Sask. removes fitness, gym memberships from PST expansion – CTV News Regina

The Government of Saskatchewan is removing gym and fitness memberships from its planned expansion of the provincial sales tax.
The move comes as part of a four point “affordability plan” announced on Tuesday, coinciding with the release of the province’s first quarter fiscal update.
The provincial sales tax (PST) is slated to expand to some admission and entertainment charges starting on Oct. 1, 2022. Gym and fitness memberships were initially included in that expansion, as part of the 2022-23 budget.
“Health, wellness, sport and active lifestyles, I think we should all be doing as much as we can to make those things affordable,” said Brendan Mackenzie, owner of Level 10 Fitness in Regina.
The decision comes following a projected $1.04 billion surplus along with some pushback from gym owners after the original budget announcement.
“It was significant and very compelling in some cases of the compelling rationale that they put forward as to why they should be not taxed,” said Finance Minister Donna Harpauer.
PST will also not be charged to residents under 18 years of age participating in recreational activities including golf, curling, hockey, tennis, basketball and similar formal sporting activities. These activities will remain taxable for people 18 years and older.
According to the province, the change will reduce PST revenue by $3 million this year. However, Mackenzie said it could save in future healthcare costs.
“If we can really promote health, exercise and wellness we’re going to see way more than $3 million dollars in money saved,” he said.
“If anything, I think we should be going the other way where we’re thinking about giving tax credits for people that are putting money and investing money into themselves and their health.
The Saskatchewan government still plans to expand a six per cent PST onto entertainment admission such as sporting events, live concerts, theatres and museums.
Saskatchewan Roughriders CEO Craig Reynolds said the timing of the tax is very inconvenient for customers who are already facing financial troubles due to the rising cost of inflation.
“It is coming at a time where it’s challenging for some of our fans and it’s an added expense,” Reynolds said, adding the team chose to launch season ticket renewals early to help fans avoid paying the added PST.
“We won’t really know the impact of (the tax) until we get through season ticket renewals and then even into next season.”
The province also announced the Saskatchewan Affordability Tax Credit payment, which will send adult residents a $500 cheque this fall.
Those 18 years and older as of the end of 2022 who filed a 2021 tax return as a Saskatchewan resident will be eligible to receive the payment.
The province estimates the tax credit will cost $450 million, with an estimated 900,000 cheques expected to be mailed.
Additionally, a projected provincial surplus will help the province retire up to $1 billion in operating debt.
The small business tax rate reduction is also being extended at 0 per cent retroactive to July 1, 2022 and delaying the restoration of the rate to 2.0 per cent to July 1, 2024, the province said.
The Regina and District Chamber of Commerce estimates that the tax rate extension could save small businesses $3,000 each year.
“Anytime that they can use that $3000 whether its too invest in staff or education or buying goods and services, supplies, it’ll be beneficial,” said chamber CEO Tony Playter.
“It gives our business community some room to breathe.”
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