Ministers of Finance weigh in on Michigan Business Tax issue

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OTTAWA, Ont. — Canadian Trucking Alliance chief David Bradley is extremely pleased that both the Federal Government and the Government of Ontario are standing up for international businesses such as trucking companies and automotive parts manufacturers that he says are about to be unfairly taxed under Michigan’s new Business Tax.

Bradley was reacting to Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s letter to Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm which indicated the federal government’s concern regarding how Canadian businesses will be treated under this new tax regime. The letter encouraged swift passage of amendments to the Michigan Business Tax Act that would provide for fairer treatment for those businesses. Provincial Finance Minister Dwight Duncan has previously written to the State Treasurer and last March Premier Dalton McGuinty also wrote Governor Granholm expressing Ontario’s concerns.

Recent changes to the Michigan Business Tax have eliminated the exemptions for international businesses that do not have physical locations in Michigan, meaning such businesses will now be taxed under the new business tax program. CTA estimates that if imposed on Canadian trucking companies, the MBT could amount to an additional tax of $1,000 per truck per year. The CTA, along with the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, has been working with the Canadian Consulate in Detroit, federal, provincial and state governments involved to ensure that proposed amendments to the Michigan Business Tax Act that would address this issue are passed and implemented quickly.

“We are only asking for a fair and consistent application of the Michigan Business Tax for Canadian businesses, and the Federal Finance Minister’s intervention at this crucial juncture is most welcome,” Bradley said. “Minister Flaherty’s support will undoubtedly be a big help in getting Michigan to finally act to get this issue resolved.”

He went on to say that, “In these tough economic times the very least businesses should be able to expect of their governments is fair and equitable tax treatment. We very much appreciate the support we have received from both the federal and provincial governments and they both deserve a great deal of credit for engaging Michigan on this issue and making the case for fair treatment for Canadian businesses. We are hopeful that the political leadership in Michigan will respond to these appeals from both the federal and Ontario governments and will act expeditiously to address this very serious issue”.

He concluded by saying, “When the industrial heartland of North America is already reeling from slower economic growth, off-shore competition and a thickening of the Canada-US border, this tax is not only unfair and inconsistent with international tax norms, it only serves to worsen an already dim economic situation for the region. We’re all in this together, and we’re extremely pleased that the Canadian governments understand that and have weighed in, now it’s up to Michigan to resolve this matter.”

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