06 May 2015

Once again this year, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton experts shared their observations on the federal budget in several French-language media outlets, some, even before it was tabled on April 21, 2015. On the eve of the 2015 budget, tax partners Luc Lacombe and Jean-François Thuot discussed their budget expectations on TVA/Argent and Radio-Canada (L’heure du monde Radio Canada – listen as of 2 m. 30 sec.).

When the lock-up was lifted, other professionals quickly and effectively shared their analysis with various media outlets. Like their colleagues, Real Létourneau, Partner, and Eastern Townships regional Vice-President, and partners Sarah Phaneuf and Sylvain Gilbert also provided comments on the budget. In fact, Luc Lacombe was at the lock-up in Ottawa and had the opportunity to analyze the budget measures in advance.

View Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s press release and budget summary published after the lock-up was lifted.

A budget for seniors 

“This budget targets specific voters: seniors,” stated Partner Luc Lacombe on Radio X CHOI 98.1 FM (Québec City) and several other radio stations, including Rouge FM 94.7 FM (Mauricie), Roberval Planète Radio 99.5 FM (Lac-St-Jean), 101.5 FM Les incorrigibles (Ste-Marie-de-Beauce),CPAM 1410 (L’Après-midi Express), an ethnocultural radio (Montréal) and Radio-Canada (Cet après-midi).

Lacombe referred to several measures that benefit seniors: the easing of RIFF rules, increase of the TFSA limit and introduction of a Home Accessibility Tax Credit.

In an interview on Ici Radio Canada (Estrie), Sarah Phaneuf noted that the duration of compassionate care benefits was extended from six weeks to six months, which will help support Canadians who care for a gravely ill family member.

What’s new for families?

Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s experts agree that there is not much new for families. Income splitting between spouses and the universal child care benefit increase had both been announced by federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver in October 2014.

Sylvain Gilbert believes that the universal child care benefit will be less beneficial than initially expected. In fact, in an interview on 107.7 FM (Estrie), he explained that families will be taxed in April on the $420 cheque they will receive in July. Additionally, in April, they’ll lose the tax credit for children under the age of 18.

A good budget for business

In the Revue Politique television program on the CPAC public affairs network (22 min 30 sec), Luc Lacombe said he was pleased to see the tax rate for SMEs drop from 11% to 9% and looked favourably on the announced innovation, research and development, and transportation investments.

Jean-François Thuot also considered it to be an “interesting budget”, in the course of an hour-long televised budget special on Argent, (part 1 and part 2) and in a news bulletin.

However, he criticized the fact that there were no measures regarding business transfers and succession. “We’ve been asking for changes to the law for years now so that businesses can be transferred to the next generation more advantageously,” he explained.

Precarious balance

Thuot further noted that the budget includes commitments that will have repercussions in the future, and “it won’t always be possible to dip into reserves or sell GM shares to finance them,” he added.

According to Sylvain Gilbert, “The price of oil will play a big role. If it continues to drop, the $1.4B margin will quickly disappear and achieving the budget will be difficult or we could face a deficit,” he said.

In an interview with La Tribune, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Regional Vice-President and Partner Réal Létourneau observed, “The Conservative government opted for a short-term strategy, and there is a conspicuous absence of a long-term vision.”