The Yukon Chamber of Commerce wants federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau to come to the territory to hear, in person, concerns about his government's proposed tax changes.

The chamber, which represents more than 700 businesses across the territory, says the changes would have significant negative effects on the Yukon business community. 

In July, Morneau launched a 75-day consultation period for three proposed changes:

  • The curtailment of "income sprinkling," a method by which business owners shift a portion of income to family members, either through salary or dividends.
  • The curbing of "passive investment income," which the government describes as the investment of money left in a corporation, for purposes other than to invest directly in growth.
  • The conversion of a corporation's regular income into capital gains, which typically attract a lower tax rate.
Morneau Vancouver 20170905

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau has said he wants to discuss the proposed amendments with small business owners across the country. (Ben Nelms/Canadian Press)

Morneau has said he wants to discuss the proposed amendments with small business owners across the country, and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has offered to organize 25 forums to do just that.

The Yukon Chamber hopes to be one of them.

"With 60 per cent of the Yukon's population employed by small business, I think we deserve to have an opportunity to at least provide them some input," said Stanley Noel, chair of the Yukon chamber.  

"We haven't been asked for our input, businesses haven't had a chance to provide their input, and that really leaves small business owners feeling like they're being punitively treated without the opportunity to have a chance to at least talk to the minister, and at least look at options and alternatives." 

Other new taxes on the way?

Noel says businesses in Yukon could also be facing more challenges, soon enough. The federal carbon tax is expected to be introduced next year, and an independent financial advisory panel in Yukon is recommending the territorial government introduce a new harmonized sales tax.

Noel says an increase in Bank of Canada lending rates doesn't help either.

"Carbon tax, increased mortgage rates, downward pressure on household income, combined with these changes to the small business tax rates, are really going to have some effects on people."

He says when Yukoners have less money to spend, local businesses suffer. 

"The people that are spending money, keeping the economy thriving and growing, they're going to have less disposable income as we look at new taxes, carbon taxes, proposed HST, and pressures on small business owners — who are also consumers themselves."

Noel hopes Morneau accepts the chamber's invitation, and travels North to speak directly to local business people.