The New Year delivers bracket creep to Saskatchewan for the third year in a row

Author: 2019/12/27

REGINA, SK: Bracket creep is sneaking into Saskatchewan again this year as the province’s tax brackets are no longer adjusted for inflation which bumps many taxpayers into higher tax brackets even though they aren’t actually making more money. 

“This bracket creep humbug is getting silly in Saskatchewan,” said Todd MacKay, Prairie Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “The government claimed it would ‘temporarily’ stop indexing tax brackets to inflation, but this is the third year in a row the province is hitting taxpayers with bracket creep.

“Taking care of your neighbour’s dog for the weekend is temporary; putting an ice-fishing shack on the lake is temporary; but, using bracket creep to sneakily jack up income taxes by millions of dollars for three years in a row is not temporary.”

Only a few ago, the Saskatchewan government issued a release touting its “commitment” to protecting taxpayers from bracket creep.

“Indexation helps keep taxes in Saskatchewan low by protecting Saskatchewan people from ‘bracket creep’,” stated then finance minister Kevin Doherty in a release issued Dec. 29, 2016. The release went on to estimate indexation would save taxpayers $9 million. “Our government is committed to keeping Saskatchewan’s tax system fair and competitive, and yearly indexation is part of an array of measures aimed at accomplishing just that.”

But that “commitment” ended with the 2017-18 budget that “temporarily” suspended indexation.

According to the CTF’s New Year’s Tax Changes report released today, bracket creep will add about $44 to the average family’s tax bill this year.

The Saskatchewan government could easily afford to restore indexation to protect taxpayers from bracket creep by phasing out the labour-sponsored venture capital tax credit. It’s a tax loophole that benefits only a few select investment funds. It’s projected to dole out $12 million in credits this year.