REGINA, Sask. – Having to pay any new tax is seldom a welcome expense for businesses and individuals, and Saskatchewan’s carbon tax is no exception.
With carriers now needing to keep track and record the amount of tax they pay for carbon emissions, the Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA) has had its fair share of inquiries regarding this new responsibility.
As Nicole Sinclair, director of policy and communications for the STA, explains, there are a lot of misconceptions out there regarding the carbon tax.
One such misunderstanding is that the new tax does not apply to trucking companies.
“This was mostly from the language used during the explanation from the Canadian Revenue Agency,” said Sinclair. “Trucking companies were called ‘road users’ and diesel was included under ‘light fuel oil.’”
The STA even had one carrier ask, “If we do not register for this because we think it’s a terrible idea, what will happen?”
“Some companies were weighing the cost-benefit of simply not complying with the program,” said Sinclair, adding there were a number of carriers that didn’t register because they did not understand that the carbon tax applied to them.
Fact is, the carbon tax does apply to carriers and they need to comply with the law.
There are several things companies should be doing to avoid issues when filing their taxes. As Jordan Ewart, policy analyst for the STA, explained, carriers should “track the mileage they travel in each province, not just Saskatchewan.” Sinclair said to “understand why you are being charged, as Saskatchewan was a ‘backstop jurisdiction,’ meaning where you travel and where you are based impacts the administrative responsibility.”
The STA has had several carriers contact the office recently asking questions like, “I thought companies in Saskatchewan weren’t on board with the carbon tax, so why do we have to do this?” And, “How do I calculate the carbon tax? Do I register for the carbon tax if I fuel in the U.S. and drive in Canada?”
Despite the STA advising its members to comply with the new law, it does not shy away from how it feels about the carbon tax.
“As the STA has stated many times before, this is a burden for trucking companies,” said Sinclair. “Not only is everyone now paying more at the pump, but costly hours are being dedicated to filling out paperwork that is confusing and unnecessary.”
In addition to Saskatchewan, the federal government imposed a carbon tax April 1 on Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick at a cost of $20 a ton for 2019, increasing by $10 annually until reaching $50 a ton in 2022.
The federal carbon tax was levied on provinces that did not implement their own plan.