CIPS wants tax exemption for IT professionals

An association of IT professionals has proposed an ICT strategy for Canada that would see technology professionals exempted from personal income taxes and the elimination of sales taxes on technology products.

CIPS proposed the strategy in a press release issued Thursday afternoon.

“At CIPS we believe in order to ensure the long-term viability of Canada’s information technology industry, we need a concerted effort from government, academia and the industry,” CIPS said in the press release.

“In order to stimulate the sector and address the lack of qualified IT professionals, CIPS advocates recruiting more professionals from overseas, and repatriating Canadians who have left.”

Potential measures outlined by CIPS are:

* The elimination of income tax for Canadian IT professionals as an incentive to encourage students to enter the field and expatriate IT professionals to return to Canada.

* Eliminate the tax on “all technology sold in Canada” as a boost to manufacturers and retailers.

* A “relief mechanism, either financial or otherwise,” to encourage enrolment in ICT programs.

* A government Web site to promote an increased number of bursaries and scholarships from associations and companies.

About 3.5 per cent of Canada’s working population – 592,600 people – were employed in the ICT sector in 2007, according to Statistics Canada. ICT workers earned an average of $58,618 in 2007, 46 per cent more than the economy-wide average of $40,083.

The average ICT worker would pay $10,045 in federal taxes, according to Canada Revenue Agency’s 2009 schedule. That’s nearly $60 billion in federal tax dollars.

February’s federal budget contained a provision that allowed companies to write off 100 per cent of their hardware and systems software purchases in the next two years, a $700-million tax package to spur IT spending.

IT World Canada is following the story and will update as soon as more information becomes available.