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Federal Budget 2012-2013 highlights for business owners and managers

March 29, 2012

FISCAL PLAN

The Federal Government plans to balance its budget by 2014/2015.

It also announced that the results of its review of departmental spending would yield savings of $5.2 billion on an ongoing basis.

There were no significant new taxes introduced.

SMALL BUSINESS MEASURES

SMB - HIRING TAX CREDIT
The Government is extending the Hiring Credit for Small Business for one year, which will provide a credit of up to $1,000 against a small employer's increase in its 2012 EI premiums over those paid in 2011.

SMB - SALES TAX
The Government is taking actions to reduce the tax compliance burden for small businesses. This includes doubling the thresholds for eligibility to use the GST/HST streamlined accounting methods, simplifying administration for partnerships, and improving the rules for paying eligible dividends.

EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
The Government is limiting rate increases to five cents per year until the EI Operating Account is balanced, after which the Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board will be mandated to set a seven-year break-even rate to be recalculated every year.

NO MORE NEW PENNIES
The Government will introduce legislation to modernize Canada's currency set by eliminating the penny from Canada's coinage system. The Government will no longer distribute new pennies as of Fall 2012.

CORPORATE MEASURES

DIVIDENDS
Additionally, Budget 2012 proposes to simplify the manner in which a corporation resident in Canada pays and designates eligible dividends.

R & D
The Government is supporting innovation in Canada through a $1.1 billion investment over five years to directly support research and development and $500 million for venture capital.

MINERAL EXPLORATION TAX CREDIT
The temporary 15% Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for investors in flow-through shares has been extended for an additional year, to March 31, 2013.

MAJOR PROJECTS

FEDERAL SHIP BUILDING
The Government has devised The Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan and the Western Canada Shipbuilding Action Plan. These Action Plans are designed to promote the active participation of small and medium-sized businesses in the supply chains that will result from the building of the ships and therefore creating jobs and encouraging growth throughout the regions.

ENVIROMENTAL REVIEW PROCESS
The Government will bring forward legislation to implement system-wide improvements to achieve the goal of "one project, one review" in a clearly defined time period. Budget 2012 proposes to streamline the review process for major economic projects, support consultation with Aboriginal peoples, and strengthen pipeline and marine safety.

PERSONAL MEASURES

OLD AGE SECURITY
The Government will adjust the age of eligibility requirement (from 65 to 67) for OAS, which will begin to be implemented in 2023 and will be fully implemented in 2029. This change will not affect anyone who is 49 years of age or older as of March 31, 2012.

Starting on July 1, 2013, the Government will allow for the voluntary deferral of the OAS pension, for up to five years, allowing Canadians the option of deferring take-up of their OAS pension to a later time and receiving a higher annual pension.

TRAVELLER'S EXEMPTION LIMITS
The Government proposes to increase the value of goods that may be imported duty- and tax-free by Canadian residents returning from abroad after a 24-hour and 48-hour absence to $200 and $800, harmonizing them with U.S. levels.

PERSONAL BENEFITS
Budget 2012 is committing $1.4 million annually to the Wage Earner Protection Program.

VBOT BUDGET REPORT CARD

The Vancouver Board of Trade's Government and Finance Committee rated the Federal Budget 2012/2013 with an overall "A" Grade. For more information on the report card visit www.boardoftrade.com. For more information on the Federal Budget, visit www.budget.gc.ca

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