FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 20, 2007
VICTORIA, BC - The Canadian Bar Association, British Columbia (CBABC), responding to the provincial budget released today, expressed disappointment that the government failed to remove the discriminatory 7% tax on legal services. Despite a ruling of the British Columbia Court of Appeal that the tax is unconstitutional in part and growing evidence that the tax is a drag on B.C.'s competitiveness, the Government persists in collecting it.
"Individuals and businesses have been patient in B.C., but with consecutive surpluses there is no better time to repeal this punitive tax," said Ken Walton, CBABC Vice President. He added, "Maintaining the tax is not only regressive, it is also inconsistent with the government's objective of creating a more competitive business and tax environment in B.C. and ignores the very strong signal from the courts that the tax is an impediment to accessing justice."
"Elected and unelected officials, business groups, and social activists have all condemned the tax as a damaging anomaly in tax policy. It is time for the Government to respond with tax policy that is rational and sustainable." said Walton. "Tinkering with exemptions for things like roadside tire changes is not the solution BC's businesses and families need."
A tax on legal services was introduced in 1992. Legal services are the only professional services in B.C. where a provincial tax is applied. A 2005 study by respected B.C. economist, Roslyn Kunin, found that the PST on legal services is "regressive" and "inefficient" for the economy as it increases the cost of doing business in B.C. relative to other jurisdictions - namely Alberta and Ontario - where no tax is applied to legal services.
The Canadian Bar Association is the professional organization responsible for representing the interests of more than 34,000 members in Canada, including 6,200 lawyers in British Columbia.
For further information, please contact:
CBABC Associate Executive Director