Author Topic: Soldier's widow fights taxes on survivor benefits  (Read 3371 times)

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Soldier's widow fights taxes on survivor benefits
« on: March 31, 2012, 05:10:00 PM »
Soldier's widow fights taxes on survivor benefits

N.B. resident Chantal Roy's husband Pte. David Byers was killed in Afghanistan in 2006

A young widow of a Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan is demanding that the federal government stop taxing compensation for survivors.

Pte. David Byers was on tour with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in 2006 when the 22-year-old and three others were killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.

Chantal Roy, 24, who lives in Lincoln, N.B., was four months pregnant with the couple's daughter when she learned her fianc? was killed.

Five years later, she still receives a monthly survivor's benefit, of $1,500, from the federal government. Her daughter also receives a monthly orphan benefit of $1,100.

Both payments are taxed by the federal government.

Roy said she would like to go back to work but the tax system makes it difficult for her, and other widows, because any additional earnings would put them in a higher tax bracket.

"Some of us need to go back to work, but the taxes bring it so that we can't go back to work," she said.

"Some of these widows need to get back to work to get back to normal."

After Byers was killed, she received a lump sum of $226,000 that was not taxed.

Roy said she believes the monthly benefits should be tax exempt because her spouse died serving his country and it should be considered differently than ordinary income.Pte. David Byers was one of four soldiers killed in 2006 by a suicide bomber who attacked a patrol in Afghanistan.Pte. David Byers was one of four soldiers killed in 2006 by a suicide bomber who attacked a patrol in Afghanistan. (DND/Canadian Press)

Roy also said the U.S. government does not tax benefits for the families of soldiers killed in the line of duty.

"It's supposed to be a benefit, but it's not," Roy said.
Starts online petition

Roy has asked for a meeting with re-elected Conservative MP Keith Ashfield, who served as minister of national revenue in the previous Parliament.

As well, she has started an online petition lobbying for the change.

The Department of National Defence and the Department of Veterans Affairs will not comment on specific cases.

The Royal Canadian Legion is also seeking reforms to how survivors benefits are paid out.

Survivors now receive benefits of roughly 60 per cent of the salaries of their deceased spouse. The legion would like that to increase to 100 per cent.

However, the legion is not seeking that to be tax exempt.
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