Proposed federal tax changes were the topic when business owners met at a meeting hosted by Michael Cooper, Conservative MP for St. Albert – Edmonton.
“These tax changes, make no mistake, are major. They’re radical, they’re unfair and they will devastate small businesses,” he said.
Cooper held the event as a way to inform business owners on the proposed tax changes and how to advocate against them. The meeting was at St. Albert Inn and Suites.
The public consultation period ends on Oct. 2, but Cooper says people should continue to push back.
“The fight will have to continue until we see what the government decides to do,” he said afterwards. “The next step will be for the government to introduce legislation and so we’ve got to keep the pressure up until we see what that legislation looks like.”
The federal government announced the changes in July, which Cooper says was done intentionally.
“These changes were announced by Bill Morneau on July 18, at a time when conveniently most Canadians were on vacation,” he says. “These changes represent some of the biggest tax changes in 40 years.”
He said afterwards that when the proposed tax changes were first announced, he received only a few concerns from small business owners.
In the last month, however, he has received an overwhelming amount of emails, calls and letters opposing the changes. Cooper is now urging people to reach out to Liberal MPs in the area to express their concerns.
Rob Heron, partner and financial adviser from accounting firm Kingston Ross Pasnak, gave the presentation. Since the announcement, Heron has been speaking at various events on the changes.
On Sept. 19 he addressed a room of over 100 farmers at Cardiff Hall.
He said small business owners will be most impacted by changes in taxes that affect passive assets, which owners use to expand their company, save for retirement or prepare for a rough financial period.
“Growth is lumpy, it’s not linear. You have to save for several years,” he said. “You’re a machine shop and you’re looking at buying out your competitor in the next town, you can’t do that on one year’s earnings.”
Under the changes business owners who decide to reinvest their capital gains into passive assets would be taxed at a similar rate as personal income is taxed.
Dave Faulkner, owner of Razor Logic Systems and financial adviser from Charter Wealth Management, says he’s been viewing the changes as both an adviser and small business owner.
Since the changes he has been receiving a flood of calls from concerned small business owners. As an owner himself, Faulkner says he’s now pushed in an uncomfortable corner.
“I spent years sacrificing,” he said. “I’m ready for the retirement sprint, I didn’t prepare for a marathon. I don’t have any time, I can’t pull 100 grand out of my company each year and put it into a RRSP.”
Faulkner said he planned his business around retiring in the next decade, but with the changes he feels like those plans are at a halt.
Cooper said the public response has been “incredible” and is encouraging people to continue to voice their concerns using social media and by reaching out to the government.
For more information on the tax changes and to see Heron’s presentation, visit the St. Albert and District Chamber of Commerce website at www.stalbertchamber.com.