Today's officially the cutoff for tax season 2013! It's been said that death and taxes are the only certainties in life - after all, 25.5 million Canadians file tax returns amounting to more than $118.6 billion in personal income tax, according to 2010-11 tax year statistics compiled by Stats Canada. While it's easy to begrudge handing a portion of your income over to the government, there is a silver lining to all this paperwork and paying up (and we don't mean that possibly sweet tax refund!). Let's take a look at the services we actually receive for filing - and the top five reasons to feel good about paying your taxes.
The Moral High Ground
Simply put, we pay taxes because it’s our civic duty – it’s one of the big gears when it comes to the machinery we call civilization. In fact, according to the Bank of Montreal’s Psychology of taxes study released in mid-April, of the 94% of Canadians who file their taxes each year, more than half (52%) say they file them because it’s “the right thing to do" - so take comfort in being a productive part of society.
Cleaning Our Water and Fighting Our Fires
According to Canadians for Tax Fairness, an organization of lobbyists geared towards fair tax policies, the average Canadian household receives around $41,000 in public services each year with no mark-up for private profit. Tax dollars pay for firefighters, police services, protect our water and food supplies and keep green spaces up and running – all of which contribute to personal health and well being.
Keeping Up With Infrastructure
Schools, hospitals, roads, parks, courts, public transit – these services come out of citizens' pockets. Think about it - you, your parents, neighbours and friends are responsible for the public infrastructure utilized on a daily basis. Taxes contribute to improvements, services and maintenance so that infrastructure continues to exist for future generations.
To Increase Levels of Attraction
In addition to serving the people, development in health care, education and transportation has an ulterior motive - to make municipalities, provinces and ultimately the nation, more attractive to businesses and investors. Foreign investment is a major building block of a thriving economy. Those same taxes also help to draw policies that regulate the market and enforce fair practices, which protect both consumers and investors.
Paying the Piper
Your taxes help to pay the salaries of public sector employees to keep all the aforementioned infrastructure and services up and running. Taxes pay the garbage man who collects your trash, the police officer who patrols your streets and even the employee at the driver’s license office who takes your picture. Your taxes help to keep wages competitive to attract and maintain hard-working public employees.