Anyone paying attention to the federal election will have noticed that taxes are at the top of issues plaguing the candidates. Everyone's talking about giving money back. The Liberals want to maintain a recent reduction of personal income tax while the Conservatives want to raise the income tax and reduce the GST. Both sides say their system is best for low-income earners and dual-income households of four earning $60,000.
Now all the pundits are weighing in: The National Anti-Poverty Organization says the Tory's proposal is best for the poor since those in the lowest tax brackets pay little income tax and would benefit from a reduction of two per cent on the purchase of, say, a pair of winter boots. Associate Director of Research at C.D. Howe Institute says that the benefits offered by the Liberal plan is a little bit higher for middle-income households who stand to save a whopping $900 a year. And The Canadian Taxpayers Federation Federal Director says both plans are "a viable way to return surplus dollars to Canadians."
Not surprisingly, the reason for all the hoopla is Canadians' growing rage over the burden of taxes. And these so-called Canadians aren't just getting mad, they're getting crafty. Every year, millions of them play the taxation game.
Dodging taxes is unpatriotic and disloyal. But for the sake of full disclosure, I'll take this opportunity to list the most common ways those turncoats avoid the supposedly unavoidable.
1. The "Perpetual Traveler" option - where you become a "previous taxpayer" by exploiting the "resident for tax-paying purposes" laws in various countries.
2. The privacy strategy - where you simply make plans to disappear off the government radar screen, so they don't notice you any more.
3. The Offshore Structuring, designed for those who want to stay on the "right side of the law".
4. The Sovereignty strategy or the un-tax option, where you rely on constitutional or other legal precedents to opt-out of the tax system, becoming, in effect, a tax-protester.
The majority of tax refuseniks keep it simple. They just add write-offs to their taxation forms, and then spend months fretting over a call to audit. But others flaunt the system, enjoying virtually tax-free and worry-free lives. Anyone with enough money can hire specialists who actually help Canadians spend less on such things as election campaigns, Governor Generals' trips abroad and ads promoting our country's unity.
I certainly don't recommend that anyone attempt these methods of hoarding money for yourselves and your families. Be a good little Canadian and give until it hurts. Your country's counting on you.