April arrives with annual tax hikes

Beginning today, you can expect to pay more for gas, booze, pop and Netflix, among other items. However, those extra costs will be mitigated if, like MLAs and MPs, you are receiving a pay raise on April 1.

April is the start of the fiscal year for many organizations and, each year, April 1 brings in tax and fee increases.

Beginning today, you can expect to pay more for gas, booze, pop and Netflix, among other items.

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However, those extra costs will be mitigated if, like MLAs and MPs, you are receiving a pay raise on April 1.

In its annual summary of price hikes, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation notes that the B.C. carbon tax is increasing to $45 per tonne, which equates to about two extra cents per litre.

The latest carbon tax hike means the tax adds 9.9 cents to a litre of gasoline, 12 cents to a litre of diesel and 8.8 cents to a cubic metre of natural gas. The CTF said the carbon tax adds $7 to the cost of filling up a minivan, $12 to the cost of filling up a light duty pick-up truck and $65 to the cost of filling up a semi-trailer that dellivers goods to stores.

In addition, the provincial sales tax of seven per cent is being applied to sweetened drinks and to streaming services like Netflix and Spotify (other streaming services may already have that tax in their billing). Victoria expects to take in $37 million from the drink tax and $16 million from the streaming tax.

Meanwhile, expect a slight hike at the liquor store as, since 2007, the alcohol escalator tax automatically increases excise taxes on beer, wine and spirits every year by the rate of inflation on April 1.

“It’s now going to cost you more to get to work, more to heat your home and more to watch your favourite shows,” said Kris Sims, B.C. Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “This is not an April Fools’ joke. It’s going to cost everyday people more to live their lives and the taxman is going to get you even when you’re relaxing at the end of the day with a drink.”

Politicians, however, will receive pay bumps on April 1.

In B.C., MLAs are getting a 0.8 per cent pay raise, bringing the base salary up to $111,912 per year. MLAs paused their pay hikes last year during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, but took the pay increase this year.

MPs are eligible for raises each year on April 1. This year, the CTF estimates each member of Parliament will receive an extra 1.7 per cent, based on contract data published by the federal government.

Members of Parliament receive an annual salary of $182,600, while ministers are paid $269,800 and the prime minister commands $365,200. MPs are eligible for raises each year on April 1, based on the average annual increase in private-sector union contracts with corporations that have more than 500 employees.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation estimates each MP will get a $3,200 pay hike, while ministers will receive an extra $4,700 and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be paid an additional $6,400.

The federal government paused automatic annual pay hikes between 2010 and 2013 in response to the recession of 2008 and 2009.

Last year, amid the pandemic, some MPs donated their raise to charities. Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod donated the equivalent of a two per cent salary hike to the Kamloops Food Bank and to help fund hotel rooms for health-care workers who needed to isolate away from families due to the pandemic.

© Kamloops This Week

 


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