Smith argues that basing taxation income solely on individual earning patterns, and not permitting declaration admitting
income is shared, is inconsistent with other laws, fails to recognize the contributions of the unpaid sector of an economy,
causes undue hardship and is a violation of Charter rights about freedom of conscience and about equal benefit under the law.
Canada bases its taxes on the income of the individual only. There is no option to declare that your income is shared
with or spread over other people and to have a different tax rate based on the sharing of income. Other nations permit the
second category of taxation for those who do share income.
At the heart of the discussion is really what the value is of having an adult who is not paid, a nonsalaried citizen,
and whether that role is of value and if it is of value, to whom it is of value. The penalty on the single income lifestyle
assumes the role is of little value and that the nonearner is notworking, and is only a dependent on the earner.
Therefore the issue about the single income tax penalty is closely linked to advocacy to recognize unpaid labor as a vital
part of an economy, and to the womens rights movement to recognize that caregiving work at home, a historical female role,
has always had great value to the nation. This therefore though on the face of it a tax issue, is also a human rights issue
and a womens rights issue.
1970 The Royal Commission on the Status of Women said that taking care of a child at home was also work. IT said these
services have an economic value, even though they are not included in the estimates of the Gross National Product, because
they cannot yet be adequately measured. The housewife who remains at home is just as much a producer of goods and services
as the paid worker.
Nov 2005 Globe and Mail reports that on a household income of $40,000, the dual earner couples pays $2444 tax while the
single earner pays $4529
On $60,000 income the dual pays $2015 while the single pays $8915
On $75,000 income the dual pays $5365 while the single pays $12,317
On $100,000 income the dual pays $11,064 while the single pays $18,817
The single income family pays taxes 4278% higher.
Oct 2004 Kurt Oelschlagel, CA of BDO Dunwoody has found that for households earning $61,416.37, the equal earning spouse
arrangement of $30,528 each approximately pays tax of $6524 while the arrangement where one spouse earns $55,000 while the
other earns $5,000 pays about $9547 tax, 46% higher.
April 2004 Niels Velduis, economist has found that for households earning $40,000 the single income household pays a
penalty of $4973 more tax than does the dual earner household.
2002 Heather GoreHickman, CA, has calculated that for BC households earning $60,000 the household earning $30,000 and
$30,00 pays $9053 in tax,
The household earning $36,000 and $24,000 pays $10,212 in tax.
The household earning $50,000 and $10,000 pays $11.601 in tax
The household earning $60,000 and zero pays $12,849 in tax.
The single income family at the bottom pays a penalty of 42% higher tax rate on the household with the same total income
that happens to have two earners of equal salary.
Many feel this unequal taxation violates a principle of horizontal equity, whereby those with the same ability to pay
tax should pay the same tax.
1992 Dr. Chris Gerard in The Taxpayer notes that for households earning $60,000, the common law dual income family pays
$7580 tax, the dual income married couple pays $10,725 tax and the single income married couple pays $17,824 tax
1990 The Fraser Institute in Tax Facts Seven notes that all dual income families pay less tax than equalearning single
income families and that the largest differences appear to be at the lowest income levels. On a household income of $15,000,
the single income family pays double the tax of the dual earner household.
The nonearning spouse currently is recognized in tax law only as a dependent of the earner and the deduction federally
is less than that of a general personal deduction, the assumption possibly being that the lower income spouse has no or fewer
expenses than any other full person. These assumptions have been questioned by womens rights advocates.
For nonearning spouses or those of low income, there is a deduction permitted for them as spousal dependents’.
This spousal deduction was created in 1918. In the 1950s it was $1000 when an average income was $3,000 so it was about onethird
of an average income. It rose with the cost of living and in 1987 was $3666. In 1988 it was converted to a nonrefundable
credit. The actual value of this deduction was reduced at the same time. In 1993 the value was $915 for federal taxes or $1418
for federal and provincial.
