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Tobacco taxes, fee hikes an Airbnb levy: Other things to watch for in Alberta Budget 2019
EDMONTON -- Much of Alberta's new budget is focused on corporate tax rates, reduction of the public sector and changes to education and post-secondary funding.
But among the cuts there are smaller niche items that could have immediate impacts on thousands of Albertans.
Here's a review of some of the smaller increases, changes and new taxes contained in Alberta budget 2019.
SHORT-TERM RENTAL TOURISM LEVY
The province says it intends to update the tourism levy to include short-term rentals offered through online marketplaces like Airbnb and VRBO.
Most short-term rentals avoided paying the four per cent tourism levy typically applied to most other types of short term rentals.
"The government intends to bring forward legislation in spring 2020 to level the playing field among temporary accommodation providers," reads the budget.
The move will come into effect for 2020-21 and is expected to raise about $5 million in revenue per year.
FILM INDUSTRY CREDITS
Changes are also coming to how the province supports Alberta's film industry.
Rather than the present and longstanding grant system, the new budget plans to move to issue payments through the tax system, starting in the spring of 2020.
The province says eligible companies will be able to receive back up to 22 per cent of eligible expenditures up to a maximum of $10 million.
The government, however, is continuing to cap funding to a maximum of $15 million next year up to $45 million in 2022-23.
SIN TAX HIKES
The province is phasing out the Alberta Small Brewers Development program, which was introduced by the former New Democrat government to boost craft brewing, along with the Liquor Manufacturers' Program. The government claims eliminating the subsidy will produce a savings of $123 million over four years.
The province is also increasing the tax on tobacco, adding $5 per carton of 200 cigarettes effective at midnight on Friday. The move will raise revenue by $14 million in 2019-20 and by $45 million by 2022-23, according to the budget.
Loose tobacco is also going to be taxed heavier, rising by 3.75 cents to 41.25 cents per gram. The tax on cigars will also increase to 142 per cent of the taxable price, to a maximum of $8.61.
The province says those change will generated as much as $55 million in annual additional revenue.
The government says it also plans to introduce a tax on vaping products by the next fiscal year.
A number of fee increases for provincial services and institutions are also contained within the new budget.
Starting in 2020-21, the cost of visiting the Royal Alberta and Royal Tyrell museums will increase by two dollars for adult and family one or two-day passes. A special exhibit fee of $15 will also be levied on visitors. And, the Experience Alberta annual pass is going up by five dollars to $55 for adult and family annual passes the year after next.
Anyone needing a statement of benefits paid will also have to be prepared to pay more, with the fee increasing from $25 to $75.
The motor vehicle registration fee is currently $84.45, including both government and registry fees. The new total, which includes both government and registry increases is $93.65.
Likewise, the non-commercial trailers current fee is $109.45 total, including government and registry fees. The new total proposed in the budget is $163.65, which includes both government and registry increases.
Together with other fee hikes as well as a new $500 fee for applications to the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program coming next year, the province says the increases will raise $8 million in revenue by 2022-23.