When I think about taxes—as one can’t help around this time of year—I find it nearly impossible not to think about the trouble our representatives put us through—not only in tax season, but throughout the year. Except for a few lucky individuals, taxes are confusing; if they weren’t, we wouldn’t need a massive (and growing) class of citizens to explain them to us—or to simply take them out of our hands. And when politicians say they want to make taxes simpler or less burdensome—and they often do say these things—they almost always want to add some tax measure or another (i.e., complicate matters) rather than take any away (i.e., simplify).
In case you missed it, in February, the federal Department of Finance announced its "Transitional rules relating to the elimination of the harmonized sales tax in British Columbia." BC is aiming to revert from the unpopular harmonized sales tax to separate provincial and federal sales taxes by April 1, 2013.
Employee benefits are subject to provincial sales in both Ontario and Québec, at 8 and 9 percent respectively. These sales taxes only apply to coverage provided through group plans so, for example, term life insurance provided to just one individual is not subject to tax. These taxes are separate from the normal HST, GST or QST that apply in these provinces. These taxes apply to both employee and employer payments of premiums for the coverage or benefits supplied.