Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

The average Canadian family spent 43 per cent of their income on taxes in 2017, a new Fraser Institute study suggests.

While a family earned about $85,883 in annual income, they paid a total of $37,058 in municipal, provincial and federal taxes, according to the annual consumer report released Tuesday by the right-leaning think-tank.

That’s compared to $30,597 on other necessities like rent or mortgage payments, food and clothing.

“Many Canadians will be surprised to learn that taxes — and not life’s basic necessities, including housing — are the biggest household expense,” report co-author Charles Lammam said in a news release.

When the institute started tracking household tax spending in 1961, the average Canadian family spent about 33.5 per cent of their on taxes and 56.5 per cent on basic necessities.

The report says even after accounting for inflation, the tax bill has gone up 166 per cent since then.

“Taxes help fund important public services that Canadians rely on, but the issue is the amount of taxes governments take compared to what Canadians get in return,” Lammam said.

“With 43 per cent of their income going to taxes, Canadians might ask whether they’re getting the best value for their tax dollars.”


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