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(Fred Lum/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
(Fred Lum/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

Driving It Home

Ontario drivers pay taxes - lots and lots and lots of taxes Add to ...

Taxes. Let’s put the spotlight on taxes. Let’s focus on what governments pull out of car owners and drivers in the form of taxes. The numbers, real numbers, might shock you.

Imagine you live in a nice little suburban cul-de-sac. Your family pulls in a tidy middle class income.

You are a contractor who needs a Dodge Ram pickup for work. Your spouse works in an office and drives a fuel efficient Toyota Matrix hatchback. Next door, the family lives a similar lifestyle. They have a Dodge Grand Caravan minivan and a Mazda3 hatchback.

The four of you paid about $12,000 in HST on those four vehicles. Let me just repeat that. You and the neighbours paid $12,000 in sales taxes on four nice but hardly fancy family vehicles. No small hit for middle class families.

But the taxation hits don’t stop there.

As the Toronto Automobile Dealers Association points out in a news release, Natural Resources Canada says the average price of gasoline in Toronto from October 11 to November 1 was $1.229 a litre. Thirty-two per cent of that, or 38.8 cents, went straight to the federal and provincial governments. A third of the price of a litre of gas goes into general tax revenue at the provincial and federal level.

Here’s the breakdown in Ontario:

  1. 14.7 per cent provincial Gasoline Tax;
  2. 10 cent Federal Excise Tax;
  3. 5 per cent federal Goods and Services Tax (GST); and
  4. 8 per cent provincial Sales Tax

Here’s something you may not have considered: with the HST being applied on the full price of gasoline, notes TADA, you are being double taxed. That is, you are taxed on the 14.7 per cent Gasoline Tax and the 10 cent Federal Excise Tax.

Here’s my question to you and your family: Do you feel you’re getting good value for your massive tax bill? Do you?

Keep in mind that up front, on the day you bought the pickup you need for work and the little Toyota grocery-getter you need for your spouse’s work and errands and family runabouts, you handed over about $6,800 in sales taxes. And every single time you fill up, you hand over more taxes – taxes on taxes, in fact.

I’ll ask you again: Are you getting good value for your tax bill? Do you feel you are being fairly taxed? Or do you think that as a working family in need of two cars, you have become nothing more than a cash cow for governments? Easy pickings for the tax man because you absolutely need to drive two modest vehicles?

Are the taxes you pay as a middle class vehicle owner fair or unfair?

Fair or not, are you also aware that the 10th Annual Report from The Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress has, says TADA, recommended the Ontario Government consider a new tax on drivers, a carbon tax. As TADA points out, “a carbon tax will be the fifth tax added to the price of gasoline in Ontario.”

Do you like being a cash cow? If so, do you want the Ontario Government to milk you some more in the form of a new carbon tax?

Just asking.

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Follow on Twitter: @catocarguy

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