Our members consistently rank the overall tax burden first, as the most pressing issue facing small businesses. CFIB raises this concern with all levels of government – local, provincial and federal. In response, the BC government earlier this year formed a “Tax Competitiveness Commission”, with a mandate to find ways to improve BC’s tax system.
Over the years, our members have told us the BC tax system has some serious competitiveness issues. In order to hear more from our members on the most crucial things to fix, a survey was conducted at the beginning of September. The survey showed some of the key concerns surround the Provincial Sales Tax (PST), the corporate small business tax, and the high and unfair level of property tax placed on small business.
Thanks to the input of hundreds BC small businesses, we were able to present the Tax Commission with concrete ways to improve the tax system. The BC team met with the Commission earlier this month to share these ideas (see attached presentation). Our specific recommendations were to:
- Gradually phase in a tax credit for PST paid on all business inputs, as the budget allows (without going into deficit);
- Reduce the administrative burden of the PST;
- Fix the provincial school property tax system (e.g. businesses in Vancouver pay 4.4 times what residentsdo in provincial school property taxes);
- Legislate a cap on what municipalities can charge businesses in property tax compared to residents (e.g. max 2 to 1);
- Reduce the corporate small business tax rate.
In addition to presenting to the commission, we will also share our recommendations with the Finance Minister directly in advance of the budget.
CFIB looks forward to the Commission’s findings, to be released later this year and urges the BC government to take real action on fixing the inequities of the provincial tax system to ensure the economy stays strong and that small business can thrive.