Employer Health Tax Introduced

Beginning in January 2019, the provincial government will introduce a new Employer Health Tax (EHT).

The EHT will replace the Medical Services Plan, which will be eliminated by January 1, 2020.

Businesses who have payroll costs of less than $500,000 will not have to pay any of the new EHT. Employers who have payroll costs of over $1.5 million will have to pay EHT of 1.95% of these payroll costs. Employers with payroll costs between $500,000 and $1.5 million will pay EHT of 2.925% on payroll between $500,000 and $1,500,000.

Many employer paid benefits will be included in the calculation of the total payroll costs. For example, taxable allowances, employer paid group life insurance premiums, and contributions to an employee’s RRSP will be included in the calculation.On the other hand, employer paid payments to registered pension and deferred profit-sharing plans, as well as extended health benefits and retirement compensation arrangements, will not be included.

Charities and non-profits will have different thresholds than other entities. They will pay no EHT if their payroll is less than $1.5 million, and their top threshold at which they would pay the full 1.95% rate is $4.5 million.

Employers with payroll costs over $600,000 will have to make quarterly installments, and they will have to file and pay online. The first installment payment will be due on June 15th , 2019, and the final return will be due with payment on March 31, 2020.

Employers can begin signing up for EHT in January, 2019. The provincial government has indicated that they will provide greater detail when draft legislation is introduced this fall.

Tax Documentation Changes for 2016

Tax season is once again upon us, and there are some changes that you will need to consider when bringing us your 2016 tax documentation.

Starting in 2016, you are required to report the sale of your principal residence. It is important to note that there has been no changes to the taxability of the sale of your principal residence. If your home qualified as you principal residence for the entire period of ownership, you will not have to pay income tax on the sale of the property. If you have sold your principal residence, the only information that you need to provide to us will be the address, the year you purchased the home, and the proceeds from the sale of the property. You do not have to provide any information on the original cost of the property.

If you are a teacher or an early educator, you can now qualify for the Eligible School Supply Credit. This credit allows eligible teachers and early childhood educators to claim up to $1,000 of eligible supplies used in the classroom. Eligible supplies must have been purchased in 2016. These would include most consumable items, such as pens, paper, and art supplies. Durable goods such as books, computer software, and bankers boxes, would also be eligible. Computers will not qualify for this credit. The Canada Revenue Agency may ask to see that your receipts  have been certified by a principal at your school. Please bring this certification with you when you bring us your eligible receipts.

Children’s arts and fitness credits can still be used for 2016, although the amount of the credit will be one half of what it was in 2015. You can receive a credit for up to $500 of eligible fitness expenditures for children under 16, and up to $250 for eligible arts credit expenditures. The federal potion of these credits have been eliminated for 2017.

If you qualified for the disability tax credit in 2016, you will now be eligible for the home Accessibility Tax Credit. A similar provincial credit has existed for Seniors in previous years. This credit will allow you to claim $10,000 of eligible expenditures. In order for the expenditure to qualify for the credit , it must be a renovation or alteration that is of an enduring nature.

The family tax cut has been removed for 2016. There have been no changes to pension splitting for 2016.


In our summer 2015 newsletter, we advised that the federal government was going to expand the types of transactions in which capital gains would be considered to be tax exempt.

Currently, if a taxpayer donates a public security or mutual fund, any gains that have accrued on the investment at the time of the donation are not taxable to the donor.

The plan at the time was to extend this policy to the donation of private company shares, as well as land, beginning in 2017.

However in their 2016 budget, the Liberal government indicated that they will not be introducing this measure.


The CRA recently provided additional guidance on the taxability of certain employment benefits that are provided by employers to their employees.

One issue that was discussed was related to happy hours and team lunches that are offered to all employees.

They advised that their policy regarding these types of social events is that as along as the cost per employee is less than $100, it would not be considered to be a taxable benefit. They did caution that the frequency of these events would have to be reasonable, although they did not provide any guidance as to what is considered reasonable.

For employers, these expenses may be deductible at 100%of the cost of the function, if the function is offered to all employees. Six functions per year would qualify for full deductibility. Only 50% of the costs of additional functions would be deductible to employers.


Fair Pharmacare is a program which subsidizes prescription costs in BC. The amount that each family pays is based on the net income that is reported on their personal tax returns from two years prior. For a family with no eligible seniors, the maximum that they would pay for eligible prescriptions in a year is approximately 4% of their net income, if their net income is over $30,000. For a family with an eligible senior, the most they would pay would be approximately 3% of their net income, if their net income is over $50,000.