Alcohol taxes increase automatically in April

By Charlene Tebbutt
April 2, 2018 - 5:00pm Updated: April 2, 2018 - 5:33pm

The price of alcohol went up over the weekend, increasing automatically on April 1.

The increase was announced last year as part of the federal government’s 2017 budget, and will continue to go up automatically each year on April 1 in line with inflation. Taxes on alcohol went up two per cent in 2017 and again on Easter Sunday.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation said the automatic increases are unfair to consumers and the government should be more transparent when it comes to tax increases. Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the CTA, told paNOW the increases may not be noticeable at the till, but the idea sets a bad precedent.

“In dollar terms, it’s looking at a couple of cents on a case of beer,” Wudrick said.

“People should know when their taxes are going up so they can judge for themselves whether they’re OK with it … that’s the reason that we think in this particular case, the tax is so dangerous.”

Wudrick said the Taxpayers Federation heard from consumers and even business owners who say the tax hikes are increasing costs and affecting business. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation continues to urge consumers to speak out about the increases by emailing Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau with their concerns.

“I think that’s been most shocking to a lot of people, is they are aware how much of the price of alcohol is already taxed. For beer, you’re looking at about half or more, for spirits in some cases, up to 80 per cent of the retail price that you pay is actually different types of tax,” he said. “People understand that they have to pay some tax on things, but when the tax goes up and up and up forever, a lot of them start to get very frustrated.”

Other industry groups also spoke out against automatic tax increases on alcohol, and are calling on the government to repeal the decision.


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On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt

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