Canadians are strongly in support of tax hikes on corporations and the rich, a new Yahoo/Maru Public Opinion poll shows, but draw the line when it comes to introducing capital gains taxes on principal residences.
The survey of 1,512 Canadians found that 82 per cent support a tax on luxury goods, including items such as pricey cars, boats, yachts and private planes. They are also in strong support of a so-called wealth tax on those with higher incomes, with 81 per cent of respondents in support of such a policy. Increasing taxes on corporations – something each of the three major parties has proposed – also received 78 per cent support.
But Canadians balk when it comes to the idea of a capital gains tax on principal residences, something 67 per cent of those surveyed say they are against. However, half of young Canadians – those between the ages of 18 and 34 – are in support of a capital gains tax on principal residence, likely a reflection of the affordability challenges in the Canadian housing market.
No federal party has proposed a capital gains tax on principal residences, a policy supported by just 32 per cent of respondents. The Liberal Party’s platform does include an anti-flipping tax on residential properties that would require it to be owned for at least 12 months. The anti-flipping tax would apply to principal residences, although Canadians who encounter “changes in life circumstances”, such as death, divorce or disability, would be exempt. The Conservative Party promised in its platform to “never tax Canadians’ capital gains on the sale of their principal residence.”
While Canadians support hiking taxes on the wealthy and big business, the survey found that a majority are concerned about rising federal taxes in the wake of unprecedented government spending related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The poll found that 82 per cent of respondents are worried that federal taxes will increase, regardless of which party wins the election later this month. Of those who are concerned, 48 per cent reported that they are very worried about rising taxes. Eighteen per cent of Canadians say they are not concerned about potential tax hikes.
Pocketbook issues have emerged as the top election priorities on the mind of the Canadian electorate. A previous Maru Public Opinion poll found that 28 per cent of Canadians surveyed say making the cost of living and affordability better for themselves and/or their family is the top issue in the federal election. Reducing personal income taxes was cited by 11 per cent of those surveyed as a top issue.
When it comes to tax policy proposals, the three major parties vary on their priorities.
The Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party (NDP) have each proposed introducing a tax on luxury goods. The Liberals have also promised to increase the corporate tax rate from 15 per cent to 18 per cent for Canadian financial institutions on profit exceeding $1 billion.
The NDP has also pledged to introduce a wealth tax on multi-millionaires, as well as hike corporate tax rates.
The Conservatives have proposed making foreign tech companies pay a sales tax representing three per cent of their gross revenue.
The survey of 1,512 Canadian adults was conducted on Aug. 30 and has an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.