February Poll

At a time when 48% of Canadians say they are $200 away from insolvency, do you think reducing tax refunds (last year’s average was $1740 or $145/month) would help?

Comments


Unfortunately, the most obvious trait that would happen is simply,  taxpayers increasing their ‘lifestyle’ expenditures.  It’s like quitting smoking - almost all people who save money by doing this, do not save it….they simply spend it elsewhere.

Refunds (though with no interest) always bring a smile to my client faces, and many are disappointed that their refund was not even larger!  It’s a state of mind.

As financial advisors, we communicate to our client about reducing their income taxes withheld at source, but the vast majority want to keep receiving a refund.  They see is as a ‘forced’ saving and a ‘windfall’ for submitting their tax returns.

By Gaetan Ladouceur on February 13, 2020


No, it would not help. Most of my clients expect a refund and yes, it’s gone in no time. Another $145.00 per month would be gone in just the same way and then they would not get that refund at tax time. The people here have been getting their Residential School payouts, $26,000.00 to $50,000.00. It’s gone already and nobody I have spoken with knows where it went. They wouldn’t be able to save $145.00 per month if the government didn’t hold it for them. True, it’s gone in a flash, but they see it as “free money from the government.” I have tried to make it clear that you don’t get a refund if you haven’t paid it to the government in the first place. The government will not refund something if you have never given them anything in the first place. They can’t hear me. No, it wouldn’t help my clients. They are better with their refunds, and if they had that extra bit per month, they would still be very upset when they got no refund. The theory is sound except it ignores human nature.

By Mitzi-Lynne Morgan on February 13, 2020


Of course having more money each month is better than waiting for the refund each Spring, but I have given up educating tax clients on this. They would rather have a large refund. They use it as a forced savings plan. If that helps them save money for large expenses then so be it. Most clients would rather have a refund (even large) than the possibility of owing money on April 30.

By Anni Markmann on February 13, 2020


It is most unfortunate to read one commentator blaming those who cannot save simply as those who “have money management issues”. It is just one of those fallacies from those who are relatively well off.  This commentator should go for some lessons from social scientists on some outcomes of social background on people’s economic status. One cannot save what one does not have. It is share arrogance to always blame the poor for being poor. No one chooses to be poor. Granted that some people may share some blame for their situation in life, majority find themselves in tough situation by accident of birth. Enough of poor bashing folks.

By Maxy C'Kanene Ojukwu on February 12, 2020


no

By NECKY TJAHJADI on February 12, 2020


Many Canadians use the “Rev Can savings plan” as the easiest way to put aside a bit of money each pay period.  We may not like the idea of giving the government an interest-free loan, bu it’s not our call.  If this is the best way for some people to manage their finances, then they should be free to do it.

By Jo Ruelle on February 12, 2020


PS:  It should not be called a TAX REFUND but an INTEREST FREE LOAN REPAYMENT

By Siegfried Merten on February 12, 2020


No because most taxpayers love receiving a refund.  The bigger the better.  Once they realize that the are not getting a TAX REFUND but receiving their OWN MONEY back that they OVERPAID maybe they would realize that CRA is not giving them any extra money.

By Siegfried Merten on February 12, 2020


No this won’t help. Please don’t want to owe so they may have themselves in a higher tax bracket. This is money they don’t really expect to get back cause you never know what a government is going to do especially our current problem child.

By Liza Wiley on February 12, 2020


No, I don’t think it would help.

Those who are $200 away from insolvency are $200 away from insolvency because they have money management issues. If they have another $145/month it would mean they would spend another $145/month and be in the same situation. At least getting a refund will act as a pressure valve release and allow them to pay down a credit card or something like that.

By Aaron on February 12, 2020


My goal is to keep my clients happy.  A refund is what clients want.  For some it is forced savings.  Others just feel like they won something even though it’s their own money.  Tax preparers should remember that their clients come to them to get their refund.  It’s good for us too.

By Jo Anne Knapp on February 07, 2020


It’s always better to have more money in your pocket now, than waiting for a refund that has already been eroded by inflation and lost opportunities.

With that said, when I ask this question to my clients, the most frequent answer I receive from them, is that they are intimidated of possibly owing additional income taxes when filing their return, and prefer to over-pay via their tax withholdings/installments than be ‘hit’ with a remaining balance owing.

They see it as ‘peace of mind’.

By Gaetan Ladouceur on February 05, 2020


In my experience and those of my colleagues, most people with a refund wind up spending it.  If they had that extra $100-$150 on hand, they could use it to save and reduce debt, which would further free up cash flow.  Cash flow is king.  Granted it isn’t everything, but why lend the federal government that much money for a year interest free, particularly if they are paying interest on debt. 

A relatively recent survey (I believe it was published by CBC) noted that 49% of Canadians can’t handle an extra $200 bill in a month without incurring debt.  Those results could be dramatically different if less was withheld from their pay.  Granted, something like half of Canadians pay no net tax after transfers, so it isn’t necessarily the same people getting returns as those who are on the brink or have excessive debt, but with some discipline and guidance, people could be better off.

By Derek on February 05, 2020


Most people who can’t save use this as a savings account that they cannot access until tax time.

By Gale H on February 05, 2020