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PEI booksellers worried about sales tax increase

Next year, Prince Edward Island consumers will be paying more tax on their book purchases, and that’s a concern for many local retailers.

Effective April 2013, the province is switching to a harmonized sales tax of 14 per cent. Currently, Island books are taxed at 5 per cent. In other provinces, such as Ontario and Nova Scotia, that have adopted the HST model, consumers receive a point-of-sale tax rebate on books, but that is not planned for PEI.

Lori Cheverie, manager of Charlottetown’s Bookmark Bookstore, expressed her concerns to CBC:

That means we’re the only place in Canada that has to charge that extra nine per cent. … While we’re already fighting online shopping and off-Island shopping it’s just going to put another nail in the coffin.

There is still a possibility the rebate will be introduced. At a community meeting in Tignish on Aug. 8, PEI Finance Minister Wes Sheridan said:

It is at the top of our laundry list that we’re taking to cabinet. What people talk about an awful lot is the literacy, and how we’re trying to maintain that. So it is tough to be in that business and we’re looking at all ways in which we can make it fair.