BRITISH Columbians face a number of tax and fee increases in 2015, courtesy of three levels of government, says the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF).
“It will be another expensive year for taxpayers, as we hand over more money to government,” said Jordan Bateman, B.C. Director for the CTF. “With MSP, EI, CPP, BC Hydro, ICBC and BC Ferries all going up, it’s no wonder why ‘B.C.’ is joked to be short for ‘Bring Cash’.”
Among the tax and levy increases coming in 2015:
* The Medical Services Premium tax increases $96 for families of three or more; $60 for couples; and $23 for individuals on January 1.
* BC Hydro will raise electricity rates 6 per cent on April 1, 2015 – approximately $72 for the average home.
* ICBC is expected to raise basic auto insurance in 2015 – roughly $36 for the average car.
* Cities are still working on their budgets, but Surrey has announced a $162 property tax hike for an average home, and Vancouver is looking at a similar increase.
* BC Ferries has announced a 3.9 per cent fare increase for 2015.
* EI and CPP taxes are going up $23 in 2015.
These cost increases could be just the tip of the iceberg. The possibility of a TransLink sales tax in the Lower Mainland, which residents will get a chance to vote on over the spring of 2015, would increase costs by $258 on the average household. That would be the single biggest tax increase in the country in 2015.
“For all the politicians’ handwringing about affordability, their actions show it’s fake concern – their massive increases in taxes and fees continually make it more expensive to live in B.C.,” said Bateman. “Every government and agency seems to get their pound of flesh, and one wonders when enough will be enough.”
There is some good news from the federal government for those who have children. As part of its annual New Year’s Tax Changes report, the CTF calculated federal tax savings for families from the implementation of the Family Tax Cut, combined with the Universal Child Care Benefit enhancement. In B.C., that would translate into $1,587 in federal income tax savings for a two-child, one-income, two-parent family earning $60,000 per year.