. Eligible expenses are limited to costs associated with the administrative process of adoption. For instance, fees associated with the course prospective parents must take, and home inspections that help determine their suitability.
All parents—adoptive or not—will be glad to learn that, like tariffs on sporting goods, those currently imposed on baby clothes will be axed.
Walsh suggests the government “is where it wants to be” on personal tax rates, though there’s room for improvement.
“They made a decision a couple of years ago to cut the GST instead of personal income taxes,” Walsh says, adding it would have been better to do it the other way around.
Mason also hoped for but didn’t expect a reduction to personal rates. He also suggests a political logic to reducing consumption tax over personal rates.
“Reducing the consumption tax is good politics: every time you purchase something you see the reduction. When you cut income tax it’s not as easy to see,” he says.