Finance & Taxation | Food & Grocery | Newfoundland and Labrador

RCC advocating for changes to Newfoundland & Labrador’s Sugar Sweetened Beverage Tax

June 20, 2022

RCC continues to work with its members to push for changes to the province’s upcoming Sugar Sweetened Beverage Tax (SSBT), which will come into effect on September 1, 2022. RCC worked successfully with its members to have the government change its interpretation of beverages consisting of acesulfame potassium and sucralose. These sweeteners are used extensively in diet sodas.  RCC argued that subjecting diet sodas to the SSBT would create significant challenges for retailers and confusion for the general public while running counter to the government’s SSBT policy objectives.  This week, RCC received confirmation from government officials that these sweeteners are now considered exempt from the SSBT.  RCC has asked government to publish and maintain a list of taxable and non-taxable sweeteners.  To date, government has refused and instead, continue to refer stakeholders to the following Government of Canada webpages:  Listings of following sweeteners that will be subject to the SSBT: saccharides, sweetening agents and substitutes for sweetening agents  

The list of sweeteners that are exempt from the SSBT can be found here.  For clarity, RCC members should remember that products containing these exempt sweeteners could still be classified as requiring the SSBT, if the product contains other sweeteners that are not on the exempt list.

RCC also succeeded in convincing the government to allow greater flexibility for some retail businesses in the filing frequency of their SSBT returns.  Prior to RCC’s advocacy, government officials were telling the retailers – who sell SSBs not acquired from a licensed wholesaler – that they would have to file a retailer’s SSB return monthly.  RCC argued that most retailers falling into such a specific category are ones that source small amounts of SSB products.  Therefore, RCC was able to impress upon the Minister of Finance that the significant administrative challenges that would be created through such reporting could be lessened if the government allowed more flexibility in the filing frequency.  The government agreed and thus, once the SSB tax comes into effect, officials within the Tax Administration Division will utilize the amount of SSBT estimated by the registered retailer as a basis for establishing the filing frequency.

Jim Cormier

For questions or more information contact

Jim Cormier
Director, Government Relations (Atlantic)
jcormier@retailcouncil.org 
902 422-4144

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