BIV: New year starts with tax breaks for B.C. businesses

January 9, 2018
Tara Zwaan

[Excerpt] Jock Finlayson, chief policy officer for the Business Council of British Columbia, has calculated the total costs to business of various taxes and fees, as well as the breaks they will get, for fiscal 2018-19.

He thinks that, overall, businesses will be in a slightly better position in 2018, with respect to fees and taxes, although that advantage is likely to be short-lived.

In 2018, bigger businesses will pay a 1% increase in corporate taxes – $306 million in total. On the other hand, small business in B.C. will pay $81 million less from a 0.5% reduction in the small-business tax rate.

Finlayson calculates the carbon tax increase will cost British Columbians $212 million, about half of which will be paid by business. On the other hand, a 50% reduction in PST on electricity sales will save business $82 million.

The biggest item, however, is MSP premium cuts. The 50% reduction will cost the government $1.24 billion.

“It’s clear that a substantial chunk of this $1.24 billion of MSP premium reduction will, in the first instance, accrue to employers – I would think at least half of it,” Finlayson said. “In net terms, there’s going to be, for employers in general, a cost saving in 2018-19, as a result of the combination of measures that were announced in the September 2017 budget update. How it plays out will vary by industry and by company. It’s a bit hard to generalize, but for business in aggregate, I would estimate some sort of net cost saving in 2018-19.”

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