No Tax On Sub-$1000 Bikes (in Ontario)

Up here in my home province of Ontario, the provincial government has removed the provincial sales tax (PST) on bikes under $1000. The program, introduced last December has been extended for another two years until the end of 2010.

“We want to encourage more Ontarians – young and young-at-heart – to get outdoors, spend time riding bikes as a family and with friends, or to try riding to work if possible, leaving the car at home,” said Premier McGuinty. “Together, we’re building a culture of health and well-being across Ontario by encouraging more families to embrace active living.”

The exemption applies to all bicycles that have a purchase price of $1000 or less and also to:

  • Bicycle helmets
  • Reflectors for bicycles
  • Bicycle lights (including generators, battery operated lights)
  • Bells and horns for bicycles
  • Mirrors for bicycles.

It does not apply to:

  • Bicycle parts
  • Bicycle accessories such as carriers (baskets, tools), pumps, hoses, drinking bottles, and kickstands
  • Oil and grease
  • Tube repair kits.

The bit about carriers is a bit curious, as I think baskets and tools help promote the commuting aspect. It is a very encouraging development and I hope it will continue beyond the 2010 date (especially since gas is over $1.10/litre up here these days (~$4.20/gal)).

For the Premiers initial announcement, go here, for the official, specific details, and for the announcement of the extension, check out the BTAC website.


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0 thoughts on “No Tax On Sub-$1000 Bikes (in Ontario)”

  1. bikesgonewild says:

    …i dare say, a step in the right direction…

  2. rick says:

    Why sub $1000? That makes no sense. People don’t ride high end bikes to commute? It should be bicycles period and all accessories. There seems to be a poor mentality around commuting by bicycle. Not everyone chooses to commute by bike for financial reasons.

  3. JoelGuelph says:

    Rick, while initially I had the same thought as you, I came to accept it as being OK. If you can afford a $1000 bicycle, you can afford the tax. I think this precisely helps the people that choose to commute for financial reasons as well as lower income families who just want to get out and bicycle with their family.

    No one “needs” a bicycle for commuting that costs over $1000. And if that perception exists, we need to make cycling “cool”, a la Swobo’s Tim Parr comments in this interview. It is a great step to at least show that the government is actually *thinking* about bike commuting. Whether this gesture will have any real impact in bicycle sales, remains to be seen, and may not even be measurable. Hopefully it is something people notice, and then they too think about the viability of commuting by bike.

    It also important to note that the government is trying to promote bicycling as a recreational activity. There is a need for much of North American society to stop seeing the bike as merely a toy or a piece of sporting equipment, and what better way than to get them on a bike. My background of riding a bike for fun and sport is probably the single largest catalyst to get me to ride my bike to work and to do errands.

  4. rick says:

    Joel thanks for the reply, your absolutely right and you’ve have given me another perspective in which to look at it.

  5. Aidan says:

    The simple answer is to give the tax break on the FIRST $1000 of a bike. Shouldn’t that satisfy everybody?

  6. rick says:

    I get triggered when I read about stuff like this because our Canadian government gives economy car buyers a $1000 rebate regardless of the cost of the vehicle yet there is a ceiling put on bicycle purchase. Obviously a cyclist does less harm to the environment and infrastructure.

  7. Mike Myers says:

    I agree that making the first $1000 tax-free would be the idea solution.

  8. Fritz says:

    I’ve been told that British Columbia has no sales tax on any bicycle, accessories, or service.

  9. JoelGuelph says:

    I poked around a bit and it seems you are correct Fritz, BC doesn’t charge PST (provincial) on bicycle, accessories, or service. GST (federal) still applies.

  10. Varroa says:

    I use to live in BC 5 years ago and even back then there was no PST on bikes or bike related stuff.

  11. nat says:

    I’m of two minds about this:

    They ought to offset at least as much tax as they do for other vehicles. So if it’s a $1000 rebate, it ought to be the same for a bike. Or at least no sales tax on that first $1000, if that’s what you really meant to write.

    OTOH, somewhere not much above $1000 (maybe around $2000?), you’re mostly looking at not-utilty-practical racing machines. Well, except for recumbents. But, anyway, my point is that i suspect part of the motivation is that they don’t want to be giving a discount for someone who’s buying a bike just for racing, and won’t be decreasing their car usage any due to the bike.

    On the gripping hand, bikes are, in general, a lot cheaper than cars, so less of an economic burden regardless.

    But back on the first hand, good luck getting cheap financing to buy a multi-thousand-dollar bike, while walking into a car dealership with no money and walking out with a car is easy (at least in the US).

    And, back on the other hand, that doesn’t seem to stop the gov’t, at least in the US (dunno about the details in Canada), from giving rebates for highly-impractical and/or recreational motor vehicles. So, would it really be such an abuse of gov’t finances to reward people for buying that racing bike and getting a little better in shape, even if it didn’t cut down on motor-vehicle commuter traffic?

  12. Fritz says:

    How many other Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle fans got the “gripping hand” reference around here? 🙂

  13. Ben says:

    the new tax exemption is great but i do think it should cover all bike related gear. and as for the limit i think there should be no limit on the price yes you don’t need a 1500 dollar bike to get to work but i also like to bike for pleasure and some of the stuff i want to do you can’t do on bikes that cost less than a thousand dollars but it is a step in the right direction.
    but also motorists need to gain respect for riders as a resident of a small town i have nearly been hit almost every day for the past month and i ride acorrding to the rules of the road. the motorists are dangerous and i have been tempted not to avopid them and get a new bike out of the deal

  14. Don says:

    I had a custom frame built just for commuting 16 years ago. I’m hardcore, doing it in all weather, even the deepest snow. The total cost of the bike is probably close to $2000 – it takes a quality machine and components to take the all-weather, daily abuse. The bike is heavy and strong, so not suitable for racing, but still expensive.

  15. JoelGuelph says:

    Don, while I appreciate where you are coming from, especially since Ontario has some pretty snowy winters, but I think Premier McGuinty intended to encourage fitness, with commuting being a side benefit. Having a well built makes winter commuting much easier but I also find that attention to maintenance is critical to keeping a bike running through the winter.

    My bike cost me hardly anything and I’ve been summer and winter commuting on it for about 8 years now. I’ve taken a simplistic approach, with friction shifting and homemade fenders. Not counting hand me down parts, I’ve put less than $100 dollars into this bike that was given to me because it was worthless as a trade in at the bike shop. My wife rides a $700 Devinci Toronto for three seasons a year and it requires little to no maintenance with its Nexus hub.

    We just need to convince Mr. McGuinty that he should remove the tax on consumable maintenance parts, like chains, cables, lube, etc.

  16. Don says:

    Under $100 eh? Impressive! My experience has been to break cheap/light stuff; I have crashed hard because of this. But then I am a world class track racer as well. It’s too bad we can’t buy enclosed, aerodynamic human-powered family transportation at a local dealer, as can be done with cars.

    I live in BC where all bikes and parts are PST free. My favourite way to transport the kids, aged 3 and 5, is with a three-seat tandem (triplet). That rig set me back 5 figures, so I saved a ton on tax but am also saving the atmosphere from tonnes of carbon! Since getting it, the car goes two months between fillups.

  17. Ryan says:

    With Ontario harmonizing the taxes, does this mean the PST is back on?

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