Kingston area farmers, businesses relieved as Feds back off business succession changes

Click to play video: 'Finance Minister changes tax plans for business succession'
Finance Minister changes tax plans for business succession
Succession planning for small businesses like family farms off the table in governments tax fairness plan – Oct 19, 2017

Finance Minister Bill Morneau used the backdrop of a family farm just north of Napanee on Thursday to announce the latest revisions to the government’s tax fairness plan.

In particular, the government has backed off on plans around succession planning.

This is welcome news to dairy farmer Angus MacLaughlin. He says when he and his father first heard the governments plans late this summer they both had serious concerns about the changes.

“From my understanding, I would essentially be double taxed when I was to take over the farm from my father if I was to buy him out,” MacLaughlin said.

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Morneau said that was never the intent of the changes they are trying to implement.

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“We’ve decided to take that off the table. We’ve decided that that measure, which was intended to deal with some issues we saw in the tax code, it was going to have some consequences that we didn’t want to have.”

John MacLaughlin says the announcement addresses his earlier worries. He says without them it wouldn’t have been viable for his son to take over the farm which has been in the family since the early 1800s.

John says Angus has better job prospects than farming with a commerce degree under his belt.

“From a financial point of view, it doesn’t make a lot of sense and then if they were going to throw on new taxes I don’t think he would be there.”

MP Mike Bossio says the changes announced over the past weeks are a result of the government listening to its constituents.

“You’re going to end up getting blowback from people but that’s the only way you’re going to know…the only way you can represent your constituents is if you know what they think and the only way you can find out what they think is if you can consult.”

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It remains to be seen if opposition parties will see it that way and whether the changes will be enough to silence their criticism on Parliament Hill.

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