Average Family Spends More on Taxes Than Essentials

By Andrew Rickard | August 31 2015 08:48AM

A study from the Fraser Institute says that the average Canadian family spends more on taxes than on food, clothing and shelter combined.

The Fraser Institute released its most recent Canadian Consumer Tax Index on Aug. 27. Authors Milagros Palacios, Charles Lammam, and Feixue Ren argue that the average Canadian family (including unattached Canadians) earned $79,010 in 2014 and paid $33,272 in taxes compared to the $28,887 they spent on food, clothing and shelter combined.

The $33,272 quoted in the study is not just income tax; the Fraser Institute says this number also reflects the "hidden taxes" that families pay to the federal, provincial and local governments, including payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, health taxes, fuel taxes, and alcohol taxes. Between the years of 1961 and 2014, the Fraser Institute says that this combined bill has increased by 1,886%, while the Consumer Price Index has only increased by 697%.

“Over the past five decades, the tax bill for the average Canadian family has ballooned, and now the amount of money going to taxes is greater than what’s spent on life’s basic necessities,” says Lammam, who is director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute. “While taxes help fund important government services, the issue is the amount of taxes that governments take compared to what we get in return. With 42% of income going to taxes, Canadians might wonder whether they’re getting the best value for their tax dollars.”