Corpcentre's Blog

April 11, 2010

Ontario’s Hidden Green Tax

If you reside in Ontario, you already know that Canada Day 2010 will also hail the inception of Ontario’s new 13% Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). What you may not know is that you are most likely to begin paying another new tax as early as May.

While yet not formally announced, the Liberal government will be imposing a new levy on hydro bills throughout the province to help cover $53 million of the government’s conservation and green energy program. Opponents of this measure call the levy a hidden tax that is unnecessary. While the Liberals claim that the average hydro bill will only increase by $4 annually, this claim fails to acknowledge that the HST will already increase hydro bills by an additional 8%.

Defending their decision, Liberals maintain that the only alternative is to continue operating the province’s energy system by burning coal, thus contributing to an unhealthy environment. The money from the levy would pay for home audits and institute a program to help industrial and commercial firms convert to solar power. The focus of the program will be conservation, rather than merely converting to new infrastructures, which could prove to be extremely costly to taxpayers.

Critics of the government’s green plan question whether all the affordable conservation options have been investigated, rather than turning immediately to the consumers’ pockets. The most effective program would be one that will help the maximum number of hydro users conserve. Furthermore, producers of “green power” appear to be the prime beneficiaries of this new program, as opposed to actually transforming Ontario into a “green” province.

Whether the environment will win or lose in the long term is still most uncertain. What is certain, though, is that Ontario residents will begin paying more for hydro in the near future. Hopefully, they will be investing in their environment, not just in their government.

Incorporate in Ontario with CorporationCentre.ca
Click. You’re incorporated ®

Advertisements

February 18, 2010

Ontario’s Growth Spurt

Get ready, Canada! Ontario is about to set a new record.

With the country now emerging from the recession, it’s time to take stock and assess the damages. As a province dependant heavily on its manufacturing sector, Ontario’s GDP was one of the worst performing, matching those of Newfoundland and Labrador, contracting in 2009 by 3.5%. However, as many companies have a need to restock depleted inventories, Ontario is now benefiting from a business boom. Economic forecasts predict that Ontario’s GDP will grow by 2.4% in 2010, outpacing the national rate that is projected at 2.3%. This will be the first time in eight years that Ontario has excelled in terms of national growth. This growth is expected to continue into 2011 and reach 2.8%, although national levels are expected to reach 3% next year. Economists fear, though, that restocking inventory will only provide temporary relief. As the warehouses and shelves are filled, orders will taper off and return to earlier levels.

The growth in the GDP is good news for a province that is burdened by a massive deficit, the largest of all the nation’s provinces. Higher energy prices as well as competitive foreign markets are making it difficult to cope with the deficit. On the other hand, the HST, due to take begin on July 1, is expected to help ease the deficit burden. Combined with the HST, new, lower corporate taxes are expected to attract investments and new jobs to the province.

While manufacturing will experience a temporary post-recession growth spurt, Canada’s abundant natural resources will still lead the way economically. Saskatchewan is expected to remain the leader among provinces, based on the strength of its oil, potash, agriculture and uranium sectors. British Columbia and Newfoundland, both of whom suffered during the recession, are also expected to experience significant economic expansion in the coming year.

Incorporate in Canada with CorporationCentre.ca
Click. You’re incorporated ®

December 17, 2009

A Province Divided

It would appear that all is not well in Canada’s westernmost province. The implementation of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) looms on the horizon for July 2010 and the ground underfoot is shaky with protests and counter-protests.
 
Critics of the new tax claim that the Liberal government of Gordon Campbell organized strong support from within the business community to endorse the HST. The business community refutes any such instigation by the government. Business leaders in B.C. claim that, following Ontario’s lead in adopting this new tax, they realized that the inherent benefits far outweigh the disadvantages and, thus, have supported the government’s tax proposals. They see the new tax as a way to stimulate the province’s productivity which, according to experts, has been “dismal” for the last two decades. While big business agrees that there will be short term problems with the HST, they feel that the tax will lead to long term economic improvement in investments, competitiveness, and consumer prices.
 
