Moving couch

by Stephen Dupuis, President & CEO, BILD



The truth about lying about cheating

It seems that fifty six per cent is the magic number these days. Last week I wrote about the Ontario Real Estate Association survey finding that 56 per cent of the home buying public mistakenly believes that the HST applies to resale homes. This week, the Ontario Home Builders' Association (OHBA) released survey results revealing that, you guessed it, 56 per cent of Ontarians admit to having paid cash to avoid taxes for a renovation or repair job.

When you stop and think about, fifty-six per cent is a staggering number of homeowners looking to cut the government out of the action and the number is probably even higher as I would expect some of the respondents would prefer to lie about cheating. Without condoning the practice, it's hard to blame them, particularly in the aftermath of the HST when the price of renovations has gone up by 8 per cent with zero value added.

The OHBA is obviously concerned that the HST will fuel the underground economy, and is proposing a renovation tax rebate as a way of bringing these deals back above the table. On that note, the same survey revealed that more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of homeowners said they would be less likely to pay cash if they were to receive a provincial or federal tax credit from the government.

"If a rebate system was in place, it would encourage consumers to ask renovators for receipts, creating a paper trail for Canada Revenue Agency to monitor. A rebate program is a responsible, targeted policy that will shed light on the underground economy," said OHBA President Bob Finnigan.