P.E.I. charities face lowest HST rebate in Canada
Treasurer calls the 35% rebate a 'compromise'
Many P.E.I. charities will not only be bracing to pay more under the harmonized sales tax, starting April 1, they are also facing the lowest tax rebate for charities in Canada.
P.E.I. charities will see their electricity, gas and rent costs increase nine per cent under the HST.
Island businesses can claim all of that increase back as a tax credit, but charities will only be allowed to claim back 35 per cent.
That's the lowest rebate in Canada.
British Columbia allows a 57 per cent rebate, while New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, along with the federal government, allow fifty per cent.
Ontario is the most generous province when it comes to letting charities off the hook for the HST. There charities get rebates worth 82 per cent of the tax they pay.
"I'd love to know how the government arrived at 35 [per cent]. It doesn't seem very fair," said NDP Leader Mike Redmond, who is a regular volunteer at the Upper Room Soup Kitchen.
"It's a compromise. We'd love to be in a position that we give everyone back their tax. It would be a wonderful Garden of Eden, but we live on Prince Edward Island," said Finance Minister Wes Sheridan.
Marcia Carroll, executive director of the PEI Council of People with Disabilities, said the HST could cost her organization between $3,000 and $5,000 a year.
"Well it could be paying the wages of a summer tutor for instance. And that is a person that goes out into the community and does one-on-one tutoring for youth with disabilities. So that could be one tutor we could possibly lose as a result of that," she said.
Some charities are also worried charitable giving could drop next year as Islanders feel the pinch paying tens of millions more in taxes.
The Upper Room Soup Kitchen missed its fundraising target this past year by $14,000.
Meanwhile, a new sector group is organizing to represent the interests of non-profit organizations, said Carroll.
One of its first goals is to get the province to increase the HST credits allowed to charities up to the 50 per cent rate.