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Topic – What Are Taxes?

Read the Following Selection

Read the following selection, or click on the play button below to listen aloud.

What Are Taxes?

Did you know Canadians have to pay money to the federal, provincial, and municipal governments for the public services they provide? The money that Canadians are required to pay to the government is called taxes.

Canadians pay taxes in many ways

Taxes pay for the operation of the government and its activities. This can be expensive. People cannot choose to pay for some public services but not for others. The building and repair of roads, schools, libraries, and hospitals are just some of the things paid for with tax money. Even if you do not need to use the services of a hospital, police, or firefighters, you are still expected to pay taxes as a member of the community. You might not need the service now, but you might later.

Canadians pay taxes in many ways. The first way is by giving up some of the money they earned. This is called income tax. The second way is by paying extra money for the things we buy. This is called sales tax. The third way is by paying taxes on any property someone owns. This is called property tax.

The government knows how much tax money they need by deciding ahead of time what they plan to spend the money on. This plan is called a budget. A budget is a plan of how much things will cost and if the government has enough money to pay for it.

Each year, federal, provincial, and municipal governments are responsible for keeping track of money they spent. If at the end of the year the government has spent more money than it had available, this is called a deficit. If the government has money left over, this is called a surplus.

Now, show what you know!

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