If you are a Nova Scotia graduate in 2009, you have reason to celebrate.  Beginning with 2009 the Nova Scotia government is allowing graduates to claim a tax rebate on their taxes.

Graduates are required to graduate from a recognized post-secondary institution, and they must have been taking a program offered on a full-time basis.  You are allowed to take the program part time.

University graduates can claim a maximum of $2,500 against their Nova Scotia taxes in the year of graduation, and the following 5 years. ¬†That’s a total of $15,000! ¬†College grads can clailm $1,250¬†against their Nova Scotia taxes in the year of graduation, and the following 5 years, for a total of $7,500.

Obviously, since the intent is to keep grads working in Nova Scotia, you must file a Nova Scotia tax return each year. ¬†This rebate is non-refundable, which simply means that if you haven’t earned enough income to pay provincial taxes, you can’t claim back the difference.

This rebate replaces the old Graduate Tax Credit, worth a mere $2,000.  However, if you had graduated from a different program in an earlier year, but then return to school and graduate again in 2009 or later years, you can also claim this new rebate.

You can read more about this exciting tax rebate by clicking here.

Filed under: Consumer Tax by David Boese 1 Comment »

I don’t typically like the “doom and gloom” style of reporting. ¬†After all, too much gloom tends to grow on a person, right?

However, here is a gloomy scenario that could play out in Nova Scotia.  First, a quick refresher.  In 2006 the HST rate in Nova Scotia dropped from 15% to 14%, and then dropped again in 2008 down to 13%.  These rate cuts happened after the federal government cut their federal portion of the HST.  Few people complained.

Now, however, both Nova Scotia and the federal Canadian government are severely in the red. ¬†The provincial NDP government has as good as said that they are going to raise the HST rate. ¬†On February 1, 2010 NDP Finance Minister Steele stated that: ¬†“Over the six public sessions we‚Äôve had, I would say people can accept that part of the solution is an increase in taxes, particularly the HST.” Face it, whenever a Finance Minister says something like that, we can expect a tax increase!

Over in the federal camp, the Conservatives are dead set against raising taxes. ¬†But the official opposition, the Liberals, are mumbling about increasing the GST/HST back up to what it used to be. ¬†Fortunately the odds are against it, but there’s obviously potential for both the provincial and the federal governments to increase our HST by a couple of percentage points.

The bottom line is that we may as well expect to be back up to 15% in the next year or two, and let’s hope it doesn’t go past that! ¬†It’s going to be interesting to watch, at the least.

Filed under: Business tax, Consumer Tax by David Boese 2 Comments »

Sometimes the government actually announces a tax break that makes sense. ¬†Here’s one, for example:

In 2007 the Nova Scotia government announced a $250 tax credit for volunteer firefighters, which could be claimed on their income tax return.  This went up to $375 for 2008, and is now $500 for 2009.

Also, for 2008 and future years the credit has been expanded to include ground search and rescue workers.

This tax credit is refundable, meaning that even if you don’t owe taxes, you can still claim the full tax credit. ¬†Read more about this at


We all appreciate the hard work and dedication from our volunteer firefighters, and search and rescue workers. ¬†We all say it, and ¬†I’m pleased that our provincial government has “put our tax money where our mouth is.”

Filed under: Personal Tax by David Boese 1 Comment »

Nova Scotia vs the Economy

November 19th, 2009

I wouldn’t want the Premier of Nova Scotia’s job these days. ¬†Well, I actually wouldn’t want it any day, but especially not when the red ink starts flowing.

The New Democratic Party was elected after promising to balance the budget and not raise taxes. ¬†Or at least that’s what the media claims…… I didn’t personally hear them say it. ¬†On November 16 the NDP announced that well, it looks like the budget won’t be balanced after all, and you know what, it looks like we’ll have to raise some taxes.

Strictly as a point of interest, did anyone really believe the NDP when they promised no taxes and a balanced budget? ¬†Haven’t we all heard these things before?

Anyway, it’s going to be interesting to see which taxes get raised and by how much. ¬†I’m guessing they’ll raise the tax rate on top earners, as they usually get picked on first. ¬†I’m also guessing they’ll bump up the HST rate by a point or two. ¬†I’m also guessing that they’ll coin these measures as “temporary” but is there anything so permanent as a temporary tax increase?

From a tax view, it will be interesting to watch what gives.

Filed under: Consumer Tax by David Boese No Comments »