This is no April Fools joke.
Starting today, the BC government implemented a tax hike that will see residents pay more to drive, heat their home, and watch Netflix.
The tax hikes will impact carbon emissions, streaming services, vape products, and sugary drinks.
The increase in tax was meant to go forward in 2020, but due to the pandemic, the tax hike was postponed.
Here is what British Columbians will be paying extra for:
Streaming services, like Spotify and Netflix, were previously exempt from the seven per cent provincial sales tax until now.
With the seven per cent increase, BC residents will pay an extra $14.27 a year for Netflix and Spotify users will pay an extra $1.05 per month.
The streaming tax requires Canadian and foreign sellers of software and telecommunication services with more than $10,000 in B.C. sales to register, collect and remit provincial sales tax.
The increase was part of NDP’s 2020 provincial tax plan, but was put on hold last year due to the pandemic.
Pops and juices are no longer exempt from the seven per cent PST either.
The tax on sugar and artificial sweeteners has been recommended for seven years, and was finally put on the financial budget in 2020.
The province held off this increase last year due to the pandemic.
This is part of a financial strategy to discourage people who drink the most sugary drinks, typically the ages of 14-18.
Canadian retailers selling vape products in store will be expected to charge PST on orders from customers.
For online stores, they will require customers who reside in BC to pay the PST.
For businesses with revenue higher than $10,000 that sell vapes or vaping products, they will be required to charge the seven per cent provincial sales tax. Businesses without that amount of revenue are still required to remit the sales tax.
The carbon tax will cost 8.9 cents per litre of gasoline, 10.23 cents per litre of diesel and 7.60 cents per cubic metre of natural gas now.
Going forward, the tax is scheduled to increase by $10 annually until it hits $50 per tonne in 2022.
The tax hikes do not go without their criticisms though.
“It’s now going to cost you more to get to work, more to heat your home and more to watch your favourite shows,” said Kris Sims, B.C. Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in a statement.
“This is not an April Fools’ joke. It’s going to cost everyday people more to live their lives and the taxman is going to get you even when you’re relaxing at the end of the day with a drink.”
The BC Liberals shared their criticisms in a statement as well.
“British Columbians are struggling financially and have once again been asked to do more to stop the spread. It’s the worst time for the NDP to be imposing new taxes on carbonated beverages and streaming platforms. British Columbians deserve a break,” said Interim Leader of the Official Opposition Shirley Bond.
The tax hikes will begin today.