VANCOUVER – The Fraser Institute calculates that the average Canadian family paid $34,154 in taxes of all sort last year, including “hidden” business taxes that are passed along in the price of goods and services purchased.
The Vancouver-based think-tank estimates that the average bill for income taxes collected by governments was $10,616 in 2015.
The second-biggest category was payroll and health taxes, at $7,160, followed by sales taxes at $4,973 and property taxes at $3,832.
The other categories include taxes on profits, liquor or tobacco, fuel, natural resources and import duties – totalling $7,573.
“Most people don’t realize it, but the average Canadian household now pays more in taxes than they spend on the basic necessities of life combined,” Charles Lammam, director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of the Canadian Consumer Tax Index, said in a statement.
The study’s authors conclude that visible and hidden taxes would have been equal to 42.4 per cent of the cash income for an average Canadian family in 2015, estimated at $80,593.
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By comparison, the study estimates the average Canadian family spent $30,293 on housing, food and clothing last year – about 37.6 per cent of the family’s total cash income.
“Taxes help fund important government services, but the issue is the amount of taxes governments take compared to what Canadians get in return. With more than 42 per cent of their income going to taxes, Canadians might ask whether they’re getting the best value for their tax dollars,” Lammam said.
The Fraser Institute uses its own “Canadian consumer tax index” to track the tax bill paid by a family with “average income.”
“The objective is not to trace the tax experience of a particular family, but rather to plot the experience of a family that was average in each year,” the 11-page report says. “The ‘consumer’ in question is the taxpaying family, which can be thought of as consuming government services.”
*With files from Global news