Very Few Tax Measures in the Ontario Budget

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan yesterday delivered Ontario’s 2012 Budget. The Budget is projecting a deficit of $15.3 billion in 2011-12, $1 billion lower than projected a year ago, and decreasing to $15.2 billion in 2012-13. The 2010 Budget put forward a plan to cut the deficit in half within five years and to eliminate it in eight years. The government remains on track to meet the fiscal targets outlined in the 2010 Budget beyond 2012-13. This includes steadily declining deficits and a return to a balanced budget by 2017-18. There are very few tax related measures included in the Budget. There were no changes to personal tax rates or tax credits. However, there was a significant change with respect to corporate tax rates. The “big business” general corporate income tax rate is currently 11.5 per cent. It was to be reduced to 11 per cent July 1, 2012 and to 10 per cent July 1, 2013. The Budget proposes to temporarily freeze the rate at 11.5 per cent until such time as the budget is balanced. There was no change to the “small business” corporate tax rate which remains at 4.5%. I question the wisdom of the provincial government’s move to postpone the previously promised corporate tax rate reductions. Businesses have relied on the benefit of the tax rate reductions in their planning for the next few years. As such, the rate freeze can really be seen as a rate increase; the tax expense for a business will be higher than what was projected by that business. In what should be a primary goal of the government – to stimulate the economy and get the unemployed back to work – does it really make sense to increase the cost of doing business in Ontario? For a more detailed review of the Ontario 2012 Budget, click on the link on our website:

Don Scott, FCA Director of Tax Services Welch LLP

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