MPs getting nudge from Canada Revenue Agency to highlight Tory tax measures

OTTAWA — An annual tax season information kit being sent to all members of Parliament is going further than just outlining the nuts and bolts of paying taxes.

MPs also appear to be getting a nudge from the Canada Revenue Agency to remind constituents about the Conservatives’ recently-announced tax measures targeted at families.

The information kit is being sent as MPs are back in their ridings and says it’s what their constituents will want to know during tax-filing season.

It includes the basics on paying the taxman, but the increased child care benefit, increased fitness tax credit and the income-splitting plan get much glossier treatment.

Each is highlighted with graphics and bold text and includes information about how much money a family can receive and how many families the government thinks will benefit.

A copy of this year’s package was obtained by The Canadian Press and was to be distributed to all MPs on Monday.

The Conservatives have drawn criticism in the past for using taxpayer-funded communications in a seemingly-partisan fashion though the kit makes no mention of the party or the prime minister.

An accompanying letter with the kit is signed by Kerry-Lynne Findlay, the minister of national revenue.

A copy of last year’s MP package accessed online doesn’t promote any particular tax programs.

The family measures, announced in October, are a central part of the Conservative government’s economic policy and likely to be front and centre during the election campaign this fall.

They’re also responsible for eating up nearly half of the federal surplus.

The Opposition New Democrats and Liberals say the income-splitting plan in particular only benefits the wealthiest families and the money should be used in other ways.

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