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Federal government working to help families, small businesses

AMHERST – While pundits are predicting this year’s federal budget could be a tough one, the national revenue minister is assuring people it will continue to include measures to support both families and small business.

National Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynn D. Findlay talks to Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong during a visit to Amherst on Wednesday.

“One of the things I’m trying to do is remind people about our Family Tax Plan because it’s going to benefit 4.1 million Canadian families and we want to make sure people know some of the details about it and get the help they need to file their taxes and take advantage of all the benefits they can,” Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, National Revenue minister, said Wednesday.

The minister was in Amherst to meet with small business owners and to talk to a group of women about getting involved in the political process.

Findlay said government’s during the Economic Action Plan has been to support hard-working Canadian families and getting back to a balanced budget so they can have some more tax relief.

She said the federal tax burden is lowest it has been in 50 years. She said the often surprises people until she explains that provincial and municipal taxes often eat up the money people have in their pockets.

“We may have our fiscal house in order, but what we’re finding that as we move to a balanced budget and a position to give back to families not all provinces and municipalities approach economics the same way,” she said.

Through the Family Tax Plan, she said, the average family is paying $3,400 less a year in federal taxes. The benefit for families with children under age 18 will average about $1,200 a family and most of the benefits will flow to low and middle-income families.

For families with children under six, she said, their universal child care benefit will go from $100 to $160 a month, while those from six to 17 it will be $60 a month.

As well, the child fitness tax credit is going to double.

There will also be improved income splitting for families with children.

“We’re really trying to support those people whose expenses are highest trying to bring children up and put them through school,” the minister said. “When you put it all together it’s going to help a lot of families. Those cheques will start coming out in July because it applies to the last tax year. Moms and dads know what’s best for their kids and we want to put more money in their pockets so they have more flexibility.”

She said her department also wants to target support for small businesses, which she pointed out represents 90 per cent of Canada’s economy. She wants to reduce red tape so entrepreneurs are spending less time doing paperwork and more time generating prosperity.

One of the initiatives is the creation of liaison officers to work directly with small and medium-size business owners. One of the biggest tasks will be working with these businesses to avoid inadvertent tax errors that can cause stress for businesspeople.

The department is also creating apps and e-services to make it easier for entrepreneurs to work with the Canada Revenue Agency, while it’s growing its volunteer program that helps low income Canadians and seniors with their tax returns.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

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