Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Taxed dearly

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THE province says it is considering a one per cent tax on funerals because it needs the money to pay for the cost of ensuring the industry is managed in a fair and ethical manner.

Some funeral operators object to the extra charge, saying it's a tax on death and a disproportionate response to the relatively few serious complaints that are lodged every year.

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Funeral homes already pay a $500 annual licensing fee, plus another $250 for each funeral director, and a City of Winnipeg licence fee, plus occupancy permit and business taxes.

The provincial fees alone add up to about $100,000, which presumably are levied to pay for the cost of administration and inspection.

The province, however, says it needs a little more to pay for the cost of an inspector to monitor the industry. The Funeral Services Board, a provincial body, relies entirely on user fees for its work.

A funeral official says the extra tax, which will be passed on to the bereaved, isn't too onerous, particularly considering the fact some other provinces, such as Saskatchewan, have had the levy for a long time.

True, but then most other provinces, particularly Saskatchewan, have lower taxes across the board.

If Manitoba had comparable tax rates, then possibly no one would be complaining about the NDP's government's practice of picking as many pockets as possible.

Even those of the dearly departed.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 16, 2013 A12

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