Imagine No HST – just musing, don’t get excited

Tom Locke - Insolvency Trustee in London, Ontario
March 21, 2022

It is a hard thing to do but imagine no HST (GST) for Ontario businesses – that would mean a revenue increase of 13%.  A small business with $300,000 gross revenue would be able to save $39,000 per year, enough to pay an additional employee.

But “what would happen to our social programmes?” you might ask – we wouldn’t need them.  Instead of that $39,000 going to meagrely support other people on the system it could take one person directly off government support and put enough money in their pocket they might be able to afford goods and services that were out of reach (on the system) creating other opportunities for more people.

The downside of no HST, smaller government and less tax collectors – both of which produce nothing and must be paid from the (HST) taxes collected.  While we imagine no HST we also must imagine how we get rid of it – in this utopian dream we would do it incrementally, we would start with all small businesses with annual revenue under $5,000,000, after one year move the threshold up to a higher tier until the tax is completely eliminated.

If you can imagine no HST, try to imagine the eradication of other taxes, property taxes for instance are a massive drain on local economies.  By cutting taxes we put more money in the hands of consumers and businesses that will in turn spend that money in growing the economy.  It would be simple enough for governments to save billions of tax dollars by eliminating corporate sponsorship, which is oftentimes offensive.

In the last few years news feeds have seen many reports such as $12,000,000 for Loblaws to buy new fridges, or $132,000,000 for Ford to convert to EVs, or $35,000,000 for Maple Leaf Foods.  The list is endless and so are the scandals – think about the WE Charity or SNC Lavalin.  Small businesses not only have to stand on their own two feet, often putting the owners’ assets on the line, but they get no support whatsoever from any level of governments.  Yet, small businesses employ 69% of the labour force.

Most small business owners filing a proposal or bankruptcy have HST debts, one is left to wonder if they may have stayed solvent if that extra 13% were available to the business.  If you are a small business owner struggling to survive and falling behind on taxes, HST or otherwise, we may be able to help with a proposal to solve arrears issues.