–Canadian Taxpayers Federation
Did you know?
- 2017 version of the Income Tax Act is 1,055,652 words long, a decrease of 8,685 from last year
- It would take the average reader 58.5 hours to read it (28 minutes less than last year)
- Federal taxes were first introduced exactly a century ago, as a temporary measure
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is reminding Canadians that with only a few days left to the April 30 midnight income tax filing deadline, it may already be too late to try and read the federal Income Tax Act. That’s because it’s 3,164 pages long – that’s 1,055,652 words – and would take the average reader more than 58 hours to read (not that many would want to).
“A century after it was first introduced, Canada’s ‘temporary’ income tax act has become so long and complex virtually no one can understand it all,” said CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick.
First passed in 1917 as a “temporary measure” to help cover the cost of the First World War, Canada’s federal tax law was originally just 11 pages long. By 1948, it had grown to 88 pages. After a series of amendments and reforms in the 1960’s, many complained that the 1970 edition, at 424 pages, was too complicated for the average Canadian. Now at over 1 million words, the Income Tax Act is about the same length as the entire seven-book Harry Potter series.
“There is no question that the complexity of our tax system makes it inefficient and increases the cost of compliance,” added Wudrick, “After more than a hundred years, it’s time to work towards a simpler, lower, flatter tax system.”