As many business owners know, changes to provincial and federal legislation can have a major impact on operations. In Alberta, business law changes regarding provincial sales tax have been tabled and turned down multiple times since PST was repealed in 1937. Today, every other province has a provincial sales tax while Alberta will be continuing without one under the province's 2018 budget.
There was some speculation that sales tax may be introduced in the new budget. This is because, without relying on oil and gas money, it would be difficult to balance the budget. The provincial finance minister has told Albertans that despite the unbalanced budget, they are not introducing a sales tax.
The debate over sales tax has a long history in Alberta. It was introduced by Premier William Aberhart's Social Credit government in 1936, but was repealed the following year. Since then, some people have advocated for a sales tax to help manage the province's deficit. Others, often business leaders, oppose the additional taxation. Still others prefer to seek business law changes that could attract additional investment in the region, including adding sales tax while cutting other forms of taxation such as provincial income tax.
Changes to tax and business law in Alberta can impact consumers and business owners alike. While some changes can be easy to implement, others can cause legal challenges depending on the industry and setup of a commercial enterprise. A lawyer is a helpful resource for who have legal questions about new business laws in Alberta or who are facing a dispute.
Source: CBC News, "An Alberta sales tax: The unpopular idea that just won't die", Robson Fletcher, March 22, 2018