By 2005 it was less than oneseventh of an average income, considerably lower than the minimum wage and there are some
commentators, such as Dr. Kathleen Lahey of Queens, who are suggesting it be reduced to zero to provide incentives for women
to work outside the home.
Single earner lifestyles are less common than dual earner.
In 1999 60.5% of husbandwife families were dual earner and 22.7% were single earner.
Single earner lifestyles are the lower earning style.
1995 single earner earn $58,085 while dual earner homes earn $68,347
contrary to the myth that the single earner household is the wealthy one.
Assumptions of individual based tax only
1. that the goal of tax should be to encourage each adult works/ contributes/ is useful/ is not lazy
2. that the only kind of work that matters is paid work. That there is no such thing as unpaid work. Unpaid tasks must
be leisure, personal or selfindulgent, even
indulgences of selfishness and not serving society male dominated traditional definition of work, productivity and GDP,
ignoring unpaid labor
1970 –The Royal Commission on the Status of Women said that taking care of a child at home was also work. IT
said these services ‘have an economic value, even though they are not included in the estimates of the Gross National
Product, because they cannot yet be adequately measured. The housewife who remains at home is just as much a producer of
goods and services as the paid worker.
3. that the goal of tax should be to encourage people to be independent
and not dependent on another a moral principle against laziness – Christian work ethic
4. that being dependent financially is the same as being dependent morally
The financial definition of definition of dependency is assumed when in fact
In practical terms the earner depends on the athome spouse for domestic
Roles, caregiving of the family, maintenance of the home and of family connections in the larger community. The child
depends on the protection, feeding and nurturing of the unpaid worker in order to survive. The community also depends on the
unpaid worker as a backup for the paid work force, to care for the sick, to do volunteer work, to read to the young and drive
cancer patients to appointments and care For the elderly and dying. The tax system actually also depends on the unpaid Caregiver
to work for free yet still to provide healthy young adults for the Next generation of paid workers. So even though the earner,
the young, the community and the tax system depend on the unpaid worker at home, she is viewed as the one who is dependant
even though the couple may feel they are equal partners and even though
the caregiver of young children at home is there to feed and protect them and is herself a person on whom young lives
5. that being dependent morally is repugnant for any liberated woman and there is no such thing as interdependency
6. that being dependent financially is risky since it makes the person vulnerable
and makes them feel less stable and less fully equal
7. that financial dependence is a decision made personally and one the state does not impose in fact the state imposes
it on purpose, penalizing the unpaid worker to force her into dependency financially. The financial dependency is one the
state imposess not a consequence the unpaid worker seeks out, to be lazy
8. That the state should nudge people into roles of complete financial independence and should not permit or recognize
incomesharing even if the couple does it and believes in it. That the state does this for the couples own good . That the
state should take sides in a moral lifestyle debate and favor some choices over others. in fact basic tax code principle
is supposed to be to tax what is, not to pressure people to act a certain way due to the taxes they are likely to get.
Taxes are not to direct behavior but to observe it and then seek tax based on it. the tax penalty intentionally tries
to change how people act. It seeks to encourage women into the paid labor force and away from care roles, whether they want
to move there or not
9. that women need to move out of the home to fully participate in society, to fully use their skills or to be fully liberated
This is one definition of participating fully. The womens movement of the 1920s wanted to ensure women got full participation
rights –voting, sitting in government, sitting on judicial benches, owning property, managing money –
even if they were caregivers in the home. The movement to liberate women was not specifically to liberate them from being
at home. It was to ensure that while at home they were not forced to be second class citizens. Current tax policy to pressure
them out of the home actually fails to fully advance womens equality rights and still treats them there as second class citizens
10. that two people can live as cheaply as one – so they don’t need two full personal deductions.
in fact two people usually move out of an apartment to buy a house, which costs more than two apartment rentals, and they
eat for two and have two wardrobes and pay double admission and eat two full meals.
11. that the earner actually is the owner of property and the nonearner is not so it is important to ensure the earner
gets the property
This is archaic reasoning that women are chattels and servants only. It ignores the dower rights and inheritance and divorce
rights of spouses.