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Sicamous council speaks out against proposed federal luxury tax on new boats

Tax would apply to new boats over $250,000, cars and aircraft over $100,000
The District of Sicamous will be drafting a letter to the federal government in opposition to a proposed luxury tax on cars, aircraft and boats. (Scottslm/Pixabay photo)

Sicamous council is speaking out against a proposed luxury tax on new boats.

On the agenda for a special April 6 meeting of District of Sicamous council was a March 11 Government of Canada notice on the proposed introduction of a tax on the sale of new luxury cars and aircraft with a retail sale price of over $100,000, as well as on boats over $250,000. According to the notice, the tax would be calculated at the lesser of 20 per cent of the value above these price thresholds, or 10 per cent of the full value of the luxury vehicle, aircraft or vessel.

“It’s wrong on every level that somebody has to work so hard to make money and pay taxes and then they have to pay taxes on the funds that they’re making with the hard-earned money that they paid taxes on. There’s just something totally wrong with the system,” commented Coun. Colleen Anderson, a manager with Old Town Bay Marina operated by Twin Anchors.

Speaking to the houseboat industry, Anderson said if the proposed luxury tax, introduced in the federal government’s 2021 budget, is passed, and “an investor buys into a houseboat to run on the fleet in Sicamous, whatever houseboat company, they’d be paying a 10 per cent tax on the bill of that houseboat.”

“Which is a significant amount of money considering how much it costs to build a houseboat right now,” said Anderson. “But it’s not just that; where does this stop?”

“This is crazy. These people make the world go round,” commented Coun. Gord Bushell on the proposed tax.

Anderson asked council to support a recommendation to have district staff write a letter to the federal Department of Finance regarding the tax on recreational boats and the implications to the boating industry, and the letter be copied to North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold, Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo, the Boating BC Association, and all municipalities that rely on the boating industry.

Council voted in favour of the recommendation (Coun. Jeff Mallmes was absent), including Coun. Ryan Airey who was not entirely dismissive of the luxury tax.

“I personally don’t have an issue with making wealthy people pay an extra 10 per cent for their boats,” said Airey. “I mean, people who make a lot of money are well known for knowing how to save that money, so the government tries to capture money at every step, as frustrating as it is. I aspire to be wealthy some day…,” said Airey.

“As far as it could affect our boating industry, the most environmentally friendly way for people to use a boat is to rent a boat for the time they’re using it and not buy a boat,” Airey continued. “So I really support the motion that we try to protect our businesses that let people recreate in a responsible way.”

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