March 28, 2020

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Pallister plans to reduce penalty to tax-owing small businesses

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>"A re-elected PC government will ensure that small-business owners are treated with fairness and the respect they deserve," Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister said.</p>

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

"A re-elected PC government will ensure that small-business owners are treated with fairness and the respect they deserve," Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister said.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/8/2019 (213 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister is planning to reduce the interest rate charged to businesses that fail to remit all taxes owed, including the PST.

He said Wednesday that under the previous NDP government, such penalties rose to the highest levels in the country, and the PCs would cut the surcharge in half.

Currently, the province charges an interest rate of prime plus six per cent on taxes owing. The PCs promise to lower that to the prime interest rate plus three per cent, Pallister said in the campaign announcement.

"A re-elected PC government will ensure that small-business owners are treated with fairness and the respect they deserve," he said, adding the estimated cost to government would be $9 million over four years.

NDP spokesman Andrew Swan, the longtime MLA for Minto who decided not to seek re-election this year, questioned the PC party's priorities in reducing penalties for businesses who don't pay their taxes or don't pay them on time.

He said the NDP record in office was to lower small-business taxes.

"To turn around and give relief to those few small businesses that don't pay their taxes on time, that get caught not paying their taxes, is a weird, weird choice." ‐ NDP spokesman Andrew Swan

"To turn around and give relief to those few small businesses that don't pay their taxes on time, that get caught not paying their taxes, is a weird, weird choice," he said.

"The only person who would do that... would be somebody who happens to be the principal of a corporation in Costa Rica that didn't pay its taxes for a whole decade," he said, referring to Pallister's admission that he owed luxury taxes on his Central American vacation home.

According to the Manitoba Finance Department, the interest rate on unpaid taxes is currently set at 9.95 per cent.

It's gone up three times under the PCs, department figures show — a total increase of 1.25 percentage points — from what it was under the NDP.

Pallister seemed to be caught off guard when a journalist pointed this out to him at the news conference.

The Tories later said the rate has increased during their time in office due to fluctuations in the prime interest rate. The premier's announcement focussed on reducing the surcharge, which would reduce the penalty by three percentage points.

Pallister said even with a reduced penalty, there would still be a "significant deterrent" to any businesses that fail to pay their taxes.

 

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

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