An Extra Burden: The Clergy Residence Deduction

Since 1949, members of religious clergy have been able to deduct their housing costs from their income to reduce their income taxes in Canada via the Clergy Residence Deduction (CRD). In 2015, this reduced the federal taxes of the median religious professional by $1,829. Through tax collection agreements, the CRD also reduces provincial income taxes, amounting to reductions in total taxes paid by the median clergy members of $2,150 in New Brunswick to $5,155 in the Northwest Territories. According to projections by the Ministry of Finance, the provision of CRDs will cost the federal treasury $105 million in foregone revenue in 2021, and has cost the government an estimated $1.035 billion between 2011-2021. The CRD represents funds that the government could have been collecting and using to support or expand public expenditures. It creates a tax burden that must be subsidized by all Canadian taxpayers, regardless of their religious affiliation, or lack thereof. Furthermore, it can be easily replaced by existing deductions like the work-space-in-the-home tax deduction that are offered to everyone, regardless of their religious affiliation or job.

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