MPs on finance committee to discuss timing for changes to small business tax rules

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A parliamentary committee will hold a rare summer meeting next week about when Ottawa plans to change tax rules on the sale of small businesses between family members.

Conservative MP Larry Maguire’s private member’s bill passed amended the Income Tax Act so business owners could pass on companies to their children or relatives at the same tax rate as if they were selling to a stranger.

Maguire and others who backed the legislation said the change would no longer make it more expensive for someone to sell a family-owned small business to a relative.

The legislation received royal assent in late June just before the House of Commons broke for its summer recess, but didn’t include a specific date for when it would come into force.

As a result, the Finance Department announced the government would bring forward legislation to clarify that the changes would apply starting Jan. 1, 2022.

The House of Commons finance committee will meet on Tuesday to grill department officials about the decision.

Conservatives say Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is defying Parliament by not enacting the new rules.

“When this bill was passed by Parliament, only the Liberals voted against it. Now that it is signed into law, Trudeau is simply choosing not to implement it,” reads a joint statement from Conservative small business critic Pat Kelly and Luc Berthold, who focuses on the Treasury Board.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has also called on the government to implement the rules immediately. The chamber says the legislative limbo is making it difficult for small business owners to effectively plan for their future.

MPs on the committee will also meet while federal party leaders gear up for an expected election call later this summer.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 16, 2021.

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