Canadians hope Harper will give them a break



    Taxpayers urge across the board cuts in tax poll

    CALGARY, Jan. 22 /CNW/ - With a Federal Budget looming on January 27,
Canadians are pondering their wish list to the government. According to a
recent poll conducted by Angus Reid Strategies for H&R Block Canada, nearly
three quarters of Canadians would task the federal government to introduce
significant tax credits or tax cuts in the budget.
    The poll by Angus Reid Strategies asked 1,010 Canadians what tax measures
they would take if they were the Federal Finance Minister. Coast to coast, the
majority of Canadians supported new tax cuts or credits from 68 per cent in
Atlantic Canada to 76 per cent in Quebec.
    When asked which tax cuts should be made first priority, 37 per cent of
those surveyed supported a general reduction in income tax rates. In contrast,
there was considerably less support for tax breaks that would only benefit
specific groups. Only 12 per cent supported new tax breaks for families with
children, 14 per cent supported breaks for seniors on fixed incomes, and 12
per cent supported a tax credit on mortgage interest.
    "It seems that most Canadians are feeling the effects of "tax exhaustion"
and they think the best way to treat that problem is tax reductions across the
board, not just for a few." says Cleo Hamel, Senior Tax Analyst, H&R Block
Canada Inc. "Of course, Canadians still have a lot of compassion for people in
tight financial situations, and that was also reflected in the survey
results."
    Of those surveyed, 25 per cent said they would eliminate income tax for
people making less than $15,000 a year if they were finance minister.
Twenty-two per cent said they would like to see an increase to the personal
exemption amount. Both of those suggestions would benefit lower-income
Canadians the most.
    While there was huge support for lowering personal income tax rates,
other taxes did not seem to draw much attention from Canadians who
participated in the poll. Only seven per cent prioritized a reduction in the
GST, four per cent said Employment Insurance premiums should be reduced and 16
per cent supported a reduction in gasoline taxes.
    "The survey showed that Canadians are looking for the Federal government
to help stimulate the economy," says Hamel. "For example, half of those
Canadians surveyed (50 percent) said the federal government should boost
Registered Retirement Saving Plan (RRSP) limits to boost the investment
sector. This would provide a healthy tax break for contributors while helping
the overall economy."

    
    Survey results by region:

    QUEBEC
    -   Quebecers were a bit of a conundrum, showing the highest support in
        Canada for introducing tax cuts or new tax credits at 76 per cent,
        but the lowest support for reducing personal tax rates at 24 per cent
        (compared to national average 31 per cent)

    BRITISH COLUMBIA
    -   Taxpayers in B.C. were the most supportive of a tax credit for
        mortgage interest (14 per cent).

    ATLANTIC CANADA
    -   The lowest support for introducing new tax cuts or credits was in
        Atlantic Canada (68 per cent).

    ALBERTA
    -   Alberta residents were the biggest supporters of an increase in RRSP
        limits with 57 per cent in favour.

    MANITOBA AND SASKATCHEWAN
    -   Thirty per cent of Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents considered
        increasing the personal exemption amount as a number one priority,
        the highest support for this across Canada

    ONTARIO
    -   Thirty six per cent of Ontario residents identified reducing personal
        income tax rates as their highest priority (national average 31 per
        cent).
    -   Only 14 per cent of Ontario residents supported an increase to the
        personal exemption amount (national average 22 per cent)

    This Canadian public opinion poll was conducted online by Angus Reid
Strategies, from December 15 to December 16, 2008 and surveyed 1,010, randomly
selected adult Canadians. The margin of error for the total sample is +/-3.1%,
19 times out of 20.

    About H&R Block Canada
    ----------------------
    

    H&R Block Canada prepares more than two million tax returns annually,
making it Canada's leading tax preparation firm. Headquartered in Calgary,
Alberta, the company serves Canadian taxpayers in more than 12,000 offices
across the country. H&R Block Canada Inc. is a subsidiary of H&R Block, Inc.,
a diversified company with subsidiaries providing a wide range of financial
products and services. Additional information about H&R Block Canada is
available at 1-800-HRBLOCK or visit www.hrblock.ca for more tax tips.





For further information:

For further information: Tina Quelch, Calador Communications, (416)
925-6034, tina@calador.ca; Kim Lizmore Campbell, Calador Communications, (416)
287-3693, kim@calador.ca


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