It's not dumb ole me saying this, it's the Certified General Accountants of Canada, which has just released a study that describes the problems - Is the Capital Cost Allowance System in Canada Unnecessarily Complex?.
Among the particular issues:
- proliferation in the number of classes from 12 originally to 56 in 2012
- more complex and confusing wording for the classes
- changing rates from year to year for the same thing e.g computers (I've encountered this myself trying to do my taxes in claiming computer equipment and it is frustrating and time consuming to figure out.)
- special classes that misuse the CCA system to achieve industrial policy or economic incentives for certain industries
The end result, according to the CGA press release quoting Rock Lefebvre, FCGA and vice president of Research & Standards at CGA-Canada: “... it has added increased complexity to the tax system and the many changes introduced weakened the system’s equity and neutrality.”
Good on the CGA for raising the issue. It's a little bit altruistic considering that the more complicated the tax system is, the more we have to pay accountants who know all the infuriating gotchas.
Let's hope that the federal government folks in Ottawa are listening and that if they act they do not give rise to a new saying going something like "a naked mole rat is an improved rat created by a government reform". See photos of the naked mole rat here.