Recognizing a political opportunity the pandemic has created by forcing millions of Canadians to work from home, for the 2020 tax year, the Trudeau government is encouraging taxpayers to take advantage of a $400 Home Office Expense Deduction.
“This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset,” Trudeau in a pre-recorded message told the conference of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020. “This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts, to re-imagine economic systems…”
The rules have been relaxed by introducing a shorter qualifying period and not requiring employers to sign Revenue Canada forms attesting to working from home.
This is not unlike the new tax form requirement brought in by the Liberal Government to list your principal residence on your tax return. By paying taxpayers to self-identify, the government will collect the data it needs without disclosing what it intends to do with this information.
So what is behind this cash give away funded by borrowed money?
If the goal is to encourage more people to work from home, what will that do to the value of the house? Will a debt-ridden government require capital gains to be paid on that portion of the home being deducted as work space? Will this be added to imputed rent, the housing equity tax the Trudeau government has Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) researching?
Imputed rent is an estimate of the rent an owner-occupied property would earn if the owner were paying rent rather than owning the property. This tax grab would be in addition to property taxes homeowners now pay. Is this being done to deflate the housing market, where the average house price is now more than $650,000?
The federal government’s rapid housing initiative (RHI) is providing taxpayer dollars to the City of Hamilton to convert office and commercial properties made vacant by the pandemic into “affordable” housing. The properties are vacant as a result of more people working from home. Vacant properties do not pay the same taxes. Will Municipalities use the new federal Impact Assessment Act passed in the last Parliament to facilitate property tax increases to compensate for mixed use, including working from home?
By encouraging more people to work from home through a simple tax deduction, commercial office space becomes redundant. As rural residents become unable to afford the price of fuel, housing is created in vacant office buildings, which can now double as workspace. Eliminating the need to drive to work reduces the carbon footprint at a time the Liberal carbon tax is being increased by 240 per cent. We have to ask ourselves if this is just the garden variety of Liberal bribe, and why the government would want to know who is working from home.