Tourism - A Revenue Centre For Government
Nova Scotia's tourism industry is a strong and consistent engine of economic growth and job creation... but it has yet to reach its full potential. At a time when other Nova Scotia sectors are negatively impacted by global commodity prices, tourism is positioned for immediate growth that generates significant tax revenue for governments at all levels. Read More
Nova Scotia 2013 Financial Budget
Nova Scotia Minister of Finance Maureen MacDonald tabled the province’s fiscal 2013–14 budget on April 4, 2013. This year’s budget marks the final year of the plan to return the province to a balanced budget. The budget forecasts a deficit of $356.4 million for 2012–2013 and estimates a surplus of $16.4 million for 2013-2014. The government has balanced the budget by continuing to control spending, while at the same time providing improvements to health care and education and assistance for seniors. In looking at the proposed tax measures, the province appears to have taken a step backwards by reducing the corporate small business limit from $400,000 to $350,000. Nova Scotia now has the lowest small business limit in the country. Nova Scotia continues to have the highest rates of personal tax in the country. Following is a brief summary of the tax measures prepared by Grant Thornton.
Better Support for Small Business
TIANS is pleased to see that tourism was listed as one of the province’s "five doors" to businesses; the province is cutting red tape and helping small businesses find the programs and services that best meet their needs. Instead of having to wade through a complex list of nearly 40 programs, the province is opening five doors to businesses as clear entry points to the same range of programs and services. The Five Doors include; Small Business and Regional Development, Innovation and Learning, Trade and International Competitiveness, Jobs Fund and Tourism. Reducing red tape for operators has always been a priority for TIANS as it allows them the opportunity to focus on their business.
The province is also cutting taxes for small businesses for the fourth year in a row. On Jan. 1, 2014, the rate will drop to three per cent. Government has dropped the income tax by two-per cent over the last four years, meaning almost $78-million in savings for small business. The reductions will save small business $26-million in 2013-14, and more than $33-million per year when fully implemented. Small businesses will also spend less time trying to find the right program and more time growing their business, thanks to major changes that will provide better support and simpler access to business programs and services. For more information, please click here.
TIANS Statement Regarding Changes to Employment Insurance
TIANS is closely monitoring this issue and gathering additional information on how this policy direction will be operationalized and what this will mean to the tourism sector. TIANS has written the Federal Minister and has subsequently had a meeting to discuss sector concerns. Read More
Tidal Bore Rafting Field Trips
In January TIANS wrote a letter to the Department of Education seeking assistance on an issue related to recent changes to the school field trip insurance program. Over the past year, TIANS has been approached to assist with an issue affecting adventure tourism operators. Tidal bore rafting companies in Nova Scotia have reported wide spread cancellations of school field trips beginning in 2011. From our research, it appears an internal policy change has reclassified tidal bore rafting into the same category as whitewater rafting. This has affected school decisions across Nova Scotia in being able to provide this experiential learning opportunity to their students. To view the letter and the response, please click here.
Ships Start Here - Nova Scotia: Built to Build Ships
In 2010, the Government of Canada introduced a groundbreaking program that could have a profound impact on Nova Scotia. The National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) means that Halifax could be chosen as one of two major providers of shipbuilding to the Canadian Government.
Halifax Shipyard is in the running to become one of two major suppliers of shipbuilding to the Canadian government as a result of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. No shipyard in Canada is better poised to meet this challenge and opportunity. Nova Scotia is part of an unmatched Canadian supply chain that impacts all regions of Canada. We have invested in technology, infrastructure, and workforce. We are ready. Shipbuilding is in our blood.
If Halifax Shipyard wins the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy bid, the next 30 years could be very different for both the city and the region. From more jobs, to more research and innovation, to more money in the local economy, the possibilities really are quite endless. TIANS is encouraging all operators to show their support! There are six ways that operators can help ensure that Nova Scotia is a supplier, to view please click here.
Taxation Survey and Follow-Up
Late in 2010 TIANS surveyed the industry regarding potential changes to the Seasonal Tourist Business Designation. The survey results overwhelmingly indicated (over 80%) that Industry would not be supportive of any decision by the province to allow the municipalities to choose whether to offer the Seasonal Tourism Business designation in their jurisdiction. TIANS believes such a policy shift would create an inequitable situation for tourism businesses across the province. A follow-up letter was sent to Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations outlining our position. Please click here to read the letter. Upcoming meetings are planned to discuss other concerns raised by industry operators around the tax system.
Red Tape Commission
Seasonal Tourist Business Designation
If you own a Seasonal Tourist Business you may be eligible to pay property taxes at 75% of the municipal commercial tax rate. A Seasonal Tourist Business is; a restaurant, a roofed accommodation (hotel, motel, inn) or a campground which is closed for at least four months in the taxation year (April 1 to March 31).
It is no longer necessary that the months be consecutive. Property owners must apply each year and demonstrate that their business meets the criteria outlined in the application form. The deadline for application is September 1st. Please click here for information and the application form or call 1-800-380-7775.
Minimum Wage Review
The Nova Scotia Minimum Wage Review Committee released a report in February recommending that the minimum wage be increased to $10.00 per hour effective October 1, 2011, and be indexed to the Low Income Cut Off (LICO) each April thereafter. The Minister of Labour and Advanced Education is reviewing this and will respond to it once feedback has been provided by the public. TIANS will be responding to this as it would potentially have a detrimental effect on our industry. If you have any comments that you would like considered, your response must be submitted by April 11, 2011.
TIANS is concerned with the ongoing cost placed on business without government looking at other ways that will address income levels of low income earners and enable them to keep more of their money through tax changes etc.
The continued burden on business will have a dramatic impact on operating costs at a time when Nova Scotia is the least attractive place in the Country to do business from a cost perspective. TIANS will be submitting an Industry Position as well as working with a coalition of business groups to encourage government to look at a more progressive approach with business that will help offset regulated wage costs.