Feminist Legal Studies Queen's

Queen's University
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Feminist Legal Studies Queen's

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What we Know About the Gender Impact of Income, Consumption, Payroll, and Corporate Taxes

Canada has increasingly used tax laws to deliver social program funding and to make significant changes in overall fiscal policy.  Because taxes affect women differently than men when there are substantial differences in incomes, benefits, off-market responsibilities, and social services that meet the needs of women and men, tax law may appear to be gender-neutral on its face, but it affects women very differently than men in many different contexts. This paper uses measuring sticks like net after-tax income to examine the extent to which the total tax system as well as the main components of the tax system affect women as compared with men.  Breaking the total tax system down into its basic elements - income taxes, the GST and PST, EI and CCP contributions (payroll taxes), and corporate income taxes - makes it possible to see the specific types of gender effects that flow from each: why tax cuts tend to benefit men more than women; how joint taxation disadvantages women at the same time that it benefits men; why consumption taxes like the GST, sales taxes, EI premiums, and CCP contributions are highly regressive, and thus burden women more than they burden men; and how women bear disproportionate shares of the costs of Canada's expensive program of cutting corporate income and capital taxes.

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