Contractors fear HST will drive business underground
In the B.C. renovation trade, the talk lately has been about the HST -- beginning July 1, contractors will have to charge 12 per cent tax, up from the current 5 per cent.
The industry is lobbying hard for an exemption from the tax, but some contractors are worried the new tax will drive customers underground.
"The customer, they don't want to pay that tax, and they might just go to underground workers," contractor Grant Sturko told CTV News.
The local newspaper classifieds and Craigslist are filled with people offering renovation services for cash payments.
Shell Busey's referral service Shell Busey House Smart Network worries that more and more customers will turn to those underground services when their tax savings jump from 5 to 12 per cent.
"That's one of the things that scares the dickens out of me," he told CTV News. "HST should not be implemented in the home industry."
Wayne Peppard of the B.C. Construction Trades Council said there are risks associated with turning to underground contractors -- when you hire a person and not a company, the worker becomes your responsibility.
"If the trades worker comes in and injures themselves or dies for some reason, you're the one that's liable," he said.
As for Sturko, he believes that homeowners should be worried about inferior work done by underground tradespeople.
"I believe the quality of workmanship won't be there," he said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Shannon Paterson