Conservatives ask auditor general to review tax-change confusion


The Opposition Conservatives are asking the auditor general to probe the Finance Department's handling of tax changes that left small business owners and family farmers confused for weeks.
It was a Conservative private member's bill approved by Parliament in late June that rewrote the tax code so owners could sell the family business to relatives at the same tax rate as if they were selling to a stranger.
One day after the bill got parliamentary approval, the Finance Department announced the government would introduce amendments to close potential loopholes and apply the rules on family business sales starting Jan. 1, 2022.
On Monday, hours before a House of Commons committee hearing on the matter, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the new rules were the law of the land and sought to clarify the earlier statement.
In a letter on Thursday, the Conservatives argue a number of questions remain surrounding the government's decision-making process, and ask auditor general Karen Hogan to conduct her own review.
Luc Berthold, the party's Treasury Board critic, writes in the letter that he believes Hogan's office has a key role to play in helping explain what happened.