New Em­ployer Health Tax wor­ries busi­nesses

StarMetro Vancouver - - VANCOUVER - JENNY PENG

With the end of the fis­cal year loom­ing, small-busi­ness own­ers in B.C. say they are con­sid­er­ing staff lay­offs and re­duced hours to cope with the added costs of a new provin­cial em­ployer health tax.

The Em­ployer Health Tax (EHT), which takes ef­fect Jan. 1, aims to re­place the rev­enues lost from the elim­i­na­tion of Med­i­cal Ser­vices Plan (MSP) pre­mi­ums in 2020, which means em­ploy­ers have to pay both the MSP and EHT in 2019.

Busi­nesses with a pay­roll of at least $500,000 a year will need to con­trib­ute more to their taxes un­der the EHT.

Richard Tr­us­cott, vice-pres­i­dent of the Cana­dian Fed­er­a­tion of In­de­pen­dent Busi­ness in B.C. and Al­berta, said a “com­mon” mea­sure small busi­nesses take to han­dle in­creased ex­penses is to ei­ther drive up prices or look at cut­ting hours or jobs.

“Small busi­nesses don’t have a magic print­ing press to sud­denly cre­ate more money in­side the busi­ness. It’s got to come from some­where,” he told Starmetro.

Among the so­lu­tions Tr­us­cott would like the prov­ince to con­sider are rais­ing the min­i­mum pay­roll thresh­old from $500,000 to $1.25 mil­lion and ex­empt­ing work­ers un­der 18, so that em­ploy­ers wouldn’t be de­terred from hir­ing them.

Pres­sures ris­ing on small busi­nesses. Read more at thes­tar.com/van­cou­ver

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