Last week, the Newfoundland and Labrador government announced that it will be launching an independent review of its tax system. The review will be led by a five-person committee and will examine personal and business taxes including personal income tax, gasoline tax, retail sales tax, tax on insurance premiums and payroll tax.

In addition, the government announced that it will eliminate its controversial book tax in January 2018. Over the past two years, the provincial government has charged the full HST on books purchased by individuals. RCC lobbied against this practice, pointing out that Newfoundland and Labrador was the only province in Canada to not rebate the provincial portion of this tax at the point of sale. Rebating the provincial portion of the tax will only cost the provincial government $2.6 million annually while the tax relief will have a significant impact on booksellers.

RCC is pleased with this announcement as it has consistently advocated for tax relief. Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the highest taxed provinces in the country.

Background:

Taxes were increased significantly in 2015 to fight a $2.7 billion deficit. This deficit has since been trimmed to $800 million.

The Minister of Finance has caused some concern to retailers in suggesting that the review committee may even look into a tax on sugar and fast foods. RCC has consistently advocated against such an approach and to this point, the government has felt that a sugar and/or fat tax would cost too much to implement.

The review should be completed by September 2018, with a final report expected in November 2018, ahead of the 2019-20 provincial budget. The government is expected to call an election in 2019.

Next Steps:

RCC will continue to push for tax relief while opposing any effort to institute a sugar and/or fat tax.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Jim Cormier, Director, (Atlantic) at: [email protected] or 902-422-4144