YESTERDAY MORNING I was forced to make a purchase of gasoline – my tank being near empty – and I nearly had a heart attack! The price of gas in Kamloops had reached $1.95.9 per litre!
Now as a comparison, the price of gas at various stations in Metro Vancouver is now $2.05.9, but we should keep in mind they pay a Transit Tax of 18.5 cents per litre, which we do not. Without that tax Vancouver drivers would be paying $1.87.5 … meaning drivers in Kamloops are today being ripped off to the tune of 9 cents per litre.
I’ll call that what it is — GOUGING.
BUT oil companies are not the only game in town when it comes to GOUGING. Welcome the government of British Columbia to the game.
With an expected debt of $5.7 BILLION dollars for the coming year, the provincial government is looking for every single penny it can find to try and reduce that figure.
Already you have likely heard of at least two NEW ways that Premier John Horgan’s NDP government plans to extract more from us – one a NECESSITY, and the second is at least for many, also a necessity.
The first becomes effective on April 1 when … the provincial sales tax on a fossil fuel combustion system that heats or cools buildings or water is increased from 7 per cent to 12 per cent.
Now just in case your calculator broke down, that’s a SEVENTY ONE PERCENT INCREASE in the Provincial sales tax on home heating systems.
The second becomes effective Oct. 1 when the … tax on private sales of motor vehicles will be based on the greater of the reported purchase price and the average wholesale value of the vehicle.
It doesn’t matter if Mom and Dad want to sell their young teenage driver their used vehicle for a nominal amount, NDP Finance Minister Selina Robinson is going to charge a sales tax on that vehicle based on market value.
Say Mom and Dad want to sell their daughter the old 2012 Honda Civic, for a thousand dollars, to help them out with affordable transportation to High School, University, or their job. Previously it would have meant paying a sales tax of $50.
That will NO LONGER happen. Instead, the B.C. government will take a list price, such as shown on Car Gurus, of $9,990. With the new 12 percent rate, the tax will instead become $499.50. You can do the math, but as we all know, that is a heck of a lot more.
And as BC Liberal Finance Critic, and Kamloops North MLA, Peter Milobar noted to me yesterday morning when we were discussing new taxes:
“What’s next? Pay the tax on full retail price of the sofa you buy at a Boxing Day sale? (This) used car tax will hurt low and middle-income families and people in rural areas the most.”
We’re NOT DONE YET however, as the provincial government has also slipped in another tax that I believe most people are not aware of in the slightest. On page #92 of BC Budget 2022 comes this sneaky little gem:
… effective July 1, 2022, marketplace facilitators will be required to charge provincial sales tax on marketplace facilitation services they provide to sellers
This, at least in my opinion, will soon become obligatory for sites such as Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and Kijiji, based on this statement found in the Tax Collection, Remittance, and Reporting Obligations for Marketplace Facilitators section (also found page #92).
Effective July 1, 2022, businesses that facilitate sales or leases of certain goods, services or software for third parties through their online platform, including accepting payment from a consumer (“marketplace facilitators”), will be required to collect and remit tax on those sales and leases made in B.C.
I mentioned this to Peter, and this is what he had to say:
“(The tax) is more geared to online sales and would be charged on sites that collect payment. Facebook is looking at adding this as a feature on their Marketplace … for any existing websites that facilitate payment between buyer and seller, then the tax would be charged.”
For the moment, at least, basic buy and sell websites like the Kamloops 24 Hour Auction site – or things like the community area garage sales, like May’s upcoming one in Juniper Ridge, would not be affected by this new ADDED provincial sales tax.
Still, is this the start of a slippery slope as more and more items find their way to being taxed, no matter how many times the item is sold, and how many times the tax is collected?
Milobar seemed to concur as he told me:
“At this point I would agree with your assessment but yes a slippery slope.”
With prices rapidly outstripping the means of people to pay them, this added assault to our pocketbook will not be forgotten … and the next provincial election, in October 2024, won’t come soon enough.
Alan Forseth is a Kamloops resident. For 40 years he has been active, in a number of capacities, in local, provincial and federal politics, including running as a candidate for the BC Reform Party in the 1996 provincial election. He recently was a member of the Ellis Ross BC Liberal leadership campaign team.