On April 30, 2015, the Honourable Greg Dewar, Minister of Finance, presented the 2015 Manitoba budget. This year’s budget, referred to by the Minister as the “Plan to Build a Stronger Manitoba”, focuses on investing in strategic infrastructure projects, education and training.
The budget contained a few interesting commodity tax initiatives, which are discussed below. Note that the effective dates of the various sales tax measures vary.
Retail Sales Tax
This year’s budget announced several refinements to the province’s retail sales tax, including the following exemption changes, effective June 1, 2015:
- The exemption for flood prevention and control goods will be expanded to include sandbag filling machines;
- The exemption for commercial fishing boats will be expanded to include related repair parts;
- The scope of the exemption for film and audio productions for public broadcast will be expanded to include productions to be made available on the Internet; and
- The exemption for goods designed solely for use by a disabled person will be clarified to ensure that it applies to people with either physical or mental disabilities.
Effective May 1, 2015, the tax rates on tobacco products increased by 0.5 cents. The new rates will be as follows:
- Each Cigarette – 29.5 cents;
- Each gram of fine cut tobacco – 28.5 cents; and
- Each gram of raw leaf tobacco – 27.0 cents.
The rate of tax on cigars will remain unchanged at 75% of the retail price to a maximum of $5 per cigar.
Effective July 1, 2015, a fuel tax rebate will be introduced for qualifying international commercial passenger flights. To qualify for this refund for tax paid on fuel purchases in Manitoba, a regularly scheduled commercial passenger flight must either:
- Originate and have passengers board in Manitoba and fly directly to a point outside North America, or
- Originate outside the province, with a stopover in Manitoba allowing for passengers to board, and then fly non-stop to a point outside North America.
Further details on this rebate can be found in Manitoba Information Notice Fuel 15-02, “International Passenger Flights.
Further details on the 2015 Manitoba budget are available from the Manitoba Ministry of Finance web site at: http://www.gov.mb.ca/finance/budget15/index.html