By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Jan. 14, 2012.
B.C. has announced the creation of an expert panel to review the business and industrial tax structure of the province, and suggest improvements to the provincial sales tax.
The panel will give a final report to the government by the end of August.
Kevin Falcon, the minister of finance, announced the review at the Vancouver Board of Trade meeting on Tuesday, Jan.10.
The seven-member panel will be chaired by University of British Columbia chancellor Sarah Morgan-Silvester.
Other members include Laura Jones of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Vancouver Board of Trade vice-president Elio Luongo, former deputy minister Dale Wall, and Goldcorp. CEO, Lindsay Hall.
The expert panel is intended to identify other ways to maintain and improve B.C.’s economic competitiveness, while respecting the referendum result to return to the Provincial Sales Tax.
It will also consider the competitiveness of British Columbia’s tax environment for business, and develop recommendations about which taxes most influence competitiveness and economic growth.
It will also identify and develop recommendations for ways in which the Government of British Columbia could address tax avoidance within the business or personal taxation systems.
A component of the review will also look at municipal property taxation of business.
Finance Minister Falcon has also launched a new website that invites British Columbians to balance the budget for 2013-14.
The My B.C. Budget uses forecasts from Budget 2011 and the September quarterly report to let people see the effect of raising and lowering revenues and spending on the provincial budget, with the goal of eliminating the 2013-14 deficit, which was forecast in September to be $458 million.
Once people have achieved a balanced budget, they can send their solutions to the finance minister with their comments.
The website also includes informative facts about the budget and is one of several ways the government is consulting with British Columbians in the lead-up to Budget 2012.