Consumers are slow to give their endorsement. That which is good for business means taking more from the consumer’s pocket. The bottom line is that consumers will now pay more for many goods and services that will carry the HST tag but are currently exempt from PST or GST. This disgruntlement has given way to public protest about other government policies that have not found favour with the public.
 
As a result of the recession, the B.C. government has been forced to curtail some budgets and trim expenses on existing programs. Indeed, with the new budget looming, the public is awaiting the latest round of budget cuts. A prevailing opinion is that the HST was adopted in order to funnel more money into an ailing provincial budget at the public’s expense. During the election campaign, Premier Campbell pledged a deficit ceiling of $495 million. As this summer approached, that pledge grew to a whopping $1 billion and the end of summer saw a projection of that estimate being tripled. With numbers like these being bantered about, neither side is quite sure about the true economic state of the province.
 
Incorporate in Canada with CorporationCentre.ca
Click. You’re incorporated ®
 

December 15, 2009

Ontario Justifies HST

The votes are in. Ontario’s Liberal government passed legislation to create a single 13 per cent Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) beginning July 1, 2010. The final vote came after weeks of staunch opposition in the Ontario legislature. However, as NDP leader Andrea Horwath stated, the Liberal majority was able to “ram through the HST bill…with little debate as possible.”
 
The Liberals are enthusiastic about the HST. In a province still reeling from massive unemployment due to the current recession, the government estimates that the new tax will help create 600,000 new jobs over the next decade. Blending the PST and the GST will lower costs for businesses. This, in turn, will allow businesses to lower prices for consumers and hire more staff.
 
The opposition parties are adamant that the public, if asked, would strongly oppose the new HST and, thus, the Liberals did not take the tax issue to the polls. The opposition feels that the tax bill was railroaded as a way to increase tax revenues for the province. While many businesses will, indeed, benefit from the new tax, consumers will ultimately pay more from their pockets. Current PST exempt items including gasoline, home heating fuel, and cable TV will now be taxed under the new HST.
 
The new tax legislation is not without compensation. January 1, 2010 will see the implementation of tax cuts to both corporate and income taxes. Furthermore, some families will be entitled to a one-time rebate of up to $1,000 to offset the tax impact.
 
Ontario is not the only province to implement the HST. New Brunswick, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador have already done so. British Columbia has passed legislation to implement the HST next year as well.

Incorporate in Ontario with CorporationCentre.ca
Click. You’re incorporated ®

August 5, 2009

HST Coming to BC

Filed under: canada economy,canada incorporation,HST,incorporate in BC — corpcentre @ 4:33 pm

British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell has announced that his province will be introducing the Harmonized Tax (HST). The province will harmonize its provincial sales tax (PST) with the federal GST creating a single 12 per cent sales tax. The new tax is scheduled to come into effect July 1, 2010.

B.C.’s HST will be the lowest in Canada, noted provincial Finance Minister Colin Hansen. The province does admit, though, that the new tax will increase the cost of some services in the short term, as these were previously exempt from the PST. However, government leaders explain that the new HST will boost investment and ultimately cut costs.

Addressing the possible rise in prices, Mr. Hansen explained that the PST is often embedded in the price of goods, such that the consumer does not see it at the register. He feels that the cost savings for businesses, resulting from the new tax, should be passed on to consumers. Provincial leaders estimate that over $2 billion in costs will be removed from B.C. businesses.

Similar to the PST, the new tax will also include exemptions. The HST will not be applied to gas and diesel fuels, children’s car seats, children’s shoes and clothing, diapers and feminine hygiene products. The exemptions will come as point-of-sale rebates. In addition, there will be a partial rebate of the provincial portion of the HST on houses up to $400,000. These houses will bear no more tax than under the current PST and houses above this amount will benefit from a flat rebate of approximately $20,000.

The federal government has pledged $1.6 billion in transitional funding as well as paying for the full cost of administration, thus generating an additional $30 million in savings annually to the province.

Incorporate in BC, Canada with CorporationCentre.ca
Click. You’re incorporated ®

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.