One tenth of small businesses used as tax shelters

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One tenth of small businesses used as tax shelters

Common to Conservatives in Ontario, Alberta

TORONTO September 24th, 2015 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1557 adult Canadians, 3-in-10 have small businesses (29%), and these are slightly more likely to be what is termed a micro-business (one to four employees - 17%), than “small” small businesses (five to 99 employees - 12%). Small businesses are especially common to Alberta (39% in total, 28% micro, 11% “small”). Conservatives are also especially likely to own these businesses (34% in total, 24% micro, 10% “small”).

Three quarters do not use small business as tax shelter, a quarter may

Three quarters of small business owners explicitly say they do not use their businesses as tax shelters (76%), while one tenth admit they do (8%). A further one sixth choose not to answer, and it must be assumed some of these also use their businesses in this manner (16%). In other words, as many as one quarter of small business owners may use their businesses as tax shelters (24%). This behaviour is especially common to Ontario and Alberta (12% each), Conservatives (11%), the wealthier ($80K to $100K - 15%), not particularly in Quebec (3%) but very commonly among the most educated (post grad - 19%). Tax sheltering in small businesses is more common to micro businesses (12%) than to “small” small businesses (4%).

 “It is undoubtedly true, as Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has pointed out, that some small business owners use their enterprises as tax shelters, but it is interesting to see this practice is more common among Conservatives and in Alberta, where among the loudest complaints about this assertion were made," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at or at (416) 960-9603.