A taxing debate worth having

The federal Income Tax Act is part of the law of our land.

The story on the doctors who have evaded paying income tax is sure to set off some spirited watercooler discussion. Regardless of your income level or career, everybody pays taxes and everybody has an opinion.

For those who read only the print edition of the Star, this may be the first time you have read about two recent cases of alleged income tax evasion. Today’s front page story has been on-line at nelsonstar.com for a couple of days and readers have already been responding.

Some questioned the story. Is it our place as the community newspaper to delve into what many consider a personal issue? In this case, yes it is.

The federal Income Tax Act is part of the law of our land. Canada Revenue Agency issues news releases when those who refuse to pay are fined and in turn we report it. That’s how the news business works.

Beyond the names of those who have landed in court and then in our paper, the entire issue is worth a public discussion.

Should people have to pay income tax? Of course they should. It’s the glue that holds the services of our country together.

A total of 48 cents of every dollar spent by the federal government comes from income tax. If we all decided to not pay into the giant pot of cash in Ottawa, where would we be?

Income tax goes towards health care, post secondary education, social programs, programs for children and seniors, transfers to First Nations, infrastructure, arts, foreign aid, defence, fisheries, justice, environment, research, multiculturalism, public safety and national parks. Just to name a few. Regardless of your views on life, there are at least a few services on that list you would consider important.

Income tax is not age old. It was only introduced after World War I and even then it was only supposed to be temporary. Before that Ottawa relied on customs and tariffs to pay the bills. Those days are long gone and income tax is now the only reasonable way to ensure this great nation continues to provide for its people.

If you have a better system, we would love to hear it. Email us at editor@nelsonstar.com.