From Unshucked Oysters to Bitcoin: 10 Oddities That Are Taxed in Canada

From blank CDs to smoked fish, the CRA has levied taxes on these 10 weird things.

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Your taxes are already complicated enough. But throw in a few unshucked oysters and a Scientology donation, and you could be even more confused.

Yes, like other countries, Canada has some very strange tax laws. As we’re winding down 2021, here are 10 weird things you might be taxed on next year.

1. Buying goods with Bitcoin

Capital gains taxes apply when your investment in Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrency) goes up. But did you know you also pay capital gains taxes when you use your Bitcoin to buy goods? Yep, unlike fiat currency, cryptocurrency creates a tax event every time you use it to buy a good or service. Yes — even for something as small as a cup of coffee.

2. Gas-guzzlers

Big cars and fuel-insufficient vehicles face their own special tax. If your vehicle has a fuel economy that’s less than 18 miles to the gallon, you could pay higher taxes than other “green” motorists. The only exception is pickup trucks, which aren’t taxed for their fuel insufficiency.

3. Klondike gold

With inflation rates skyrocketing, many investors are running to the safety net of gold. If you happen to find gold out in the Yukon, however, you’ll have to pay a tax to the Yukon government. Don’t worry; the government still taxes gold at a rate and value set in 1906. The value of gold then was a mere $15 per ounce, and you’ll give 2.5% of that to the government (around $0.35). Even if gold is now worth far more than $15 per ounce, you’ll still pay the $0.35. Exactly — odd.

4. Scientology

Unlike other “churches,” the Church of Scientology does not have a tax-exempt status in Canada. That means whatever you buy from these churches (and there are only seven now) will be taxed as if you were shopping at a private business.

5. Blank CDs

Ever wonder why a spindle of blank CDs costs so much in Canada? No? Well, if you ever do buy blank CDs again, just know there’s a levy on them that makes them far more expensive than they probably should be.

6. Unshucked oysters

This is a fun one: a 3% surcharge is placed on unshucked oysters as well as other forms of fresh seafood. And if you like your lobster and shrimp ground into flour or meal, you’ll pay a 4% surcharge.

7. Smoked fish

Another fun one: smoked fish is taxed in Canada. But if the fish isn’t smoked? No tax.

8. Air conditioners in your car

Unless you drive a hearse, ambulance, or mobile home, you pay a $100 tax on your car’s air conditioning. This is usually just bundled up with the price of your car, so you probably weren’t even aware of it. But still — it’s a strange tax for almost no apparent reason.

9. Fowl destined for dinner

If you want to breed your turkeys, geese, ducks, or other fowls, you’ll pay no tax when you buy them. If you’re planning to make a duck stew, however, you’ll a pay a tax.

10. Illegal drugs

Finally, if you sell illegal drugs, you still owe the CRA taxes. In fact, before marijuana was legalized, numerous people actually paid the CRA taxes in the illicit sale of marijuana and marijuana seeds. If you’re selling something you’re not supposed to, do the country a favour and pay your share of taxes on it.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

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