I haven’t done it yet, but the Harmonized Sales Tax is something that I need to look into both from a club and association point of view, even if right now, the HST is only being instituted in British Columbia and Ontario and doesn’t affect Alberta – yet.
There hasn’t been a whole lot of talk about it out here just yet, but I’m sure it’s in the back of people’s minds. It’s all about what’s going to happen next? How do you plan and set any of your pricing structures, for example?
The one person I plan to talk to is fellow GNN blogger Kevin Thistle at Coppinwood in Uxbridge, Ont. He’s been on top of it from the start.
If it ever does come to Alberta, there will need to be a focused communication to consumers that it isn’t us charging the extra seven or eight per cent or whatever it might be if it comes here.
It’s like when the GST came in. At the time, it was seven per cent and we had to explain that the seven per cent wasn’t coming to us. We’re just the collector – we take it and give it back to the government.
Consumers are consumers and it’s about the bottom line. If your dues are $3,200 a year, then there’s GST on top of that. I can say my budget is $3,200, but it’s not to them and it’s the same thing when they buy a set of golf clubs or they buy a green fee.
If there’s an extra seven or eight per cent added on with the HST, everything in their lives just went up so where does golf fit in the food chain for them? What are their priorities? Will everyone’s wages go up by seven or eight per cent to cover the extra? I doubt it.
Honestly, I think flags are up everywhere. Just making the numbers work right now is a challenge. Our operations are not inexpensive to run.
My concern is that if Ontario starts to have economic problems again, will it have a ripple effect again? We have to be aware that if it happens somewhere in the country, it could be coming our way too.
If the HST did come to Alberta, who knows how it would work? Right now, we have no provincial tax – we just have the five per cent GST. Could something come in and we get a double hit with the new tax?
The uncertainty of it all is what makes it an important issue because we don’t want to get hit with any surprises in such tough economic times.