The Good and Bad of Taxes
You probably hear a lot of adults complaining about taxes. People work hard to make money for food, clothing, and to support their families. It can be frustrating knowing that the government takes some of that money. Where does it go? Taxes are used to run the government and go toward many different things that benefit you and everyone around you. Even if you do not realize it, those dollars are going towards physical things and services that have a huge impact on our lives.
The municipal (cities), provincial (provinces), and federal (national) levels of government all collect taxes from people’s incomes, purchases, and more. You are required by law to pay your taxes to these government bodies. About half of those funds are spent directly on Canadians. These are things such as healthcare, education, and more. Provinces use taxes for education, children’s programs, and beyond. Canada invests in helping senior citizens, people with disabilities, and those struggling to find work. About a third of taxes go towards running the government, which includes police and firefighters. These are services that we do not use every day. Yet we are extremely grateful for this when we need them.
Did you know that you already pay taxes? Every time you buy something, a percentage of tax is added onto the cost. Start paying attention to receipts when you buy something online or at the store. Taxes are not often shown on the display price, so it is important to know the percentage of tax you will pay and how it impacts your budget. As you go to and from those stores, as well as school or other places, start taking notes of the things around you. The roads around you need repair. Firetrucks drive by with sirens blaring. The public library is open and filled with books to read. All of these things take work to make them happen, and that work is paid for by your tax dollars.
Part of the reason adults get so upset about taxes is we cannot see directly where every dollar goes. Many people disagree with ways some of taxes are spent. You may hear adults complain about overpaid politicians, or money being spent on wars in other countries. It is easy to become bitter about something you have little control over. This is why it is so important to follow politics and learn about the different political parties in Canada. They have platforms, or a list of actions they plan to carry out, that tell you how they want to spend your tax dollars. Start by visiting their websites. Talk to your teachers, parents, and friends about it. Be educated. So many adults get frustrated about taxes without doing their research. Know where your money is going and who to vote for to make it go towards good causes.
The tax system is very complex. Yet it is important to learn, because it plays such an important role in your community and society as a whole. Governments use that money for things that keep us alive, healthy, and happy. A lot of that money can also go towards things people feel are wasteful or unethical. This is why knowledge is so important. Start studying and learning more about how the levels of government use taxes, as well as what politicians are saying about how that money should be spent. This includes money you are already giving to the government with every purchase, and will continue to pay with your job’s salary. So make sure you know where that money is going.
Turbo Tax. “Teaching Taxes: What Are Taxes and How Are They Used?” https://turbotax.intuit.ca/tips/teaching-taxes-what-are-taxes-and-how-are-they-used-228
Wonderopolis. “Why Do You Have To Pay Taxes?” https://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/why-do-you-have-to-pay-taxes