QP Live: A nuanced thought on income splitting

Your daily dose of political theatre

Adrian Wyld/CP

Adrian Wyld/CP

Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is question period. If you’ve never watched, check out our primer. Today, QP runs from 2:15 p.m. until just past 3. We livestream and liveblog all the action.

Where were we?

Income splitting’s grand arrival on the parliamentary stage has forced economists to take sides. Is income splitting fair? Unfair? Broadly helpful to Canadians? Mostly unhelpful? Take sides, number crunchers. No doubt the Conference Board of Canada fielded a few calls that sought a position, or at least anticipated the necessity of such requests. This morning, analysis landed in my inbox. The conference board calculated tax bills for four families, each with varying income sources and levels. The dramatic conclusion about income splitting’s fairness, or lack thereof:

Conclusion? The income-splitting tax credit is billed as a fairness measure. The tax system will continue to favour two-income families, but income-splitting does reduce the difference between the taxes paid by families with two working parents. Thus, the fairness of income splitting depends in large part on the perspective through which it is seen.

Especially when it comes to taxes, fairness is often in the eye of the beholder.

That sort of nuance virtually guarantees no one in Parliament will quote your conclusions.

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