OTTAWA, Ont. — The Canadian Trucking Alliance has been included in a pre-budget report containing 43 recommendations from more than 400 groups. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance report, titled Canada: Competing to Win, collected its information during cross-country hearings held in September and October. The CTA appeared before the committee on Parliament Hill back in September.
The CTA was specifically cited on three key issues in the report:
Driver Meal Deductibility: In its discussion of personal income taxation, the committee noted that, Because of the nature of their work, truck drivers have meal expenses that, unlike many other employees, are necessary work expenses. Questioning the fairness of a restriction on what may be seen as a legitimate business expense, the Canadian Trucking Alliance asked that the tax deductibility for meals, which was decreased from 80% to 50% in the 1990s, be restored to 80%. While the committee does not make a specific recommendation on meal tax deductibility, it does argue for reduced personal income taxes, viewing personal taxation as a key to retaining and attracting workers and ensuring a healthy and competitive workforce.
CCA Rate Acceleration for Trucks: The committee report states that a number of witnesses proposed enhanced CCA rates for environmentally friendly investments and specifically noting that the Canadian Trucking Alliance advocated the establishment of accelerated CCA rates for the acquisition of near-zero emission trucks, with a sunset clause to encourage rapid introduction of the technology. The committee responded by saying that at a minimum Canadas capital cost allowance rates must meet three criteria: similar asset classes are treated equitably; Canadian rates are similar to the rates for comparable asset classes in the United States and other countries; and Canadian rates at least reflect the useful life of these assets. The committee recommends the federal government complete a comprehensive review of CCA rates by June 30 and indicate whether accelerated CCA rates would enhance productivity by no later than Oct. 31. The committee also recommends an Oct. 31 deadline for the government to allow environmentally-friendly assets to be reduced at a faster rate than their useful life and the accelerated rate should be available on a time-limited basis in order to encourage early adoption.
Infrastructure: The report recognizes the CTAs desire to dedicate a substantial portion of its fuel excise tax revenues to predictable, long-term funding for infrastructure. It recommends continued cooperation between the federal government and the provinces to fund existing infrastructure initiatives at a level designed to reduce the public infrastructure deficit and the development of an allocation mechanism for federal infrastructure support that considers not only population, but also the unique strategic and economic development needs of communities.
While not specifically mentioning CTA, the committee noted that a number of witnesses commented that the recent rise in oil prices combined with the federal excise tax on fuel, has hampered the competitiveness of their industry.
While the Minister of Finance is under no obligation to consider the finance committees report, David Bradley, CEO of the trucking alliance points out that,It is directionally similar to the ministers own Advantage Canada economic plan, so one would hope that we will begin to see some of this thinking show up in the upcoming budget. However, Bradley cautions, that with all the competing interests and demands on government, there are no guarantees so there is still a lot of work to be done now and in the years to come.
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