Monday, April 21, 2008

The Taxation of Beer in Ontario

Being a 19 year old non straight edge male I have a certain degree of knowledge in the damage that a “good weekend” can have on a bank account. And quite frankly I’m pissed at how the Ontario government’s monopoly (hereafter referred to as the LCBO) on the price of alcohol has the potential to bankrupt poor college students.

For those of you who have a terribly short attention span, I took the time to create a “tl;dr” for you assholes to get the gist of what I’m saying without investing precious time to read the rest of what I have to say.

For the rest of you who did not stop reading:

Holy fucking shit a solid drinker invests a lot of money into the chilled alcoholic industry every year. The following is an examination of the crap that the average Ontario drinker has to put up with just to enjoy some suds. I’m sure the following statements will do nothing but fuel more alcoholic rage, but it must be known.

Beer in Ontario is taxed at one of the highest rates in the world. When you shell out say $40 for a 24 or 28 of beer almost $20 of that is tax! Guess what else it taxed in that category? Cigarettes, gas, and air conditioners. For those who enjoy driving to the bar while enjoying a cigarette and A/C are being taxed to such an extreme its no wonder that those taxes have been coined as “Sin Taxes”.

Further breakdown of the shit that Ontario drinkers have to deal with;

- $5.62 per case in provincial commodity taxes.
- $2.29 per case in federal excise tax.
- 7% GST on the federal excise tax.
- 12% provincial sales tax -- 50% higher than the 8% PST charged on other goods.
- Plus, a provincial volume tax, environment tax and a gallonage tax.


It’s evident that if you want to be a hardcore alcoholic you probably have to be making six figures a year just to enjoy the natural goodness of ethanol. So next time you sit down and enjoy your piss poor buck-a-beer just remember half of that dollar is tax. You are drinking a $0.50 bottle of beer. And yes, it does taste like urine.

Even the breweries have offered some incite. "With seven separate federal and provincial taxes levied on beer, with a provincial sales tax of 12% -- the highest in North America -- with a provincial tax rate that is 70% higher than in Quebec, and with a provincial rate that is 700% higher than in New York and Michigan, one begins to understand why nearly half of the beer-drinking dollar is tax” - Jeff Newton, president and CEO of Brewers of Canada.

Buying from the Beer Store is supposed to be the cheaper way of obtaining the famed hops/barley concoction. There is no way around the inevitability that you will get taxed to fucking hell. If it weren’t for long weekends there would be no hope for drinkers to hammer down.

Bars are no better. Everyone who has been to a bar and doesn’t have nice tits knows that buying drinks is an expensive prospect. Because those aforementioned taxes are applied to alcohol that the bars buy, then the bar also has to pay x amount of taxation just for being LLBO approved, plus other various taxes, plus operating costs and wages.

What has Ontario done wrong to deserve this? A breakdown of those infamous “Sin taxes”from a 2000 study claims that we pay “$470 million in tobacco taxes, contribute to the LLBO and LCBO’s revenues of $1.345 billion and our gambling foibles account for $1.93 billion in revenues.” That’s almost $4,000,000,000 dollars that Ontario profits off of people just having a good time. The government has done a nice job at turning a profit from fun.

Bottom line: praise the long weekend sales, embrace the new found 18 pack which is better cost per bottle then the average on-sale 28. But overall, fuck the government for taking advantage of Ontarians who just want to enjoy a beer. As if taxation wasn’t high enough you greedy bastards.

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