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Don’t be long on TSX, loonie heading into ‘tax grab’ budget, Rosenberg warns

Liberal Leader and Canada's Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau speaks to supporters at a rally in Ottawa, October 20, 2015.

PATRICK DOYLE/REUTERS

Gluskin Sheff + Associates chief economist David Rosenberg has fired a warning shot ahead of the upcoming federal budget: "I'm not sure I'd want to be long [on] the TSX or the Canadian dollar heading into March 22."

In his "Breakfast with Dave" note Monday morning, Mr. Rosenberg suggested that the budget could have numerous implications for Canadian investors, reiterating his words from last month that the Liberals could raise the capital-gains inclusion rate as high as 75 per cent, from 50 per cent, which has been the rate since 2000.

Others have speculated that broader tax changes will be held off until a later date, but the warning from Mr. Rosenberg, who is well-connected on Bay Street, is not a light one. "This promises to be a tax-grab budget that would have made the likes of Herb Gray very proud if he was still alive," he wrote.

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He also wrote Monday that he's heard of "changes in the favorable treatment of stock options," and that "there could be trial balloons over the treatment of complete tax-free capital gains on the sale of the principal residence, and Canada Revenue Agency has apparently been told to increase due diligence on sales where part of the home was used for business purposes."

Mr. Rosenberg also pointed to last October's announcement by Finance Minister Bill Morneau that sales of a principal residence must be reported on one's tax return, whether or not tax is owed on the gain. The economist called it an "early sign that future changes are coming here too."

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