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No time to 'shatter the piggybank:' Sudbury business owner weighs in on proposed tax changes

Former chair of Sudbury Chamber says tax changes will drive entrepreneurs away

CBC News

September 09, 2017

Reworking the tax system will likely push people away from entrepreneurship, says Andre Dumais, former chair of the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce. (Andre Dumais Twitter)

Proposed changes to the federal tax regulations have some small business owners seething.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the changes will "level the playing field" for small business owners by closing what he refers to as loopholes currently in the system.

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But Andre Dumais, general manager of Ionic Engineering in Sudbury and former chair of the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, says the Trudeau government is looking to "shatter the piggy bank" and get what money they can from small businesses.

"I'm not convinced [the playing field's] level," Dumais said. "I think it's tilted against the entrepreneur."

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau said income-tax reforms are needed because small business owners have an unfair advantage. (Ben Nelms/Canadian Press)

Morneau said income-tax reforms are needed because small business owners have an unfair advantage that could create two classes of Canadians for tax rates and retirement income.

The small business community is already shouldering the brunt of the economy's tax burden, Dumais said, and rejigging the tax system will likely push people away from entrepreneurship.

"We're setting up a framework that's discouraging people from starting their own businesses," Dumais said. "It's going to have a huge impact in the long run."

Small business owners already have challenges

One of the changes that Dumais says will have a negative impact on business owners is the proposed adjustment to "income sprinkling."

"Usually mom and pop shops will have a number of people from the family working," he said. "They are currently allowed to pay their family members as employees to distribute some revenue from the company."

He also points to the length of time it takes for a business to operate before realizing any profit, which he says is between ten and fifteen years.

"The first five years you're lucky to survive," he said. "In the last ten years us when you start to develop some wealth."

Dumais said the rules are in place to help entrepreneurs get ahead, especially after taking all the risk of starting their own businesses. 

"I look at people in this community that run $20 million dollar organizations and that's nowhere near what they take home," Dumais said. "But on the flipside you've got CEO of banks...not having sacrificed anything."

"You want the wealthy people go chase those guys. Leave the small business people alone. They're' just trying to keep things afloat."

Listen to the interview on CBC's Up North

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The federal government says it will level the playing field with new taxes for small businesses in Canada. But some fear it will shut down those businesses. We'll hear more from Andre Dumais, former chair of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce.  7:31

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