After Taxes: Canada vs US

My sister calculated that, if I lived in Quebec, to take home the amount I do now after taxes I would have to make $15,000 more per year*.

With progressive taxation, it gets worse. A person who makes $100,000 in the US would have to make about $170,000 in Canada.

* In case anybody is wondering, the salaries of tenure-track Assistant Professors are lower in Quebec than pretty much anywhere in the US.

11 thoughts on “After Taxes: Canada vs US

  1. Would other spending stay the same? Because now, I am paying $230 a month as a premium for my health insurance (just me and my husband), and that doesn’t take into account the out of pocket expenses (which, because of certain chronic conditions, can be $2,500 a year). So just there, we are talking about $5,000 in medical expenses.

    In any case, I prefer a society with higher taxes but a better safety net for all its citizens. That is not the most popular view in the US, obviously, but net income isn’t everything.


    1. There is no health insurance because medicare is free for all (and very very good, don’t believe the detractors). Higher education is (at least for now) still very cheap. Real estate is much cheaper than in the US. I know several young, professional, single women who bought their own condos in beautiful houses downtown. The real estate in Montreal is nowhere near the insane prices you see in the US.

      Food is much more expensive but a lot better in quality, more varied and healthier. Electronics and clothes are more expensive in Quebec. So are books. Cell phone plans are insanely expensive because there is a near-monopoly. It’s the same for banking services.

      “Because now, I am paying $230 a month as a premium for my health insurance (just me and my husband), and that doesn’t take into account the out of pocket expenses”

      – When I talked about the money I took home, I meant the amount I took home after my medical insurance and all taxes were taken out. In Quebec, it’s taken out in the form of taxes, here it’s taken out in terms of insurance premiums.


      1. Spanish Prof’s questions were exactly what I was wondering, too. Are there costs the come out of your ultimate take-home in the US that doesn’t in Quebec?

        I ask because in India, where I incidentally pay far less taxes than I do in the US, I have access to *some* better tax-paid resources, like pavements everywhere and public transport, also everywhere. On the other hand, some resources that the US provides, although insanely expensive, would not be available here, like getting an ambulance within ten minutes of calling for one.

        You will notice there is no actual parity in benefits. I don’t always need an ambulance, but I do always need footpaths, but when I desperately need an ambulance, no amount of footpaths or public transport will help.


        1. The public transportation in Montreal is great. But it is also great where I live in the US and it is 3 times cheaper. In less urban areas of Canada, there is mostly no public transportation to speak of. Big cities are good, though.

          Canada does a lot better than the US on footpaths. And bikepaths, too. I had very good experiences with ambulances in both countries. I mean “good” as far as it’s possible to have a good experience with an ambulance. πŸ™‚


  2. @Spanish Prof
    You are right – the value of free healthcare services cannot be discounted. That being said, out health insurance does still require lots of out-of-pocket spending (ambulance services, private or semi-private room in hospitals, dental, eye care and many more). When my father was hospitalized with a stroke, he had to stay in a hallway of the emergency room with lights being turned on permanently. I did wish for a dual healthcare system at that point. What also becomes frustrating is when my husband and I pay 60000$ in income taxes between the two of us and have thousands of welfare recipients milking the government despite being fully equipped to work. It’s a tough issue and I guess no perfect system exists. It seems, however, that in Canada it’s the middle class that is constantly being squeezed.


  3. As a dual citizen, I have to declare my income in both countries, Canada and the U.S, and pay taxes twice, essentially. It didn’t used to be this way, but since the U.S budget is in such dire straights, they’ve begun squeezing Americans who live in Canada and duals.


    1. I had this problem the entire time I was a grad student in the US. And I have to say that the US government was a lot more reasonable than the Canadian. The Americans never attempted to tax my Canadian scholarship while the Canadians taxed the American scholarship (I had 2 scholarships).


  4. I am sorry, but what you are saying is hard to believe. I kind of used to live (and interview) in your part of the US. And now I live in Montreal. So I know what salaries are paid to professors in both places. Essentially you are saying that you are not paying any taxes. πŸ™‚ :)This is the only way you would pay $15000 more taxes in Quebec.
    Oops… Actually it is not the only way. The other possibility is that you get over 150K a year. Is you university hiring a professor of physics by any chance? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    Or did you factor some cost of living things, like real estate prices, and forgot to mention it?


    1. No, I simply told my sister how much I take home after taxes. And she told me that she used to take home the same amount from a salary that was 15,000 greater. Mind you, not the taxes are 15,000 more. The salary was.


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