Canadian Tax Expenditures and Evaluations Report

The Ministry of Finance released their Tax Expenditures and Evaluations Report for 2010. Although this reading is quite technical for most people, there are a few takeaways in terms of the changes of government tax policy.

For large corporations:

Due to corporate tax reductions, retained earnings and equity will be the most efficient way (with respect to total tax burden) to raise capital, although it is very close with raising debt capital. In the USA, equity is much more expensive than debt, mainly due to deductibility of interest (while dividends are punished by relatively high rates of taxation).

On small business corporations:

Equity and retained earnings remain cheaper than debt financing, once again due to low tax rates. When factoring in the lifetime capital gains exemption for the sale of eligible small business shares, the total tax burden decreases even further.

Further in the report is an interesting analysis on the elasticity of tax rates and actual reported tax collections.