Product description

The Social Policy Simulation Database and Model (SPSD/M) is a tool designed to assist those interested in analyzing the financial interactions of governments and individuals in Canada. It can help one to assess the cost implications or income redistributive effects of changes in the personal taxation and cash transfer system. As the name implies, SPSD/M consists of two integrated parts: a database (SPSD), and a model (SPSM). The SPSD is a non-confidential, statistically representative database of individuals in their family context, with enough information on each individual to compute taxes paid to and cash transfers received from government. The SPSM is a static accounting model which processes each individual and family on the SPSD, calculates taxes and transfers using legislated or proposed programs and algorithms, and reports on the results. A sophisticated software environment gives the user a high degree of control over the inputs and outputs to the model and can allow the user to modify existing programs or test proposals for entirely new programs. The model comes with full documentation including an on-line help facility.

Users and Applications

The SPSD/M has been been used in hundreds of sites across Canada. These sites have diverse research interests in the area of income tax-transfer and commodity tax systems in Canada as well as varied experience in micro-simulation. Our growing client base includes federal departments, provincial governments, universities, interest groups, corporate divisions, and private consultants.

The diverse applications of the SPSD/M can be seen in the following examples of studies and published research reports:

  • Costing out proposals for amendments to the Income Tax Act affecting the tax treatment of seniors and the disabled
  • Estimating the fiscal viability of major personal tax reform options, including three flat tax scenarios
  • The comparison low income (poverty) measures and their effect on the estimates of the number of poor
  • An Analysis of the Distributional Impact of the Goods and Services Tax
  • Married and Unmarried Couples: The Tax Question
  • Taxes and Transfers in Rural Canada
  • Equivalencies in Canadian Public Policy
  • When the Baby Boom Grows Old: Impact on Canada's Public Sector

Some potential uses of the model are illustrated by the following list of questions which may be answered using the SPSM:

  • How large an increase in the federal Child Tax Benefit could be financed by allocating an additional $500 million to the program?
  • Which province would have the most advantageous tax structure for an individual with $45,000 earned income, 2 children and $15,000 of investment income?
  • What is the after-tax value of the major federal child support programs on a per child basis, and how are these benefits distributed across family types and income groups?
  • How many individuals otherwise paying no tax would have to pay tax under various minimum tax systems, and what would additional government revenues be?
  • How much money would be needed to raise all low income families and persons to Statistics Canada's low income cut-offs in 2014?
  • How much would average household "consumable" income rise if a province elminated its gasoline taxes?
  • How much would federal government revenue rise by if there was an increase in the GST rate?
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