The empowered committee delegation, including state finance ministers participated in two round table conferences sponsored by the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce and the Canada-India Business Council in Toronto. Tax experts from Couzon Taylor, Brian Wurts, HST Consulting etc, made presentations at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce event.
"Unlike India, where VAT is administered by the Central and State governments, (in Canada) one agency administers the combined tax. It is more efficient and cost-effective," William Wurts Chairman Brian Wurts told the delegation.
There's a complex formula to determine shares payable to each province, he said, adding, "This is based on the data from a number of sources including the census, family expenditure survey data, and data on housing construction in each province. The goal of the formula is to estimate the province's tax base for the HST, such that when the provincial HST rate is applied to the base, the amount of tax payable to the province is computed."
Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce roundtable president Naval Bajaj said, "Over time, business processes evolve, and tax instruments have to stay in consonance with these changes."
"The Ontario experience of moving over to harmonised sales tax had found support from the business community because it eliminated the cascading input taxes, and minimised duplicate compliance burden for federal and provincial taxes," he added.
The interaction between the Indian delegation and the Canadian experts touched upon several aspects. The panel provided a historical perspective and delineated the issues that had to be resolved both by the federal government and the provinces before implementing tax reforms.
While in Toronto, the Indian delegation also met with Ontario Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid and Government Services Minister Harinder Takhar.
Image: Members of the Indian delegation
Photograph: Ajit Jain