Ryan Pineau began his new job this previous Monday as P.E.I.’s provincial tax commissioner.
The tax commissioner is the one that advises the provincial authorities on tax coverage — so whether or not you understand it or not, his recommendation to authorities may have a reasonably important impact on what’s in each Islander’s pockets.
“I’ve at all times thought tax was fascinating,” Pineau stated.
CBC determined this was a very good alternative to search out out precisely what a tax commissioner does, how Pineau plans to method his job, and a bit of concerning the man himself. He answered questions this week in a cellphone interview on the second day of his new job.
1. He was a distinguished PC
Pineau was the treasurer of P.E.I.’s Progressive Conservative Celebration since 2007, a place he has now given up. In that job he ready monetary statements, developed monetary insurance policies, ready election budgets and obtained financing — among the identical issues he shall be doing for the PC authorities led by Dennis King.
Pineau is a long-time Progressive Conservative supporter, however says being a Tory did not get him the job with P.E.I.’s PC authorities underneath Dennis King, above. (PC Celebration of P.E.I.)
However simply because his Tory blue political stripes match that of the King authorities, Pineau stated that does not imply he was handed the job — it isn’t an appointment. After earlier tax commissioner Elizabeth Gaudet retired, Pineau utilized for the put up by way of P.E.I.’s Public Service Fee.
“I put my identify in and went by way of the interview course of with them,” he stated, including he was “very happy” to win the job.
He stated he obtained concerned in politics as a part of the PC youth wing once we was a UPEI pupil “with an method of wanting to higher the Island … desirous to have an effect on coverage and improvement of the province. The great half about it and the related half I suppose was attending to take care of plenty of authorities officers and MLAs through the years and particularly, now I’ve good relationships with among the present MLAs.”
He stated these relationships will not get in the best way of guaranteeing good tax coverage — he works independently underneath P.E.I.’s deputy minister of finance.
“It is a very collaborative position, and I do not assume it’s going to matter who’s in authorities on the time,” he stated. “I am a consensus-builder by nature.”
2. He got here from the non-public sector
The place different senior civil servants usually stand up by way of the bureaucratic ranks to take prime positions like this, Pineau was an accountant within the non-public sector for 15 years after graduating from UPEI and getting his designation as a chartered accountant.
He was a accomplice in Charlottetown from 2012 to 2020 the place he was an earnings tax specialist with experience in property planning and company reorganizations at accounting agency MacPherson Roche Smith. After a merger, it turned Grant Thornton LLP, the place Pineau suggested non-public enterprise shoppers on P.E.I.
“I carry an exterior viewpoint … I’ve a distinct way of thinking, perhaps, at approaching points,” he stated.
He stated his largest curiosity is “having a good and equitable course of for taxpayers,” because it pertains to tax laws. This contains having a good attraction course of if taxpayers have points with taxes and costs, and ensuring they really feel heard.
3. He advises cupboard ministers, premier
Pineau has a four-year-old daughter and stated he tells her “Daddy helps the federal government increase the cash it wants to assist individuals.”
Considered one of Pineau’s jobs is to advise the provincial cupboard on tax issues. As an illustration, he’d analysis and assist them weigh the professionals and cons of a proposed change in property taxes — just like the deferral in paying property taxes that is taking place proper now — or sin taxes reminiscent of these on tobacco or liquor. He will need to have his finger on the heartbeat of not solely previous however present and future client behaviour — that is how governments set finances targets.
‘Daddy helps the federal government increase the cash it wants to assist individuals,’ is what Pineau tells his four-year-old daughter, right here along with his spouse Victoria. (Robyn Elizabeth Images)
As an illustration, he famous extra individuals stayed dwelling and cooked in the course of the pandemic, since most eating places had been closed. The province’s coffers will take successful, since restaurant or takeout meals is taxed and groceries should not.
“These shifting habits of customers have a big effect, so what we now have to do is then attempt to mannequin that out when it comes to the monetary impression in order that it may be enter into the general authorities finances,” Pineau stated, including that in the course of the present pandemic “there shall be plenty of transferring elements when it comes to a few of these taxes.”
We’re hoping to rebrand it the Division of Enjoyable-ance.— Ryan Pineau
The opposite main factor he does is administer present tax laws.
There are two essential divisions he oversees: one is property taxes together with the land registry, and the opposite is taxes, revenues and costs. He’ll advise on setting property tax charges, in addition to the ten different taxes and costs from gasoline to tobacco to the deposits on beverage containers.
“There’s a variety of charges and taxes which might be a part of everybody’s day-to-day life however they do not in all probability consider who’s within the background administering these,” he stated. He stresses that he would not set the route or give you a imaginative and prescient — that is authorities’s job, and he interprets and administers authorities’s laws.
4. Championed LGBTQ trigger
In 2019, Pineau stepped ahead and supplied to boost cash for an additional flagpole for the City of Alberton to fly the rainbow LGBTQ flag, after the city refused to fly it.
Pineau raised cash for a fourth flag pole for Alberton so the city may fly the Delight flag with out taking down any of the opposite three. (Steve Bruce/CBC)
Council had voted unanimously in opposition to flying the rainbow flag to mark the Worldwide Day In opposition to Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia on Could 17. One of many arguments was the city solely had three flagpoles, and so they had been to fly the municipal, provincial and Canadian flags.
Pineau grew up in West Prince and stated he was upset in council’s determination.
“No matter whether or not there’s room to take down a flag or not, you make one subset of the inhabitants really feel fairly damaging. And I simply do not assume we’re in a day and age the place we have to do this,” he stated on the time.
The city in the end refused his donation of $1,286. He as a substitute gave it to PEERS Alliance to assist fund a drop-in program for LGBTQ youth in West Prince.
5. He likes to be foolish
Working from dwelling this spring in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, Pineau turned P.E.I. well-known by posting foolish parody music movies on social media.
He began by making an attempt to provide his co-workers a giggle, remodeling lyrics from fashionable songs from the previous — ending up with such treasures as Working Out My Again Door, Pandemic Monday and Operating Out of Purell (set to Freeway to Hell).
His accounting agency favored the movies a lot, the corporate posted them on an online web page it arrange about dealing with working at dwelling.
He stated on his first day on the job as tax commissioner, many Finance staffers acknowledged him from Fb. Some even expressed hope Pineau will create some enjoyable movies in and about his new position.
“We’re hoping to rebrand it the Division of Enjoyable-ance,” Pineau stated with a chuckle. “Hopefully we are able to carry some smiles … I do not intend to not be the humorous man anymore.”