Manitoba is one of the highest taxed provinces in Canada; especially for lower income individuals and seniors. Here are a few comments you can tell the candidates as they come to your door or if you see them at events before the April 19 election. Cut out this article and show them.

Regardless of which party becomes the government, I hope all will pledge to do something about our incomes taxes for the lowest income earners.

Ambulance fees have been in the news a lot lately as there are some low income individuals (mostly seniors) that cannot afford to pay for the $500+ ambulance fees. They owe thousands of dollars, or some do not call an ambulance because they cannot afford to pay for the fee.

I have an easy solution to this. Make ambulance fees part of the Pharmacare program.

Pharmacare is a drug benefit program of Manitoba Health to ensure you pay only the portion of prescription medication that you can afford. The deductible (or your share) is about 4% of your net income. If your net income is $20,000, your Pharmacare deductible is about $800. For eligible prescriptions, you pay the first $800 and then Manitoba Health (or the rest of us taxpayers) pay the rest. If you are a couple, it’s based on your combined net income.

If we include ambulance fees in the Pharmacare deductible, then those who cannot afford it, have it covered. Those with higher incomes, still pay themselves (or via their health care plan) since they can afford it.

If you think that is a good idea, let your candidate know!

When it comes to personal income taxes, it’s time for Manitoba to change how it taxes low income taxpayers.

The basic credit that every taxpayer gets is over $11,327 federally; but it is only $9,134 for the residents of Manitoba. Since 1999, the current provincial government has only increased it a small amount, that’s why it’s still $2,000 less than the federal credit. This credit hurts the lowest income earners the most. Does it make sense that someone who earns $11,000 of income would pay absolutely no federal taxes, and yet pays provincial taxes?

An individual who earns $15,000 pays $380 in federal taxes and yet pays $556 in provincial taxes; that’s about 50% more! Back in 1999, when the current government came into power, provincial taxes were about 50% of federal taxes (it would have been about $275, not $556 today!).

So when minimum wage is increased, more money goes to the provincial government in increased income taxes. Tell the candidates that it’s time stop taxing the poorest of Manitobans. Even the province of BC has a calculation to make sure those earning income under $20,000 pay no or very little provincial taxes. Time for our government to help those who need it the most.

And for seniors, the federal age credit is$7,033; it’s still only $3,728 for Manitoban seniors. Time to increase that, too. For a senior with income of about $18,000 they pay no federal taxes, but they pay over $300 for provincial taxes. Time to stop taxing our low income seniors!! They cannot afford it!

These numbers may seem small or insignificant to you, but to individuals or seniors with low, a few hundred dollars is a lot to them.

I hope that as the candidates come knocking on your door or you attend an event, you will tell the candidates it’s time to stop taxing our low income residents!

A final reminder that the tax filing deadline is May 2 (April 30 is a Saturday). This is important if you have taxes payable and not expecting a refund. Those of us that are self employed (or the spouse of someone that is self employed), we have until June 15 to file our taxes without penalty (we still pay interest on any amount owed as at April 30).

Even if you cannot pay Canada Revenue Agency, it’s important you file on time to avoid any nasty penalties for filing late.

Anni Markmann Personal Income Tax Professional and Certified Financial Planner; living, working, and volunteering in our community. Contact her at 204.422.6631 or 36 Dawson Road in Ste Anne (near Co-op) orĀ