The association representing Canada’s leading financial executives testified today at a meeting of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, calling upon the federal government to introduce a range of measures aimed at improving the economy, including suggestions to simplify and improve innovation programs and the tax system.
Financial Executives International Canada (FEI Canada) recommends the government adopt several specific measures to stimulate innovation, which FEI Canada believes is the primary source of competitiveness and job creation in Canada.
FEI Canada recommends:
- Since innovators need support beyond the early R&D stage, activities that lead to product commercialization should be eligible for Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) claims
- Expanding SR&ED credits to public companies, since the current program discourages private companies from accessing public capital by reducing the available tax credit from 35% to 20% when the company becomes public, and
- The SR&ED program be simplified for small and medium sized enterprises by basing the tax credit solely on labour-related costs.
The government should also review the Income Tax Act and introduce group tax reporting such as a loss transfer system and consolidated corporate tax returns. A tax loss transfer system for corporate groups would make the system more fair, as tax planning is generally not affordable for smaller companies.
“There are various ways to encourage innovation funding,” said Michael Conway, President and Chief Executive of FEI Canada, who appeared at today’s hearing on behalf of the organization with Peter Effer, the Chair of FEI Canada’s Tax Committee. “Help can be provided to companies that incur costs leading to innovation. Tax credits could also be provided to angel investors who fund qualifying innovation expenditures,” he said.
Finally, FEI Canada reiterates its previous calls to reduce overall complexity in the Canadian tax system, starting with a review of the federal Income Tax Act, and to introduce consolidated tax reporting for corporate groups.
“We’d like to see the act clarified and the tax administration system streamlined,” Mr. Effer said. “This would help both business and the government become more efficient and will foster competitiveness. Having more clarity will reduce the number and cost of tax disputes.”