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Goodbye jewelry excise tax

Stephan Burnett
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Mar 02/05) - The tax on jewelry is gone - at least in four years it will be.

Hau Huynh, owner of Arctic Jewellers in Yellowknife, said he was never happy with having to pay the excise tax.

Hau Huynh, owner of Arctic Jewellers, looks at some of the jewelry for sale in his store. Huynh said he is happy the excise tax will be eliminated over the next four years. The excise tax on jewelry will be gone entirely March 1, 2009. - Stephan Burnett/NNSL photo

If the federal government implements the measure sooner it would make business easier, he said.

"If they do it quicker ... that would be good," said Huynh.

The 10 per cent excise tax will be phased out by two per cent per year over the next four years.

It will be gone by March 1, 2009. The first two per cent was taken off on Feb. 24.

Arslanian Cutting Works director Hilary Jones said she'll take what she can get.

"The whole industry is happy, although we'd like to see it all go at once," Jones said.

Consumer's costs should go down as a result of the phasing out of the tax, said Jones.

"In five years time, we'll be on par with the rest of the world," she said.

In the last federal budget, the Liberals introduced measures to phase out the tax.

However, there is still a movement on to get the tax eliminated immediately, led by Conservative Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan, who is saying it should be eliminated immediately.

Duncan's efforts to eliminate the excise tax entirely will go forward to an all-party committee on March 10.

"I have support of the Bloc and the NDP and my own party and I've talked to a number of Liberal backbenchers who continue to support my bill," he said.

"The will is there and I'm still very optimistic," said Duncan. "The Liberals are still worried about their revenue stream."

David Gamble, a spokesman for the Department of Finance, said the overall excise tax represents $100 million a year in revenue for the federal government.

The federal government is projecting a $4 billion surplus for next year, with $3 billion legislated to pay down the debt, barring any emergencies, said Gamble.

"The phasing out takes into account limited fiscal resources and sets out a clear plan for the removal of the tax," said Gamble.