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  1. #1
    Junior Member Firstling's Avatar
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    Canada Bike Tax Credit ???

    Ok so we have a federal public transit tax credit, but for those of us that choose to ride our bikes this is no help. How hard would it be for the government to set up a bicycle tax credit to compliment the transit credit.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member hshearer's Avatar
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    It would be easy (look how easy it was to set up the HRTC, which is pretty much the same idea... buy a bunch of stuff for home improvement from wherever or whomever, and claim the receipts on your taxes). It would also fit with some propaganda I got in the mail recently from my MP about healthcare, saying exercise is best when it's part of your daily life.

    Why we're giving tax credits for transit, and also for children's sports (and considering adult gym memberships), but not for purchasing fitness equipment is beyond me. I assume it's because it could be seen as difficult to demonstrate that the bike was used for transportation. Some might argue that people would use the bikes for fun, rather than transportation (how awful), or that there would be lobbying that walking shoes for those who choose to walk to work, and also outerwear, should also be included. And outerwear possibly should be included; I've had to buy a whole new wardrobe just to wear on the bike to deal with sweat, dirt, rain, and snow. What about those who roller-blade or skateboard to work? Eventually, everyone would be trying to write off shoes, clothing, and sporting goods, and the tax credit could just be kind of pointless. Or maybe we'd all start being more active.

    It would be a lot easier and less paperwork just to raise the gas tax. Alternatively, I think in some U.S. states that a letter from an employer that the employee doesn't drive to work, along with receipts for your mode of travel (LBS purchases, for example) is all that is required to get a tax credit. I think there's a pretty small cap on what can be claimed annually, though... $500 maybe.

  3. #3
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    I think there's a cost vs benefit thing. The tax credit on bus passes directly targets public transit users. Every single person you hit will be a regular user of public transit, simply because it does not make sense to buy an $80 bus pass for a $12 tax credit unless you receive $68 or more worth of transportation in return.

    With a bike credit, if its goal is transportation, there's going to be a LOT of misses. How many people do you think buy a bike every year and never, ever use it for a transportation purpose? I'm guessing it's a pretty large portion of bike purchases. And indeed the tax credit would disproportionately benefit racers who buy more expensive gear (a cap could help with that), but probably won't be using that gear for regular transportation.

    If the goal is to make the country more active, as a gym-membership credit would be, then there'd be fewer misses. But still lots...the purchase of sporting equipment doesn't inherently make you more active...a lot of it is bought with good intentions and then sits in the basement. Memberships, while many are bought impulsively, get cancelled if they're not used.

    Bike stuff is expensive, but if the savings over driving, plus the health benefits, aren't convincing you...will a 15% discount really make the difference?

  4. #4
    Junior Member Firstling's Avatar
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    It might make the difference between some one buying a monthly bus pass or deciding to ride their bike for the month.
    knowing that they could defer some of their basic maintenance costs could make riding a more appealing option.

    hshearer is probably on the right track; a cap on how much you could claim and confirmation from your employer that you commute by bike.

    On the part of professional cyclists I was under the impression (if I am wrong please correct me) that they usually had sponsors to help cover their costs. Also I would bet that they don't ride their racing bike to work and it would be fair to give tax credits for the up keep of their commuter ride.

  5. #5
    Senior Member trustnoone's Avatar
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    I propose that cycling gear be sales tax free. Though in my case that would mean I would buy more and ride the same. Probably a universl result so I agree with the previous poster who said it wouldn't encourage people to ride more for transportation.

    I believe the biggest reasons for not riding have been shown to be traffic and weather. Lower taxes wouldn't mitigate either. A 1000% gas tax might reduce traffic but it would be hard to get elected on that platform.

  6. #6
    Senior Member trustnoone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firstling View Post
    On the part of professional cyclists I was under the impression (if I am wrong please correct me) that they usually had sponsors to help cover their costs. Also I would bet that they don't ride their racing bike to work and it would be fair to give tax credits for the up keep of their commuter ride.
    They take the bus

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firstling View Post
    On the part of professional cyclists I was under the impression (if I am wrong please correct me) that they usually had sponsors to help cover their costs. Also I would bet that they don't ride their racing bike to work and it would be fair to give tax credits for the up keep of their commuter ride.
    If someone is a professional cyclist - earning money on their bikes, whether through sponsorship, prizes, courier fees, or other methods - they can already deduct their equipment purchases. The only limitation is that they can't deduct more than their taxable cycling earnings. (In theory, they shouldn't be able to claim a bike solely for commuting, but the claim could be made that commuting is part of their training regimine, thus making it tax deductible.)

    Many other self-employed people - including all those contractors you find in almost every IT department - are eligible for deducting their commuting expenses, so long as their home is their official place of business, and wherever they work is just a job site.
    Last edited by neil; 03-15-10 at 03:27 PM.

  8. #8
    wonderling FuzzyE's Avatar
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    I would rather have more tax dollars spent on developing and maintaing bike paths. I think MetroVan is starting to do a pretty good job, although I would like to see sections of the BC parkway repaved and some more path markings to attract new riders. If you have the infrastructure, advertise it!

  9. #9
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trustnoone View Post
    I propose that cycling gear be sales tax free. Though in my case that would mean I would buy more and ride the same. Probably a universl result so I agree with the previous poster who said it wouldn't encourage people to ride more for transportation.
    Interesting statement coming from an Albertan, a provincce that has no sales tax to begin with. The shame of the HST introduced into BC this year is that prior to its introduction, there was no PST on bicycles, bicycle repairs, or on necessary components. As well, there was no PST on safety equipment, such as bike helmets. But with HST, the province has lost its ability to set policy thru consumption tax. It is now subject to whatever consumption tax policy the feds want to set from Ottawa.

    L.

  10. #10
    Senior Member trustnoone's Avatar
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    Alberta has no PROVINCIAL sales tax. We pay our fair share of GST.

  11. #11
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    If you are a cycle courier, you can claim food costs as fuel. I think it is $17 a day or close. no receipts required.

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