According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) annual report, which examines the 2017 tax changes for British Columbia residents, taxpayers will save money from the federal government, but the savings will not cover the increased taxes and fees by the provincial governments and cities.
The two main federal measures are changes to Employment Insurance (EI) premiums, which will result in tax savings of up to $132 for employees and $185 for employers, and the first full year of the means-tested Canada Child Benefit (CCB), which is also tax-free.
However, Jordan Bateman, B.C. Director for the CTF, says it will be another year with higher taxes and fees for B.C. taxpayers.
He adds the modest relief from Ottawa will be more than eaten up by various provincial and municipal tax and fee increases, including:
• Medical Services Premium tax (Jan. 1, 2017) – Any couple without children making more than $45,000 will pay $168 more this year. Any senior couple making more than $51,000 will pay $168 more this year.
However, some households will see MSP go down, including singles making less than $42,000, couples making less than $45,000, senior couples making less than $51,000, single-parent families, and families with children making less than $51,000.
• BC Hydro (April 1, 2017) – The average residential customer will pay $49.32 more this year.
• ICBC (Jan. 16, 2017) – The average driver will pay $42 more this year for basic insurance and $18 more for optional insurance.
• Property taxes (July 1, 2017) – Many cities across B.C. are still finalizing their tax hikes, but most are raising taxes two to five per cent. In Vancouver, the average homeowner will pay $156 more – $83 more for taxes and $73 more for utilities. Vancouver’s empty home tax (1% of a home’s assessed value) also comes into effect this year.
• Folks using TransLink services will see an increase of five to 10 cents for single-use fares and $1 to $3 for monthly passes.
• BC Ferries has its commissioner’s permission to raise its fares 1.9 per cent this year, although it has not confirmed its plan to do so.