It appears that consumption taxes are a preferred way of raising money and encouraging behaviour change.
One very aggravating problem with the way this type of tax is administered is that things cost much more than advertized. Consumers (even those of us with mathematical minds) are surprised how much we have to pay.
During the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (which replaced the hidden Manufacturer’s Sales Tax in 1991) citizen groups wanted us all to know now much tax we were paying. This was a very good demand. We should know how much of what we pay is tax; something that eluded us with a hidden tax. We got a visible added on tax. To the GST was added any provincial retail sales taxes that may have been in existence. The retail sales taxes whether harmonized/combined with the GST plus environmental surcharges on certain products and now the possibility of a carbon tax/fee will all added to an advertized price. The results have become substantial and incredibly irritating.
Since the introduction of the retail sales tax (1961 in Ontario) and the GST the abilities of equipment creating a receipt/invoice has increased exponentially. With this ability, couldn’t things be set up so that the advertized price is the total price paid. The cash register could then show the various components making up the total.
TV advertised at $399.99
Environmental Fee 39.50
So we pay $496.62
We would see
TV advertised at $494.99 (and pay that amount with the invoice showing)
Environmental Fee 39.50
We have the technology. Full price advertizing with component recording is already in place.
When we purchase vehicle fuel our invoice/receipt shows total price and taxes.
The advertized price (say) 99.9 c/litre is what we pay,
Our invoice 50 litres @ $0.999 $49.95
Taxes included in fuel
- Federal 5.00
- Provincial 7.35
- Carbon 3.34
- HST 5.75
This already existing style of receipt fully informs the consumer of the retail taxes included in an advertised total price.
Those who are required to have HST/GST/PST information for tax purposes will have the necessary information and the rest of us won’t have the aggravation of incurring unexpected costs.
Once again; think of how you’d feel pulling up to an outlet advertizing Gasoline at 56.9 c/litre; put 50 litres in the tank expecting to pay $28.45 but actually having to pay $49.87.
Throughout the retail sector, advertise the full price; show the retail taxes/fees on the printed receipt/invoice