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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 16, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta Tax Column October 16, 1173 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 23 Straight gift to charity best met By I. H. ASPER With the appointment of a non-departmental advisory council to the minister of na- tional revenue a few years ago, it was widely hoped that many of the administrative policies of revenue officials would be reviewed and chang- ed in an effort to create more harmonious relations between taxpayer and tax collector. The advisory council was drawn from across the country and includes many lawyers and accountants who know firsthand that even the fairest or best-intentioned legislation can become burdensome if its im- plementation is unnecessarily complex or inflexible. Since the advisory council was formed there has been considerable improvement in departmental operations, but its work has been hampered because successive governments have for unex- plained reasons treated the department of national revenue as a minor post. The ministry itself has been used as a training ground for up and coming new ministers. The ministers have been changed with such frequency as to have prevented anyone from having had enough ex- perience in the post to have really taken hold of the department. In the result, the real power in the department has been exercised by civil servants who have been able to com- mand their army of bureaucrats with little input from the elected ministers. While the civil servants are able, nevertheless, they are not elected and results tend to be insensitive to the attitudes of their customers, the tax- payers of Canada. This is an undesirable situ- ation from the taxpayer's point of view When it is remembered that the only direct contact with govern- ment for millions of voters is their relationship with the tax department, the absence of strong political control over its operation is even political- ly unwise The situation could be im- proved if the citizens advisory council were given greater scope to search out and exam- ine departmental practices which are often unnecessarily onerous on taxpayers. There are many An example of the kind of administrative practice which should be reconsidered is the department's policy regarding deductions for charitable contributions Retired general war expert TEL AVIV (AP) One of the most widely quoted men these days is a businessman and retired general who com- es into prominence only when Israel is at war. He is Gen. Haim Herzog, a 56-year-old former in- telligence chief of the Israeli army and now the top military analyst and commentator for Israel's State-run broad- casting authority. Herzog is well known to Israeli television viewers and radio listeners because of his analyses following each new development on the battlefront. The military spokesman's office and army sources release only the barest details of the current fighting, so cor- respondents also have turned to Herzog's commentaries. Born in Dublin, Herzog was the son of Ireland's chief rabbi who later became a chief rabbi in Israel. He and his late younger brother Yaacov im- migrated to Israel in 1935. Yaacov Herzog became direc- tor of Premier Golda Meir's office and one of her top ad- visers before his death last year Herzog joined the British army during the Second World War, rising to the rank of ma- jor. He returned to Palestine to become the head of the Jewish Agency's security department The Jewish Agency was the unofficial government of Israel before it became a state. He was military attache to the Israeli embassy in Washington in the early 1950s before his appointment as head of military intelligence in 1959. Herzog began appearing in world newspapers during the 1967 Middle East conflict when he first began broad- casting war analyses. In private life, he is a lawyer and businessman. Herzog is believed to receive most of his informa- tion from top military sources inaccessable to other Israeli or foeign correspondents. The military command says his comments arc "unofficial but extremely reliable." where the giver gets something nominal in return for his gift, such as a meal or free admission to some event. This is particularly relevant at this time of year when church groups, athletic organ- izations, community clubs and cultural organizations are planning their annual appeals for funds. It has become standard procedure for these groups to plan banquets with the idea of hav- ing the hall and food donated or supplied at low cost. The profit goes to the charitable organization. Until a few, years ago the organizations would issue receipts for tickets sold and the buyers would deduct the expense from their income as a charitable gift. The fact is that in almost all cases, the expense is a chari- table gift in the fullest sense. The ticket buyer isn't excited about having to go to the dinner unless it is some out- standing event such as a theatrical or other cultural program. In any event, the tax depart- ment issued a bulletin in 1971 and again this year, stating that it would not allow deduc- tions for these charitable gifts unless the charitable organization separated the amount of the gift from the value of what the donor received or was entitled to receive. Thus, if one wishes to sup- port the local amateur baseball club by buying of tickets to the annual fund- raising banquet, the organiza- tion must first calculate the fair market value of the stan- dard chicken dinner and then issue a receipt for the dif- ference, say Strictly speaking, that's the law. But what is ignored is that in many cases, the donor isn't really interested in spending one of his few free evenings in a hot, crowded hall eating a standard catered meal. He may or may not at- tend the dinner, but even if he doesn't attend he is only allowed a tax deduction for part of his donation. This increases his cost con- siderably; not enough to in- spire him to take to the streets in protest, but enough to pin-prick and irritate him. So much so that many busi- ness firms which normally support these community ac- tivities are becoming less Company fined for false ad GRANDE PRAIRIE (CP) Rexair Sales and Services Ltd of Edmonton was fined on a charge of false and misleading advertising. The fine was imposed in dis- trict court after testimony showed the firm sent out a flyer promising a free gift if a call was placed to the com- pany Residents learned, however, that they were oblig- ed to allow a home demonstra- tion of a vacuum cleaner before receiving the gift. The company pleaded guilty under the Combines Investiga- tion Act. generous. In fact some have resolved the tax problem by refusing to buy tickets to the fund-raising event and are making outright and fully- deductible donations instead. It's quite true that this procedure solves the minor tax problem but that's not the point. The fact is that there are literally dozens of such bureaucratic irritants in the tax system, involving only minor tax and revenue im- plications. It would be worthwhile, in the name of simplicity, to reconsider many of them in an effort to reduce the amount of time and effort Canadians spend in complying with the tax law. Tax administrators have bigger fish to fry and would welcome being relieved of the somewhat petty job of making sure someone doesn't get a taxdeductible meal or theatre ticket. (Mr. Asper is a Winnipeg lawyer Shells prepared SHELL IS THICK Shells stand prepared for counter-barrage in rocky hill terrain (background) The outer shell is 25 self-propelled 155mm howitzers with Israeli crews waiting for orders to fire. Artillery miles thick. duels characterized fighting in Syria, as Israelis pushed towards Damascus. Fashion s Special Purchase of Quilted Nylon or Cotton Terry Robes! 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