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News - All - 28 Oct 2010

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28 Oct 2010
Tax on Poppies to be refunded

OTTAWA Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is cutting the Royal Canadian Legion a tax break as it prepares to start distributing millions of annual Remembrance Day poppies.


The veterans' group will get a full GST refund on purchases of poppies and wreaths, Flaherty said Thursday.

The move follows Ontario's announcement that it would forgo the province's share of the harmonized sales tax on the iconic symbols of remembrance.

The legion buys about 16 million poppy pins each year from a single Ontario manufacturer and distributes them across the country.

The legion will get a complete refund of the sales taxes normally due on poppy purchases.

The organization says proceeds from the poppy campaign are used to help veterans and their families.

There is no sales tax charged when the legions distribute the poppies in return for donations.

Flaherty says the tax break will help legions across the country.

"Poppies and wreaths hold a special status to all Canadians as symbols of the contribution, courage and sacrifice of those who served in the Canadian armed forces," he said.

Patricia Varga, the legion's dominion president, welcomed the announcement.

"Our poppy campaign is the foundation of our remembrance program and a main source of funding for the benevolent activities of our organization for our veterans," she said.

"We are pleased that the government is taking this step to restore tax relief for our organization so that we can continue to provide Canadians with important symbols of remembrance to honour those men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedom."

Ontario and British Columbia implemented the HST on July 1, increasing the cost of many items that were previously exempt from the provincial tax.

The HST sparked a massive backlash in B.C., which will hold a referendum next September on the tax.



CTV NEWS/jm
 

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