OTTAWA -- Canadians will pay slightly more for alcohol starting Thursday thanks to the federal budget.
The Liberals’ 2017 budget announces a two per cent excise duty increase to the cost of wine, liquor and beer, which is expected to add several cents to the cost of alcohol – from under a penny for a bottle of wine to five cents for a 24-bottle case of beer and seven cents for a 750ml bottle of spirits.
The tax increase itself is small, but will be worth more to consumers once stores calculate additional sales tax and other duties on top of the base cost of a product. The final cost to consumers will depend on whether their province charges flat rates for the additional duties applied to the cost of alcohol.
The rate is also set to increase every year along with the Consumer Price Index.
Canadians will also see an increase to the cost of ride-sharing services like Uber, with the budget announcing the government will change its regulations to include those services in the taxi industry. That means passengers who use Uber will have to pay GST or HST on their trips.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau told reporters it’s important to have a tax system that’s less complex.
“What we’ve done is say… if you’re in an Uber or in a taxi, you pay GST. That’s consistent with what Canadians expect,” he said.
One change that could save some Canadians money is a clarification to a medical expense tax credit for fertility treatments. The budget will clarify the measure, broadening it to single Canadians and same-sex couples rather than only to those who are infertile.
Some tax credits will be eliminated in the 2017 budget.
The public transit tax credit will no longer exist as of June 30, 2017 because it didn’t encourage public transit use.
The government will also repeal a little-used GST/HST accommodation rebate for foreign tourists and tour operators. The rebate only applied to the accommodation section of a tour package, and is both complex and costly to administer.
A 25 per cent tax credit for employers who create child care spaces will be eliminated due to low take-up.
Two charitable contribution benefits are also getting the axe. The government plans to cut one deduction for corporations that donate medicine to eligible charities, though it’s maintaining the deduction for the fair market value of medicine.
Finally, the Liberals won’t renew the first-time donor’s super credit, introduced under the previous government to encourage more charitable giving. The credit was set to expire this year. It had little take-up and only small average amounts were donated through it.