FTLComm - Tisdale - April 1, 2000
In general the March 30th provincial budget attempted to widen the sales tax to more closely mirror the federal Goods and Services Tax. Let us leave it to others to explain why and what might have prompted the government to follow this course but for our purposes here we shall try to outline the changes.
The provincial E&H tax now applies to the following:
  • Repairs
  • Computer services
  • Used Goods
  • Nonprescription drugs and medicines
  • Equipment Maintenance contracts
  • Bedding plants, Trees and shrubs
  • Pet food, Veterinary drugs and medicines
  • Dry cleaning and laundry services
  • Telephone Answering services
  • Real Estate Fees
  • Credit Reporting, Collection services, Security and Investigation services


If you have to pay to have some work done on tangible personal property such as vehicles, equipment, appliances or furniture you will now have to pay an addition 6% for the work done. Up until now you only had to pay tax on the materials used in the repair work now the tax is expanded to the labour involved.

Exceptions: Real property such as fences, home renovations, painting or fixing your driveway are not taxable at this time nor is labour repair charges on farm equipment.


Computer services

This one affects FTLComm. We must no charge tax on the work we do on customer machines, software fixes, the software we write or adapt, work on databases, data entry and essentially all computer related services. One nasty part of this includes set up and installation charges. In some cases a computer company may charge a separate fee for configuring equipment for a customer, this will be taxed as will 6% on top of the freight to Saskatchewan and and importation charges. If we charge mileage to a customer for a service call we must invoice those charges on a separate invoice otherwise they are taxable. For those who lease computer equipment their lease payments will now be subject to provincial taxes and at the end of the lease the re-marketed equipment is of course also taxable.

Software taxes are extended to lease, and licenses, any related transfer or installation charges and desktop publishing. Web page design and maintenance are now taxable as are hosting and storage fees. If you get FTLComm to touch up a picture for you or create a pamphlet that is now taxable.

Exceptions: Manuals and technical bulletins, provided they are on a separate invoice are not taxable nor are charges for training.

On interesting wrinkle is that very small businesses doing less then $10,000 business annually are not required to collect taxes. This is the same provision under the federal GST regulations.


Used Goods

This provision could be the toughest one to swallow. It applies to any and all used goods sold by an individual of more than $300 and private sale of vehicles valued at more the $3,000. Businesses that sell used goods will charge the tax on all used sales.

All vehicles including motor homes, boats and all terrain vehicles will be taxed when sold by a dealer.

Exception: Used mobile homes used for residential use are exempt from the tax.


Nonprescription drugs and medicines

If you don't have a prescription from your doctor for a drug or medicinal product it is taxable so that includes pain relievers, vitamins, and ointments. (This one might have a good chance of being challenged since vitamins and supplements are "food" and foods are exempt the government might not have this one covered.)


Equipment Maintenance contracts

This one is confusing to me, the maintenance service contracts are now taxable but the parts, labour, materials and supplies are not. So essentially the tax falls on the sum of the contract and thus covers all the other parts within the contract.


Bedding plants, Trees and shrubs

And we thought it couldn't be done, well this tax provision goes after plants and dirt in a big way. Bedding plants, grass seed, garden seed, bulbs, trees, shrubs and even sod are taxable.


Pet Food, Veterinary Drugs and Medicines

Spot, fluffy and the goldfish are all going to eat taxed food from now on, as will all their medicines and supplements

Exceptions: Farm veterinarian services, medication and supplies for farm animals are exempt provided specific land locations are stated.


Dry cleaning and laundry services

Provincial tax now applies to your dry cleaning bill and any laundry services you use, it also applies to coat hangers, detergent and garment bags.

Exception: Coin-operated laundering is exempt.


Telephone Answering services

SaskTel's $14 per month messaging service now becomes taxable.

Real Estate Fees

The Realtor's fees and commission for the sale of real property are now taxable.

Exception: When a a Realtor does an appraisal or property inspection no taxes are placed on top of these fees.


Credit Reporting, Collection services, Security and Investigation services

Since few of us hire collection agencies this one is not a problem but in cities and even here in town buildings monitored by security agencies with intruder alarms will now have to pay taxes on this service. Even the use of guard dogs is taxable as is armoured car services. (You can expect the banks to move that little charge on to you every time you use an ATM which is service by armoured car companies)


July 1

A few provisions are not going into affect until July 1 and they include taxing of advertising services, professional services such as legal, accounting, architects, business consulting and engineering, commercial building cleaning and employment agencies.


-----The Indian War of 2000

This provision of the expansion of the provincial sales tax is the one that could very well take us back to 1885.

Today the
Federation of Saskatchewan Indians filed papers in court and one band has already removed their children from a provincial school.

The charging of taxes off reserve to treaty Indians contravenes the
Indian Act, the treaties and common sense. The courts will rule in favour of the First Nations simply because the Treaties are in effect as long as the grass grows, the sun shines and waters flow. Those treaties explicitly state that treaty people will "never" pay taxes, they will receive free education and health care, "Always" There are no exceptions, no location parameters and every challenge to the treaties so far have failed.

The treaties are actually even more fundamental legally and more binding then the constitution because they supersede it and were signed before it, they are even more entrenched in common law then the
Quebec Act which had the effect of causing the thirteen colonies to go their own way and form the United States.

We really didn't need this irritation this year, this seemingly minor provision that makes a few folks who do not understand the importance of international agreements (that's what a treaty is) think that this will bring fairness, are sadly mistaken. We are all living on Indian land that we have now the right to use because of the peaceful settlement of the treaties before the ending of the nineteenth century. Our payment for this whole massive country is very small, sales taxes and the support of this population. Break the treaties and go back to the negotiating tables now and see what they would charge you for the land Regina and Saskatoon sit on. There was no "right of conquest" the land was turned over peacefully in return for a long term contract. To break that contract for 6% is inordinately foolish.

Think of it this way, the contracts were signed in good faith if they are broken the injured party would be legally correct in demanding the assessed value of all land, improvements and extracted minerals since the treaties were signed, plus injuries and hardship and interest since the 1880s. Can we afford that?

Only a fraction of Saskatchewan Indians are
Cree, who prefer pacifist non-confrontational negotiations, do not think for a minute that the rest of the First Nations will not identify this move by the provincial government as the last straw. Economic insurrection followed by nasty race relations are a certainty and with half of Regina and Saskatoon's population disaffected First Nations people, the Minster of finance and the premier have committed a blunder that could take generations to sort out.

-Timothy W. Shire

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