Letter to the Editor - Regarding Government Tax Proposals that will Affect Incorporated Small Business Owners, Farmers, Other Professionals, and All Canadians
A 2007 Hyundai isn’t exactly the vehicle of a wealthy tax-cheat, is it? Don’t rich advantage-takers drive luxury vehicles with plush interiors?
Not according to the Prime Minister and his Minister of Finance. According to them, incorporated farmers, doctors, and family business owners are the wealthy tax-cheats, who've been taking advantage of other Canadians, through unfair perks and benefits.
$1,652.76 dollars: that’s what my spouse’s Medical Professional Corporation paid last year for office supplies. He paid $30,000.00 for a part-time secretary, $6,999.96 to rent an office, $194.68 to park at one hospital, and $1,200.00 at the other; with no time to walk between clinics, due to his tight schedule. Envision a chicken running around with its head cut off. WE live in a small-ish university town. Those expenses in larger centres would blossom.
In a doctor's life, every second counts, and so does every dollar. The single biggest expense, his Corporation paid last year, next to employee salaries, was taxes: $71,931.76.
He doesn’t eat at work. 'Patients before self', seems his motto. So, on a run-of-the-mill day, from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m., my ‘doctor’ runs on the fuel of pure charm and intellect, not food.
On weekends, he’s at the computer, surrounded by paperwork, inundated with the 80+ emails he receives daily, laden with administration; seeking grants, like needles in a haystack, to subsidize his clinic nurse; doing research, and planning seminars to impart knowledge.
And weekdays, while the rest of us are buckling down to Netflix, he dictates, writes notes, and records assessments. Nightly, he has insomnia, and worries for his patients. How do I know all this? Because for twenty-five years I've been privy to the inner life of a dedicated physician.
There’s a big shroud of myth and mystery around a doctor’s life. People think doctors make the big bucks, and live in the lap of luxury; and while we recognize our many blessings, it’s time to remove that shroud.
People have no idea what it takes to be a doctor, or farmer, lawyer, family business owner, etc., or what it takes to stay one! A smart government would want to encourage this kind of character, with the spirit and perseverance it takes to achieve such great things. It would want to give them more incentives; not accuse them of being cheaters or taking advantage of others!
It took my spouse eighteen years, of grueling post-secondary education, to become the medical specialist he is. A Medical Degree, two specialties, a Master’s Degree, and a PhD, full stop, and entry to practice.
For many years we lived on a 'luxury budget' of scholarships, yard sale furnishings, and credit card debt. By the time he landed a position, at a reputable university, he had accumulated a spouse and several other mouths to feed; and boy do they eat!. Let's not even talk about medical school debt.
Current med school tuition rates, only at U of T, are around $24,000.00 per year. Rent and food cost extra. And while everyone thinks doctors are super-human, they do actually require food and shelter.
Those graduated physicians, all shiny and proud, run their practices like small businesses. They’re self-employed, ineligible for EI, and contracted by the government, and universities, to do the work of health care. Operating expenses might include everything from the lowly paperclip to paying the educated personnel who assist them in being efficient. And doesn't our government love efficient doctors!
So, let's do the math. My husband’s department pays, their highly trained specialists, a gross salary of around $200,000 each, on par, and my husband’s corporation has a monthly business turn-over, required spending, of at least $20,000 dollars. He paid himself a whopping $39,000 last year. There was slightly less than $10,000 surplus, after all expenses and taxes were paid. 100% legal. No 'loopholes' whatsoever! This was a good year. The only reason why he had surplus was because his conference travel was paid by pharmaceutical companies. Normally, he pays that too.
There's a term used in psychology called projection: when you place the negative qualities on others that you see in yourself. So I ask you this, between the expertly trained medical sub-specialist who slaves, yes, slaves, in the workplace for fifteen-hour days, funds his own business expenses, and his own retirement, feeds his family, and employs several others in this economy; and those elite, super-wealthy, government officials who run The Tax Show, well, who is taking advantage of whom?
Please write to your MP, the Minister of Finance, and the Prime Minister himself, in support of small businesses, family farmers, and incorporated professionals. The tax measures being proposed will harm all Canadians, as costs in every arena will rise, in order to off-set the higher taxation. Inevitably, staff will be laid-off, public spending will reduce, and any kind of donations to charitable foundations will certainly get chopped, if small business owners are forced to choose between feeding and educating their own children, and paying more money into the deep gut of an insatiable Leviathan, called Deficit.
We need much more time, in-depth study, and analysis, to make effective, necessary reforms, based on concrete evidence that will benefit the majority without penalizing, or vilifying, those who make up the substantial portion of backbone in our economy. Quick, call an Orthopedist!
Signed, A doctor’s wife
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