16 Oct 2014

It sounds like there’s good news coming for Canadian families.

Our national finance minister, Joe Oliver, hinted Tuesday at tax cuts that will be announced in the annual fall economic update.

The Conservative government, he said, is on track to balance the budget next year and that translates into tax relief.

There will be tax relief because we are confident we are going to have a surplus next year,” he said, referring to predictions earlier this year of a $6.5-billion surplus for 2015-16.

Oliver already has announced a cut in employment insurance premiums for small businesses and a boost to the child fitness tax benefit.

Income splitting in the spotlight

Many suspect the upcoming tax measures will revolve around income splitting for Canadian couples.

The move allows families with one stay-at-home parent to save on taxes.

Oliver wouldn’t reveal any details surrounding the cuts but he reminded media middle-class Canadian incomes are higher than their American peers.

“The Canadian middle class is now among the richest in the world,” he said.

Trouble is, Oliver’s predecessor cautioned against income splitting.

The late Jim Flaherty said it would not benefit most Canadians, and one study cited by the National Post suggested only nine per cent of Canadians would benefit by more than $500 a year.

Flaherty said Canadians would profit more from extending the universal child care benefit to families with children older than six.

Also in the cards

We can expect to see the federal government double the annual savings limit in tax-free savings accounts to $10,000, along with a tax credit for adults, covering up to $500 in registration fees for fitness activities.

Now it’s your turn. Will any of these proposed tax benefits and credits affect you and your family?