Hon. Sir HENRY DRAYTON (Minister of Finance) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 221, to consolidate the Income Tax Act. He said: The question regarding the income tax amendments has been brought before the House several times, and I have promised to bring down legislation dealing with the subject of penalties. The last time the matter was under consideration the question was raised as to whether we were going into the whole question at the present. time in view of the fact that some amendments which were contemplated were more or less controversial. I stated that under the circumstances it was my opinion that what ought to be done now was to reduce our penalties somewhat. The purpose of the penalties, I am glad to say, has largely disappeared. The collection of income taxes in , every country is more or less difficult, and hon. gentlemen have pointed out that our collections in the past h%ve not been
nearly as good as the collections in other countries; and Australia and New Zealand were mentioned as particular illustrations of this fact. I desire to give to the House some figures in connection with the proposal I now make to reduce our penalties. I shall not give the odd numbers. In Canada, the first year we had an income tax collection, we gathered $9,000,000; that was in the year 1917. Australia's first year was 1915. She, of course, has a much larger urban population than Canada, and her collection for that first year amounted to $18,000,000- double ours. New Zealand's first year was 1891, and her initial collection was $327,000. In our second year, we collected $20,000,000, while Australia in her second year collected $27,000,000, and New Zealand, $366,-
000. Our third year amounted to $46,000,000, Australia's third year to $34,000,000, and New Zealand's third year to $437,-
000. There is also an interesting matter in connection with the collection of taxes in the different countries, something which illustrates the effect of the generous exemptions granted in Canada. We find that for the first year the general average of the taxation in Canada was $200 per ratepayer paying taxes, and in Australia it was $76. In the second year in Canada the amount was $207, and in Australia $105. The third year in Canada the amount was $244 as against $110 in Australia. I think, Mr. Speaker, the House will also be pleased to know how we are getting along with collections of the current year. The collections for this year have been very gratifying. Since the closing of the books of the last fiscal year, and under assessment on and by the ratepayers themselves for the first time the sum of roughly $39,000,000 has already been collected to date.
Motion agreed to and Bill read the first time.