Canada Revenue Agency

This is the organisation that collects taxes on behalf of the federal government and the provincial and territorial governments, with the exception of Québec. Their data, drawn from the just under 25 million income tax returns that Canadians produce every year, are one of the most important sources of information on income and inequality in Canada. They produce two sets of tables each year: interim tables for the entire country that include all the returns filed for that year, and final tables, which are based on a substantial random sample (almost 2% of all filers), which are available by province. It takes several years for the collection of this data to be completed and so the 2010 tables are for the 2008 tax year.

The interim tables  of 2011 for 2009 are located at:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/stts/gb09/pst/fnl/menu-eng.html

The final tables of for 2003 to 2010, covering 2001 to 2008 are at:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/stts/fnl-eng.html

These tables are available for each year of the past decade. Limited earlier data is also available in CRA’s historical tables, but these must be read carefully. Tax rates and rules have changed very significantly over the years, so too has the value of money. For example in 1962, the earliest year for which CRA provides income statistics, only 749 people in Canada earned taxable incomes in excess of $100,000, while a further 4,129 people earned between $50,000 and $100,000. In 2008, 5,058,770 people earned more than $50,000 and a further 1,412,830 earned more than $100,000. In constant dollar terms, i.e. accounting for inflation, total assessed incomes in Canada went from $130 billion to $827 billion.

In all advanced capitalist countries since the late 1970s taxes on corporations have been declining. This takes two forms: lower rates of taxation rates and greater tax exemptions. The CRA website provides a limited amount of information on federal corporate taxes for the period prior to the election of the Harper government in 2006. These can be viewed at:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/stts/gb06/pst/t2/menu-eng.html

At the same time as tax rates on high income earners and corporations have declined, advanced capitalist countries have increased consumption taxes. In Canada this has taken the form of GST – the goods and services tax, HST – the harmonized sales tax, PST – the provincial sales tax for those provinces that have not “harmonized” their sales tax with the federal GST and a wide range of taxes on basic commodities, such as gasoline, or luxuries such as tobacco and alcohol. Tax information from 1992 to 2003 on GST and HST are available at:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/stts/gb02/pst/gst_hst/tbhtml-eng.html

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