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You're already out of time to read the Income Tax Act before tax filing deadline: CTF

April 29, 2019
You're already out of time to read the Income Tax Act before tax filing deadline: CTF
  • 2019 version of the Income Tax Act is 1,113,618 words long, an increase of 12,177 words from last year
  • It would take the average reader almost 62 hours to read it (41 minutes more than last year)

OTTAWA, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is reminding Canadians that with tomorrow’s April 30 income tax filing deadline, it is likely too late to try and read the federal Income Tax Act. That’s because it’s 3,302 pages long – that’s 1,113,618 words – so it would take the average reader almost 62 hours to read (with no breaks).

“Over the years, the Income Tax Act has become so long and complex virtually no one can understand it all,” said CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick.

First passed in 1917 as a “temporary measure” to help cover the cost of the First World War, Canada’s federal tax law was originally just 11 pages long. By 1948, it had grown to 88 pages. After a series of amendments and reforms in the 1960s, many observers complained that the 1970 edition, at 424 pages, was too complicated for the average Canadian.

Now at over 1.1 million words, the Income Tax Act is about the same length as the entire seven-book Harry Potter series (although it is significantly less likely to be made into a blockbuster film series) or approximately as long as Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged combined.

“Tax code complexity is immensely frustrating for regular taxpayers, and increases the cost of compliance,” said Wudrick, “After more than a hundred years, it’s time to work towards a simpler tax system.”

For an infographic showing how long it would take to read the Income Tax Act, click HERE.

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