Sask. residents to pay PST on event tickets this fall


Saskatchewan residents can expect to pay more for event tickets and tobacco products beginning this fall, due to the expansion of some taxes in the 2022-23 provincial budget.

Effective Oct. 1, 2022, the current six per cent Provincial Sales Tax (PST) will be expanded to include admission and entertainment charges, following the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) base.

Some examples of types of charges that will become PST taxable include, but are not limited to:

  • Admissions to sporting events, concerts and shows, movie theatres, museums, zoos and historical sites
  • admissions to fairs, rodeos, trade shows, arts and craft shows
  • admissions to conferences and seminars
  • professional theater tickets and subscriptions
  • gym, golf and curling fees and memberships and
  • hunting and fishing guide fees and outfitter services

WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO?

The PST expansion is projected to add $10.5 million in revenue this year and $21 million annually.

Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said it’s “interesting” the surgical wait list initiative’s cost of $21.6 million nearly corresponds with the revenue expected to be generated by the PST expansion.

“If I said to a Saskatchewan resident, ‘would you be willing to pay this for maybe the two concerts and the Rider ticket in order for us to address the very critical surgical waitlist’ … I think Saskatchewan people will support that,” she said .

Harpauer said although there will be the PST increase, the government has addressed affordability through several initiatives and pointed out the major reduction in Personal Income Tax (PIT) to help residents.

“[These] reduced the income tax for individuals by up to $2,000 and that’s ongoing year over year and it’s indexed so it responds to inflationary pressures,” Harpauer said.

In total, PIT reductions have given over $720 million in annual income tax savings to Saskatchewan people since 2007.

Harpauer also said the introduction of tax credits for people with disabilities and their caregivers, for seniors, as well as the lowering of childcare costs and exemptions on certain activities, all aim to provide Saskatchewan residents with a better standard of living.

“I do think Saskatchewan people do want to see a stable base to their government’s budgets going forward,” she said.

EXEMPTIONS

There will be exemptions from the PST for certain situations such as children’s activities and events put on by schools and non-profits.

For example, admissions to school, university or minor league sports and amateur theater productions which don’t have paid participants are exempt from the PST.

Admission for recreational programs and sports where the activities are hosted by school or non-profits for children 14-years-old and under as well as fundraising events where part of the cost of admission can be donated to a charity will also be exempt.

In addition to the above, the PST will be exempt from the sales of audiobooks, effective April 1, 2022. This is to provide an equal treatment with eBooks and regular books which are currently not PST taxable.

TAXATION OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS

Effective midnight on March 23, 2022, tobacco taxes will be increased by two cents per cigarette stick from 27 cents to 29 cents and eight cents per gram of loose tobacco, from 27 cents to 35 cents. An increase of 1.3 cents per stick of heat-not-burn products, from 20.5 cents to 21.8 cents will also be applied. The higher tax rates are aimed to help shift consumption away from these products towards healthier alternatives.

These tax increases on tobacco products are expected to generate $12.1 million in additional annual revenue as well as maintain tax equity throughout the western provinces.

Todd Mackay, Prairie Director for the Canadian Tax Foundation (CTF) said this announcement is disappointing and not fair to taxpayers.

“We’ve all been through a tough time, cost of everything is going up, now you’re finally looking forward to going to a Rider game and the tickets are going to cost more. This is the last thing taxpayers needed,” he said.

Mackay said even though residents are paying more tax, the government is still borrowing money which will mean more taxes later on to help with the deficit.

“Really, you look around, you couldn’t find any way to save money, that’s really disappointing. Every family, every business in Saskatchewan has found a way to save money in the last number of years. It needs to happen here in the Legislature as well,” he said.

Tim Reid, President and CEO of the Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) said the news of the expansion of the PST was a surprise to their organization.

“This change will impact our business operations and entertainment goers,” Reid said in a press release. “Throughout the management of the pandemic, the communication and stakeholder engagement by the provincial government was exceptional. As we move down the path of recovery, ensuring this dialogue continues is more critical than ever for our industry as we compete within the global marketplace.”


The Saskatchewan Roughriders were surprised to learn of the addition, according to a press release.


Unfortunately, we know today’s decision will impact many in our community who are looking forward to coming together on Rider game day and for the 2022 Gray Cup,” the statement read.

Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili and Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon claim the tax hike is failing families and not providing residents the relief they need in uncertain times.

“At a time when Saskatchewan families need a lifeline, the Sask. Party has thrown them an anchor. Hard-working people are struggling with increased costs at the grocery store, at the pump and in their housing but this government isn’t listening,” said Meili.

Wotherspoon said the tax increase is doing nothing to improve Saskatchewan’s tourism sector and sense of community.

“We need to be supporting our hospitality and tourism sector and encouraging people to come together as communities. Instead, we see new tax measures that make events less accessible for Saskatchewan families,” he said.


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