Published On: Tue, Aug 17th, 2021
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‘Fair Share’ Income Tax Debate Long on Rhetoric, Low on Factson August 17, 2021 at 6:59 pm

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Commentary As Canadians prepare to elect their next federal government, there are growing calls to raise taxes on high-income earners in Canada, based on the belief that they don’t pay their “fair share.” Unfortunately, political rhetoric on taxes typically involves little discussion of actual facts about the distribution of taxes paid by different income groups. In a new study, we measure the distribution of personal income taxes in Canada and find that the top 20 percent of income-earning families actually pay the vast majority of income taxes. Specifically, the top 20 percent pay nearly two-thirds of all federal and provincial income taxes (63.2 percent) while earning less than half of the country’s total income (44.1 percent). These families are the only income group in Canada that pay a larger share of taxes than the share of income earned. Indeed, all other Canadian families with incomes below the top 20 percent pay …

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