The Income Tax Act (ITA) is a federal law governing the collection and administration of income tax. Its primary goal is to raise revenue for the Canadian government from individuals and corporations. The legislation sets out the rules and regulations for calculating taxable income, establishes tax rates, enforces compliance and provides incentives. The Act was introduced in 1917 as a temporary measure to finance Canada's participation in World War I. It has been amended numerous times to reflect changes in the Canadian economy and society.
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What is the Income Tax Act’s Purpose?
As a federal law governing the collection and administration of income tax, the Income Tax Act outlines the rules and regulations for calculation and reporting. It also includes penalties for non-compliance. It applies to all individuals and corporations who earn income in Canada, regardless of their residency or citizenship status.
The Act’s primary purpose is to raise revenue for the Canadian government by collecting income tax from individuals and corporations. It achieves that in four ways:
The ITA outlines the rules and regulations for determining what income is taxable and what deductions can be claimed.
The legislation sets out the federal and provincial tax rates that apply to different levels of taxable income.
The Act includes penalties and fines for individuals and corporations who fail to comply with regulations for reporting and paying income tax.
The ITA also includes tax incentives, such as credits and deductions, to encourage certain behaviours, such as charitable donations or investments in applicable sectors.
History of the Income Tax Act
The ITA was first enacted in 1917 as a temporary measure to finance Canada's participation in World War I. The Act was made permanent in 1918 and has been amended numerous times since then to reflect changes in the Canadian economy and society.
Over the years, the ITA has undergone several significant changes, including the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax in 1991 and the introduction of the Canadian Child Benefit in 2016. These changes were designed to make the ITA more effective at raising revenue and supporting Canadians in need.
How Important is the Income Tax Act?
The ITA is a complex piece of legislation that spans more than 3,000 pages. It includes multiple schedules and regulations that outline the rules and regulations for calculating and reporting income tax. The Act is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency.
The ITA is a crucial tool in the Canadian government's efforts to raise revenue and support social programs and services for Canadians. It is designed with the intention that individuals and corporations pay their fair share of taxes. As the government notes, “Paying taxes is a fundamental part of being a responsible citizen, as well as an obligation.”