August 22, 2017

Review of Provincial Tax System and Plan to Eliminate Book Tax Announced

The Honourable Tom Osborne, Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board, today announced a review of the province’s tax system, along with its plan to eliminate the provincial portion of the Book Tax.

To guide the review of the province’s tax system, a five-person committee has been appointed with members having varying backgrounds in economics, taxation and public policy, with representation from the business, social and labour sectors. Members include:

  • Steve Jerrett, Chairperson
  • Peter Woodward
  • Brian Bonnell
  • Carol Furlong
  • Marion Pardy (Very Rev. Dr.)

The review will be completed in September 2018 with the final report expected in November 2018 for consideration of all recommendations prior to Budget 2019-20.

In Budget 2016, the Provincial Government eliminated the 10 per cent provincial rebate on books. Today, Minister Osbourne will write the Federal Government to reinstate the rebate.

The main objectives of the independent tax review are to ensure the province’s tax system is competitive and fair, identify ways to simplify the tax system and reduce costs for both government and tax payers. During the review, consideration will be given to whether the appropriate tax mix is applied to taxpayers as well as the progressivity of the tax system.

As committed to in The Way Forward: Realizing Our Potential, both personal and business taxes will be evaluated during the review (a full list of taxes to be reviewed are included in the backgrounder below). The scope of the review will consider revenue sources and new tax incentives including labour-based tax incentives for emerging industries and tax incentives for employers in the skilled trades who increase the number of apprentices they take on. The tax review will also consider the province’s tax capacity, taking into account issues such as competitiveness and economic impacts.

Today’s announcement follows on the Budget 2017-18 decision to reduce the Temporary Gas Tax by 12.5 cents per litre by December 31, 2017.The remaining four cents will be reviewed as part of the fall fiscal update.

“Our government is committed to ensuring the province’s tax system is fair to all residents, including seniors and people living on fixed outcomes. I thank the members of the committee for their contribution to this important work. Today’s announcement to eliminate the provincial portion of the book tax and a review of our tax system marks a critical step in realizing that commitment. Ensuring the province’s tax system is competitive, balanced and less cumbersome will help attract investment and provide an incentive for young families and businesses to put down roots in the province.”
Honourable Tom Osborne
Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board

"I would like to thank Minister Osborne for the opportunity to contribute to this tax review – I believe a fair, equitable, and competitive tax system is essential for the long-term fiscal stability of our province."
Steve Jerrett
Chair, Independent Tax Review Committee

- 30 -

Learn More
Provincial tax information -

The Way Forward –

Follow us on Twitter: @GovNL external link and @FIN_GovNL external link

Media contact
Lisa Lawlor Finance
709-729-4839, 730-1568


Scope of the Tax Review Committee

Both personal and business taxes will be evaluated during the tax review and will include the following:

  • Personal Income Tax
  • Gasoline Tax
  • Tobacco Tax
  • Retail Sales Tax on Insurance Premiums
  • Retail Sales Tax on Used Vehicles
  • Harmonized Sales Tax
  • Corporate Income Tax
  • Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax (known as Payroll Tax)
  • Insurance Companies Tax
  • Financial Corporations Capital Tax

Biographies of Tax Review Committee Members

Steve Jerrett (Chair), located in Botwood, has over 25 years of experience in fiscal relations, economics, and management. Mr. Jerrett is currently the Chief Administrative Officer/Town Manager for the Town of Botwood. He previously worked for the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador, as an executive with Central Health Regional Health Authority, the Government of Nunavut's Department of Finance and with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador with the Department of Finance and Executive Council. He holds a Masters in Economics from Acadia University.

Peter Woodward of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, is President and CEO of the Woodward Group of Companies, President of Labrador Motors and President of Markland Realty. He has previously served as Chair of the Labrador Health Corporation, Chair of the Labrador College and Chair of the Premier’s Advisory Council.

Brian Bonnell, is a Charter Professional Accountant living and practicing in Corner Brook. He is currently a board member with several private businesses and has served as a past board member of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. He has also served as Chair of 2008 Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games and as a manager and coach of the Newfoundland and Labrador Speed Skating team at three Canada Winter Games.

Carol Furlong, located in St. John’s, has worked extensively within the labour movement, and also has a strong working background in consumer protection. She served on numerous national and provincial committees and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Labour Institute.

Marion Pardy (Very Rev. Dr.), located in St. John’s, has expertise in education, public speaking, respectful dialogue and working in multi-faith and community environments. She served as a board member on Stella’s Circle for 24 years and continues her participation as Board Emeritus. She is also a director on the Religious Social Action Coalition and a member of the International Women’s Forum and former Moderator of The United Church of Canada.

2017 08 22                              1:15 p.m.