Minister of Finance Donna Harpauer. Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan

REGINA – As a business owner, do you prefer dealing with one tax agency, or two? Because you are soon likely to find out.

As part of its push to establish more autonomy from the federal government, on Dec. 5 the Government of Saskatchewan introduced Bill-122, The Saskatchewan Revenue Agency Act. It is aimed at establishing a new agency to pursue greater autonomy in tax collection.

“This Act is among the steps our government is taking to protect and defend Saskatchewan’s economic autonomy, industries and jobs from federal intrusion and constitutional overreach,” Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said in a release.

The new Act creates the framework for a new Treasury Board Crown corporation, the Saskatchewan Revenue Agency (SRA). The SRA would be responsible for administering taxes and related programs in Saskatchewan, including taking control of the provincial portion of the corporate income tax system from the federal government.

The government press release noted, “The Bill is basic in its design, containing standard provisions required to establish a new government agency, including its purpose, powers, overarching governance structure, accountabilities and regulation making authority.”

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In-depth, multi-year work will now begin on establishing a structure of a new provincial corporate income tax system. Developed strategies will maximize value for taxpayers and address Saskatchewan’s needs.

“The Saskatchewan Revenue Agency Act is the first step in a larger undertaking related to transforming the province’s corporate income tax system. This transition demonstrates that our government will take the necessary action to stand up for Saskatchewan,” Harpauer said.

NDP Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon said, ““These guys are a bunch of virtue signallers that are trying to pretend they are doing something on this front,” he said. “But all they’re doing is growing a bigger government and making things more cumbersome for business. It’s backward, it costs more, it’s a boneheaded exercise.”

Energy and Resources Critic Aleana Young said on Facebook, “Imagine firing 350 hardworking Crown employees across Saskatchewan, and replacing them with redundant tax collectors in Regina. The CRA is struggling to hire, how the heck are we going to manage to hire the hundreds of new tax officials for this goofy exercise in red tape and added costs?

“Because this exercise will be expensive and do nothing to help anyone. Full stop. It’s a political game that will mean small business owners have to file their taxes – twice. Pay accountants – twice. Saskatchewan people paying for taxes being filed – twice – once in Ottawa, once in Saskatchewan.

“I guess nothing says, “Stick it to Trudeau!” like making people file taxes and pay for them – twice…?”

 

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