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High-income trends among Canadian taxfilers, 2014

Released: 2016-11-21

The average total income of the top 1% of Canadian taxfilers rose just under 0.4% from 2013 to $466,700 in 2014.

In recent years, the average total income of the top 1% has remained roughly stable, growing 0.4% from 2009 to 2014, while the average total income of all taxfilers grew 4.2%.

The share of the country's total income held by the top 1% did not change from 2013 at 10.3%, almost two percentage points below the peak of 12.1% in 2006. The most recent year that the top 1% had a smaller share was 1998 at 10.2%.

Canada's top 1% taxfilers paid, on average, $159,500 in income taxes to the federal and provincial or territorial governments in 2014, up $4,200 or 2.7% over the previous year.

As a result, the share of income taxes paid by the top 1% rose slightly from 20.3% in 2013 to 20.5% in 2014. That was down from a peak of 23.3% in 2007.

To be in the top 1 percent in 2014, a taxfiler must have earned a total income of at least $227,100. Over 268,500 Canadians were in this high-income group.

More top 1 percent taxfilers living in Alberta and fewer in Ontario

Alberta accounted for much of the increase in the nation's top 1% of taxfilers between 2013 and 2014. This predated the drop in oil prices in 2015. Nearly 68,600 of the high-income group lived in the province in 2014, an increase of more than 6,000 over 2013.

In contrast, the number of top 1% taxfilers living in Ontario fell by 1,900, from 109,100 in 2013 to 107,200 in 2014.

However, Ontario retained the largest share of Canada's top 1% of taxfilers (39.9%) in 2014. Ontario and Alberta combined accounted for 65.5% of the country's top 1% of taxfilers, which was above their share of the country's total taxfilers at 49.1%.

Average income and income taxes highest for top 1% in Ontario

Canada's top 1% of taxfilers differed among the provinces in income received, tax paid and proportion of income that came from employment.

The top 1% of taxfilers living in Ontario had the highest total income, making on average of $487,100 in 2014. They were followed by the top 1% in Alberta with $474,200.

In contrast, the top 1% living in Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest total income. They made, on average, $367,500, nearly 25% lower than their Ontario counterparts.

The difference in income taxes paid was even larger between the top 1% from the two provinces. Those living in Ontario in 2014 paid on average $179,000, over 50% more than the average income taxes paid by those in Newfoundland and Labrador ($116,700).

Income taxes paid by the top 1% rises the most in Ontario

While income taxes paid by the top 1% rose 2.7% in Canada, the increase was larger for those living in Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec.

The top 1% of taxfilers living in Ontario paid on average $179,000 in income taxes in 2014, up $11,800 or 7.1% over 2013, while their total income rose by $10,100 or 2.1%.

Income taxes paid by the top 1% living in New Brunswick rose 5.5%, accompanied by a 3.5% increase in their total income. For those living in Quebec, taxes paid (+3.0%) and income received (+2.9%) rose at almost the same rate.

British Columbia (-4.0%), Saskatchewan (-3.0%) and Nova Scotia (-2.3%) all recorded declines in the amount of average income tax paid by the top 1%. At the same time, the three provinces saw a drop in average total income with British Columbia down 6.6%, Saskatchewan falling 2.1% and Nova Scotia recording a 2.5% decline.

Share of wages and salaries highest for top 1% in Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta

Just under three-quarters (74.2%) of the income for the top 1% living in Newfoundland and Labrador came from wages and salaries in 2014, the highest in the country. Wages and salaries also made up a high proportion of the total income for the top 1% of taxfilers in Alberta (72.3%).

Conversely, the share of wages and salaries constituted 52.2% of the total income for the top 1% of taxfilers living in Quebec, the lowest in the country. The shares were also relatively low for the top 1% in Nova Scotia (56.8%) and Saskatchewan (58.8%).


  Note to readers

Data for 2014 have been added to the Longitudinal Administrative Databank (LAD). This databank now spans 33 years, from 1982 to 2014, and contains information about individuals and their census families.

The LAD consists of a 20% longitudinal sample of Canadian taxfilers and provides researchers and analysts with a tool for studying the changes in income experienced by individuals and their families. The LAD contains a wide variety of income and demographic variables such as employment income, self-employment income, Registered Retirement Savings Plan contributions, alimony, age, sex and census family composition. Its large sample ensures reliable data for Canada, the provinces, census metropolitan areas and some sub-provincial regions based on aggregations of postal codes.

The LAD also contains information from the Longitudinal Immigration Database. It covers immigrants who landed between 1980 and 2013 and provides information on their key characteristics at landing. Information from Tax Free Savings Accounts for 2014 has also been added to the LAD.

Derived from the LAD, data for 1982 to 2014 on Canadian taxfilers with high incomes as well as data on the low-income dynamics of Canadian taxfilers are now available on CANSIM for various provinces and selected census metropolitan areas.

All dollar figures in this release are expressed in 2014 constant dollars unless otherwise noted.

Total (or before-tax) income consists of income from earnings, investments, pensions, spousal support payments and other taxable income plus government transfers and refundable tax credits.

Since not all individuals file income tax returns and a small share of taxfilers die each year, statistics contained in these tables should be interpreted in the context of living taxfilers, not the whole population.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Brian Murphy (613-617-9481; brianb.murphy@canada.ca), Income Statistics Division.

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