Tax Discrimination Threatens Community, Ethnic and Campus Media: Not real "newspapers" according to Provincial Taxman



    QUEEN'S PARK, Dec. 12 /CNW/ - The survival of many ethnic, community and
campus newspapers is in jeopardy because government tax collectors say they
are not real newspapers, according to a coalition launched this morning at the
Ontario Legislature.
    "This policy is illogical, unfair and hurts some of Ontario's smallest
and most vulnerable communities," said Sima Sahar Zerehi, editor of Shahrvand
Publications, and a founder of SAVE OUR VOICE!
    At issue is provincial sales tax on newspapers. The Retail Sales Tax Act
says newspapers are exempt, but the government says newspapers are not real
newspapers if they publish less than weekly or if they are non-dailies held
together by staples.
    Coalition founder Dat Nguyen, publisher of Thoi Bao, The Vietnamese
Newspaper, says the Revenue Ministry is demanding he pay $1 million in sales
tax arrears because his newspaper is bound by two staples.
    "Our Thursday edition is a 208-page tabloid. How would you keep the pages
together?" asked Nguyen. "Who are the tax collectors to tell us that our
newspaper is not a real newspaper?"
    Les Weller, who runs Weller Publishing and is a SAVE OUR VOICE! founder,
said his company prints almost more ethnic newspapers than any other printer
in Toronto. He identified several newspapers that tax collectors claim are not
real newspapers because they publish bi-weekly or monthly.
    "If the law says newspapers are exempt from sales tax, then all
newspapers must be treated equally," Weller said. "This tax policy is
arbitrary, discriminatory and wrong."
    SAVE OUR VOICE! wants all ethnic, community and campus newspapers to be
recognized as newspapers: no matter how often they are printed, and whether or
not they are stapled.
    "We want the government to treat ethnic newspapers the same as English
newspapers... to treat rural newspapers the same as big city papers ... and to
treat campus papers the same as the mainstream press," Zerehi said.
    The coalition looks forward to working constructively and respectfully
with the provincial government to find a fair and equitable solution for all
community and ethnic newspapers. Because Ontario's diversity is Ontario's
strength!





For further information:

For further information: Jeff Graham, (416) 865-5442,
jgraham@fasken.com

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SAVE OUR VOICE COALITION

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