Tax treatment of inshore fishermen unfair Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters says

September 11, 2003

Coming out of the Board meeting of the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters the president of the country’s largest fishermen’s organization says the Federal government’s tax treatment of inshore fishermen is unfair and needs to be improved.

“Inshore fishermen are the only business people in the country that aren’t considered business people when it comes to the country’s tax laws” according to Earle McCurdy, President of the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters.

Mr. McCurdy said inshore fishermen who own fishing licenses in the under 65’ fleet sector are not treated like small businesses when it comes to the Income Tax act and consequently have to pay taxes that other businesses don’t. Inshore fishermen represent over 95% of the fishermen in Canada. For the most part they own and operate their boats as small fishing enterprises.

“The owner-operators in the inshore fishery are small businesses in every sense of the word except when it comes to the Income Tax Act”, Mr. McCurdy said. As a result they are being taxed in an unfair way compared to other small businesses.

“The principle of fair treatment between sectors underpins our country’s tax laws but it is not being applied in the case of the inshore fishery”, McCurdy said.

“Farmers have a host of special tax considerations when it comes to transferring the business particularly to a family member without having to pay exorbitant levels of tax.But a fisherman who wants to give a fishing license to a child often faces with a huge capital gains tax”, McCurdy said.

New tax laws to help fishermen transfer their businesses to the next generation are urgently needed McCurdy said because roughly half of all inshore fishermen will be retiring from the fishery over the next ten years and looking to transfer their businesses to family members or crew members with a long term attachment to the industry.

McCurdy said the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters has decided to seek accounting advice in preparation for a brief it plans to make to the Minister of Finance to to request fairer tax treatment for the inshore fishery.

The Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters in the National Sector Council for the fish harvesting industry and represents approximately 80% of organized fishermen in the inshore fishery.

You can see the media release in its original format here.