Snow, mosquitoes, and taxes

July 9th, 2009 by Emma Durand-Wood

In Manitoba, nothing is certain but snow, mosquitoes, and yes, taxes. Yesterday was my one year Pegiversary, and I’ve been reflecting on some of the tax-related incentives and disincentives of moving to Manitoba.

There were so many things to consider when I was thinking about moving to a new province, but I have to be honest – tax rates never once crossed my mind. In fact, I went about my new Manitoba life blissfully unaware of what awaited me at tax time.  It turns out that the provincial tax rates in Manitoba are significantly higher than they are in BC. In this fair province, the 2008 rate for the first 30K (ish) you make was 10.9%, contrasted with 5.06% on the first 35K in BC, and they go up according to bracket from there. (2009 rates were not much different.) Since you pay provincial taxes for the province you lived in on December 31, I’d underpaid my taxes by 50% for half the year and had quite a sizeable amount owing. A bit of a rude awakening!

People might be quick to say that Manitoba’s higher tax rate is a bad thing. To be sure, Manitoba definitely has one of the higher provincial rates in Canada. But in my mind, it all balances out in the end. For one thing, you don’t have to pay health care premiums here, and you can’t say the same of Alberta and BC (when I lived in Vancouver, I was paid the mandatory $54 a month for basic provincial health care, and I remember I had to pay in Alberta, too).  I’m not upset that Manitoba has a higher tax rate–that doesn’t bother me at all. I’m just peeved that I didn’t catch my oversight earlier and pay a little extra tax throughout the rest of the year to make up for it.

I now know that in a perfect world, you should move in the wintertime. If you’re moving to a province with a higher tax rate, you should wait to move after December 31. And if you’re moving to a province with a lower tax rate, you should plan your arrival for just before December 31! If this isn’t possible and you wind up moving mid-year like I did, try to plan to set aside money to pay that big tax bill – or on the flip side, start thinking about how you’d like to use your refund 😉

Now, unfortunately, the middle of the year really is the ideal time to move to Manitoba. Arriving in late June or early July puts you smack dab in the middle of Manitoba’s most glorious season: summer. Any earlier, and it could still be winter, and same goes for any later. As Laurel can attest, February is not a great time to voluntarily move to Winnipeg. So, decide what matters most to you and make your move based on that. Or, just follow your heart and move whenever it makes sense for you!

On another more positive tax-related note, something else to consider when contemplating a move to this province is the fabulous Manitoba Tuition Fee Income Tax Rebate. This program was designed to encourage college and university grads to bring their skills to/keep their skills in Manitoba. In a nutshell, if you graduated from an accredited Canadian post-secondary institution on or after January 1, 2007 and start paying taxes in Manitoba, you can get a 60% income tax rebate on your eligible tuition fees paid after December 31, 2003. Pretty sweet deal! (More deets on the program are available at the Government of Manitoba website.)

Incidentally, I graduated way before 2007, so this was of no use to me. But I still think it’s an amazing incentive for recent grads to come and work here or forego a move to another province, as it can seriously reduce the amount of income tax you pay.

Those are just a couple things to keep in mind when planning a move to (I hope!) or from (I hope not!) Manitoba.

What do you think of our provincial taxes? Do you know of any other great tax credits or rebates?

9 Responses to “Snow, mosquitoes, and taxes”

  1. Courtney says:

    Just a note – as of January 1, 2009 you no longer have to pay health care premiums in Alberta. Who knows how long it will last though.

  2. Travis says:

    Congrats the thing that runs the blog “endless spin cycle” wrote about this entry.

    http://endlessspin.blogspot.com/2009/07/reasons-to-move.html

  3. Jennie says:

    Hey-I stumbled across your blog while I was googling “is there more moths in Manitoba than BC”. My fiance and I currently live in Vancouver but are contemplating moving to Winnipeg. My fiance has a HUGE phobia of moths…how bad were the moths this summer? And are cankerworms as disgusting as they sound and how bad are the mosquitos really? lol

  4. Emma says:

    Jennie, do it! Winnipeg is great 🙂

    Re: moths, I don’t think I noticed any this summer – certainly no more than anywhere else. Cankerworms are gross, but from what I understand they’re really just around for a little while and then they’re gone. And as for mosquitoes – well, yes, they’re bad, but they do fog to get rid of them in (most parts of) the city. Nothing some bugspray can’t handle. And on the bright side – no bugs in winter!

  5. Amir says:

    Hi
    We are planning to immigrate to Winnipeg through provincial nominee program.Winnipeg was my destination in my application because of lower cost of living and higher rate of unemployed people But the mosquitoes and snow have made me a bit worry because of my little son.Could you tell me a little about winter life in Winnipeg And can I count on welcoming faces in the city!?

  6. Emma says:

    Amir, I hope you do choose Winnipeg as your first home in Canada. It’s a great city, and you’ll adapt to winter in short order. Just remember to plug your car in and you’ll be fine! If you’re using the bus system, lots of the major stops have heated shelters, too. Winter is accepted as part of life, and we make the best of it… the city does not shut down because of a bit of snow! And yes, you can certainly count on welcoming faces in the city. There are many vibrant communities with the city and I’m sure you will find the ones that make you feel at home. Best of luck!

  7. Jessica says:

    It wasn’t until after I moved here that I realized how high the taxes were! I assumed BC would have been higher (I mean…everything else costs more there). I am NOT looking forward to April – I’ll be writing a cheque to our good ole government 🙁

  8. Kenny says:

    I’ve lived here for 25 years and I hate it mosquitoes eat you alive the winter is impossible to be outside for too long. The road construction everywhere in summer so you’re stuck in traffic. People can’t drive worth sh it, there’s lots of crime, cops are so crooked here also

  9. tim b says:

    I just moved from Winnipeg to BC near Vancouver. I thought I hated it back home in Winnipeg but I’m considering moving back. You think Winnipeg drivers are bad? BC has the worst drivers in western Canada by far. Speed limits are recommendations noone follows, tailgating is local custom and signal lights are used once your halfway in the next lane. Oh and dont expect a thank you wave if you let someone in. Half the local morning news everyday is about how traffic in the GVA is backed up and accidents are everywhere. The roads themselves are in good repair but traffics always busy, think portage and main at 3:30 pm but all day. Also there are people everywhere you go. Vancouver can’t be much larger than Winnipeg in physical size but there is about 3 times the population. Expect lines and waiting anywhere you go. And yes Winnipeg winters suck, but you can crank your heater, stay indoors with friends and family and just chill. They’re kind of cozy now that I think about it.

Leave a Reply

Want an image with your comment? Create an account at Gravatar!

PLEASE NOTE: Wo'MH reserves the right to delete off-topic, inflammatory or inappropriate comments. Because, you know, our moms read this blog.