Monday, January 16, 2017

Local funeral homes being cautious as they wait to of see carbon tax impact

BY GILLIAN SLADE ON JANUARY 16, 2017. Medicine Hat News
Two things in life are certain: death and taxes. In Alberta the two are meeting with a carbon tax on cremation. Recent media reports indicated $100 had been applied in Calgary to a cremation bill to cover the carbon tax. In Medicine Hat a more measured approach is prevailing. Many funeral homes in Alberta are going to be assessing their fuel bills as they come in over the next few months before determining the impact of the carbon tax, said Cam Davis, current chair of the Alberta Funeral Service Regulatory Board and a co-owner of Saamis Memorial Funeral Chapel. “It’s not just about the natural gas being burned for the cremation,” said Davis. “Any other products that are used, like cremation receptacles, that have to be trucked also have a carbon tax levy.” It is not as simple as calculating how much fuel is used for a cremation either. The actual “firing” and duration is not the same each time, said Davis. The cost of cremation varies between $750 and $1,100 depending on what is included. How many cremations are done at a crematorium will also affect the overall price. Over the next few months a clearer picture will emerge of how costs have increased compared to the number of cremations and then an average will be calculated as the carbon tax on future cremations, said Davis. In the meantime Saamis will just be absorbing the additional costs. Pattison Funeral Home says it will also be taking a wait and see approach before collecting a carbon tax. “At this point we’ve made no adjustments whatsoever,” said Greg Martin, president and co-owner Pattison Funeral Home. In addition to the utility bill that will reflect a carbon tax there will also be the automotive fuel purchases and freight on caskets, said Martin. Prematurely trying to calculate the relevant carbon tax would be as foolish as adjusting prices every time the price of gas went up or down. Davis cautions that the carbon tax will not only apply to cremations. He says even digging a grave with a backhoe that uses fuel will be influenced by the carbon tax. So will a lawn tractor burning fuel to keep the grass cut in a cemetery, he said.
More than 50 per cent of people are now choosing cremation over burial, said Davis. Once a carbon tax is calculated by funeral homes it will be up to each organization to decided whether the carbon tax will be included in an overall price or listed separately, said Davis.
Don Quixote Note: Whether buried in the bill or listed separately the GST of 5% and HST (where applicable)  will be  charged on he Carbon Tax. A TAX on a TAX . Pity , only in Canada.

B.C. does not charge PST on Cremations  but have not seen if Cremations are being assessed  carbon tax.

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