Alberta has the most small business friendly tax regime of any province in the country, says a report released Wednesday by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The second edition of the report, entitled Ranking Provincial Tax Systems in Canada: 2013 Small Business Provincial Tax Index, reveals Alberta, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick compare most favourably overall on 53 indicators in five major areas of tax policy: premiums and payroll taxes, sales and excise taxes, corporate income taxes, personal incomes taxes, and property taxes.

“Relatively speaking, Alberta still has the best overall tax system for small business. It’s not perfect, by any means, but we’re still a step ahead of most provinces. The biggest reason for our lead is the fact we have no (Provincial Sales Tax),” said Richard Truscott, the CFIB’s Alberta director.

Alberta and Quebec have the best and worst tax systems in Canada respectively for small business, and were also at the top and bottom the last time CFIB ranked the provinces in 2009.

“Even as we celebrate Small Business Week, there are real threats to Alberta’s leadership position on taxes for entrepreneurs. The property tax system in too many Alberta cities is punitive, and momentum is gathering in some quarters for a new sales tax,” said Truscott.

When the CFIB asked business owners in 2011: “Should the Alberta Government introduce a PST?”, 94 per cent said no, four per cent responded yes, and two per cent were undecided.

“Perhaps the biggest threat to the Alberta Advantage on taxes is complacency. Other provinces are certainly not going to stand still. The Alberta government needs to stay squarely focused on maintaining and enhancing the tax regime for entrepreneurs. The long-term economic prosperity of our province depends on it,” said Truscott.

Earlier this week, another CFIB report showed that Alberta’s cities continue to dominate the annual rankings of Canada’s top entrepreneurial cities with the Greater Calgary area the top one in the country.

According to the 2013 Communities in Boom report, five of the top 10 business-friendly municipalities in the overall national rankings are from Alberta.

Greater Calgary (the combined municipalities of Airdrie, Rocky View, Cochrane, and Chestermere) ranks first overall, while the City of Calgary is in 48th spot. Greater Edmonton (the combined communities of Strathcona County, St. Albert, Parkland, Spruce Grove, Leduc, and several smaller municipalities) ranks ninth overall, while the City of Edmonton is 17th.

Lloydminster is the second most entrepreneurial city on the overall list, with Saskatoon rounding out the top three. The rest of the top 10 in order are 4. Red Deer; 5. Leamington, Ontario; 6. Grande Prairie; 7. Greater Toronto; 8. Riviere-du Loup, Quebec; 9. Greater Edmonton; and 10. Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec.

The ranking for Alberta’s other cities in 2013 were: Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray) 15th, Lethbridge 30th, and Medicine Hat 35th.

Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald