Northern living tax break needs 50% hike, committee says

The amount that Northerners are allowed to deduct from their income taxes needs to be increased by as much as 50 per cent, a government committee tasked with stimulating the N.W.T. economy recommends.

The amount that Northerners are allowed to deduct from their income taxes needs to be increased by as much as 50 per cent, a government committee tasked with stimulating the N.W.T. economy recommends.

With a mouthful of a name, the Economic Opportunities Strategy Governance Committee is a GNWT agency aimed at coming up with big picture strategies to boost the territory's economy and spending power.

In a recent report, the committee recommended upping the amount of that tax break by as much as 50 per cent, to $9,500 a year.

The cost of living — everything from rent, to the price for goods and services that often have to come from far afield — is consistently much higher in Northern Canada. The government has a number of programs in place designed to offset that, but they're not going far enough, the committee recommended.

That move could help encourage more people who come to the N.W.T. for work to stay and live here. The government estimates that wages paid to people who work in N.W.T. mines but do not live here is about $380 million a year.

Increasing the residency deduction was one of 110 actions the committee recommended in its report.

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