New taxes on insurance premiums were announced in the recent 2017 budget. Prior to August 1, Saskatchewan did not charge PST on insurance premiums. As a commitment to balancing the Government of Saskatchewan deficit in the near term, the Sales tax base of the province was expanded to include life insurance premiums. The rationale for this expansion was to provide a broader consumption tax base for the revenues required to fund services for Saskatchewan people.
My constituents have told me, and more recently throughout my leadership campaign, the people of Saskatchewan have voiced their concerns about these recent changes. We must undertake a more thorough review of some of the recent sales tax policy changes. Having listened to many presentations, I am convinced that the current approach may not raise the revenues expected within the budget and that there are more effective alternatives to be considered. We must ensure that we support the people of Saskatchewan who wisely plan for their futures; our policies cannot hinder that important process. As elected officials, the government should encourage responsible behaviour.
I propose that we revisit the sale tax base as it relates to insurance by undertaking a thorough review of alternatives.
- We need a Sales Tax Review Panel to consider the impact of sales tax on life insurance.
- The Tax Review Panel would consist of tax policy experts whose mandate would be to provide recommendations as to the appropriate sales tax base.
- The Panel would examine the tax treatment of life insurance premiums and other related products to establish a tax base more consistent with what is happening in other provinces.
- This review would also be mandated to maintain or enhance Saskatchewan’s competitive position while maintaining revenue levels. Panels like this have been successfully used in Saskatchewan in the past to better examine important tax policy decisions.
- I expect that this new tax panel can help our province in a comparable way.
I have had personal involvement with and made presentations to the Vicq Commission some 12 years ago.
If elected leader, I will appoint a tax review panel with a 60-day consultation window and whose job would be to provide recommendations regarding all aspects of PST application in the province, and all aspects of taxation policy and rates.
I sincerely thank the many members of Advocis from across the province who have not only made their views known to me in a professional manner, but have also provided well- researched alternatives for consideration.
“Authorized by Brad Sylvester, Official Representative for the Ken Cheveldayoff leadership campaign.”