September 20, 2017

Call for MP Action – Corporate Tax Changes put family farms at risk

Jeff Nielsen

Today, I sent the following message to all Liberal MPs asking them to speak for farmers and seek a delay on corporate tax changes. It is imperative that we take the time to get this right!

Jeff

***

Good afternoon,

I am writing to you today both as President of the Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) and as an incorporated grain farmer.

The land that I grew up on and farm today was incorporated in 1998 when my father passed away. This was done to ensure that my mother, who worked the farm by my father’s side for decades, could enjoy a well-deserved retirement out of her investment. The savings opportunities of incorporation have also allowed me to expand and be an employer in my rural Alberta community.

Farming has always been risky business. When farmers were given the tools to incorporate, finally they could reliably plan for the future through savings, income dispersal through all working family members, and ensure safe succession to the next generation. The corporate tax changes put forward in July have the potential to undo all the good incorporation has done for strengthening Canada’s agriculture industry.

On Monday, September 18, both Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Morneau agreed that it was important to ensure the success of the family farm. They expressed a desire to hear from farmers and indicated that they would take our unique needs into consideration. Well, here are my primary concerns, and the concerns of my 50,000 grain farmer members, most of whom are out harvesting right now.

  • The proposed changes will increase complexity and uncertainty to any farm business that has incorporated, and create disincentives to passing farms on to the next generation, threatening the future financial health of multigenerational farms across Canada. Ninety-seven per cent of Canadian farms are family farms so it is families that are being directly affected.
  • As I noted above, farmers face unique risks and utilize tax planning tools to ensure a strong future; not to take advantage of “loopholes” in the system.
  • Farmers are firmly in Canada’s middle class and the lynchpin of strong rural economies.

As an MP, I know that you work hard to ensure that your constituents have every chance to succeed in their chosen profession. It may very well be that the Tax Code needs updating, but changes as drastic as these deserve to be done with thorough consideration and time.

GGC has formally requested an extension of the comment period and we have also commissioned expert analysis to get a handle on the true impact of these changes on family farms.

I am asking that you speak with your colleague Minister Morneau and encourage him to slow down and do this right, for the sake of all Canadian businesspeople.

I would be pleased to talk with you further about the potential impacts of these changes to my farm and the future of my industry.

Sincerely,

Jeff Nielsen
President, Grain Growers of Canada
Grain Farmer, Olds, AB
president@ggc-pgc.ca 
www.ggc-pgc.ca

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