Financial Pros Oppose Tax Credits for Journalism Donations

One controversial change o in the the November 21, 2018 economic statement was the proposal to provide taxpayers with a charitable donation credit for monetary gifts to non-profit journalism organizations. We asked tax and financial professionals their opinion on this hot topic: 78% of those who responded to Knowledge Bureau Report’s December poll voted to oppose this measure, hands down, even at a giving time of year.

Here are the concerns they voiced regarding Finance Canada’s proposal:

Lyle outlined a common consensus: “Why not just give charitable status for any donation to anyone? Where does this end? Journalism should never be considered as a charity. Either it stands on its own or it goes away. My opinion especially goes towards the hundreds of millions of dollars that the federal government is preparing to hand out to mainstream media. The media should be beholden to their customers only, not any political entity that wants to buy them.”

Peter agreed, weighing in with concerns about media bias: “We have enough issues with biased media at all levels in Canada now, especially with foundations based in the U.S. and elsewhere opposing our oil and gas industry. Charitable donation status should be reserved for legitimate causes!”

Doug commented on the message that implementing this change would convey to the public: “It is all about optics. This is selecting organizations that could have a direct effect on the current government or be perceived to be that way. There is not the total transparency with this money.”

Gay mentioned why Canadians should be encouraged to donate to non-profits with specific, philanthropic agendas: “No. In my view charity is for the relief of poverty, illiteracy and disease. Pretty sure journalists don’t fit that profile.”

Maria agreed with this view: “No! Charity should be restricted to people who need help to survive!”

Interestingly, 98 respondents (21.92%) did vote in favour of the controversial tax break proposed, so it wasn’t a landslide for the nays.

Stephen explained why he’s in favour of this proposal, outlining the importance of journalism: “Journalism, particularly non-profit (independent) journalism, is important to maintaining our democracy and open government transparency. Also, any contributions are voluntary and people should not be wound up because they think taxpayers are funding it.”

And, finally, Olivia agreed: “Non-profit journalism organizations deserve public financial support, provided that they are not fronts for political groups.”

We thank everyone who participated in our last poll of 2018! Weigh in with your opinion on our first of the new year, where we ask: “Last year, only 14% of all tax returns (4.2 million) were paper-filed. Should this option be continued?”

Additional educational resources: Make sure you’re up to speed on the latest tax changes that apply in 2019. Tomorrow is the last day to register for the Winter CE Summit personal income tax update at early-bird rates. Don’t miss the opportunity to join us at these workshops in any of six Canadian cities! Can’t attend? Enhance your education online, with self-study personal income tax courses.


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