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MINTZ: Pay taxes based on skin colour? They can’t be serious, surely – Western Standard

08 May 2024

Imagine if in her recent budget, federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced higher taxes on capital gains — except for women, visible minorities and black, LGBTQ+ and indigenous Canadians. Most people would be appalled.

But woking up the tax system has many adherents. Just last week, I received emails from editors of two distinguished tax journals — Tax Notes, a leading U.S. publication, and the Canadian Tax Journal, seeking papers on “critical tax theory.”

Are ethnically-specific taxes really something we should be considering?

Mainstream tax theory argues the overriding objective of taxation is to raise revenue to cover the cost of public services. There are three main criteria for a “good” tax structure: efficiency, simplicity and equity.

Efficiency means taxes involve minimal distortion of economic activity: they raise revenue without inducing people to change their economic choices for tax reasons.

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