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Nova Scotia Budget Report 2021

Last updated: Oct. 8, 2021 

On March 25, 2021, Nova Scotia Finance Minister Labi Kousoulis presented the province’s fiscal 2021-22 budget.

No surprises here – Nova Scotia is spending more on health care like other provinces. On the business side, they announced property tax relief for small business owners and the extension of the Equity Tax Credit. There are no changes to the personal tax rates, Nova Scotia corporate tax rate or the HST.

We outline the measures in the budget that may impact your small business below.

Equity Tax Credit Extension

The budget extends the Equity Tax Credit for investments in Community Economic Development Investment Funds (CEDIFs) until February 28, 2032.

The Equity Tax Credit provides a 35% tax credit for individuals who invest up to $50,000 in a taxation year and hold their shares for a five-year period. The credit was previously scheduled to expire on February 28, 2022.

New Small Business Real Property Tax Rebate Program

The Small Business Real Property Tax Rebate Program will give eligible businesses a one-time rebate of $1,000 or 50% of their property taxes paid for the last 6 months of the 2020-21 tax year.

The program is for gyms and fitness establishments, dine-in restaurants and drinking establishments, and businesses like salons, spas, barber shops and body art establishments.

To qualify, your business must:

  • Be registered to do business in Nova Scotia
  • Not be a corporate store of a franchise network with establishments located outside Atlantic Canada
  • Have either:
    • Received benefits under the Nova Scotia Small Business Impact Grant (Part 1 or 2) or the Small Business Reopening and Support Program
    • Experienced a year-over-year decline in revenues of at least 30% in any of the three months of April, May or June 2020
    • Started business operations in Nova Scotia on or after Jan. 1, 2020
  • Conduct eligible business activities primarily from business premises in Nova Scotia that are assessed at a commercial tax rate
  • Have not received rebates through the Tourism Accommodations Real Property Tax Rebate Program

The province says applications will open soon.

Second Round of the Tourism Accommodations Real Property Tax Rebate Program

The province will offer a second round of the Tourism Accommodations Real Property Tax Rebate Program. This program provides Nova Scotia’s hotel, motel and inn operators with a 50% payment on the first six months of their 2021-22 commercial property tax. Tourism accommodation operators can use the rebate for any aspect of their business, including hiring staff, paying down debt, paying utilities or ordering supplies.

To qualify for the rebate, your business must:

  • Meet the definition of a roofed accommodation as set out in the Tourist Accommodation Registration Act
  • Be registered as a host under the act
  • Have more than five rooms
  • Not be in arrears of property taxes or property tax installment payments
  • And have experienced a year-over-year revenue loss of at least 30% from April 1 to Oct. 31, 2020

Applications for this program will open in Spring 2021.

If you’ve previously received support through the first round of this program, you will automatically qualify for the new support. You’ll be contacted directly by the program administrators.


Personal income tax rates in Nova Scotia

As mentioned above, the budget does not include any changes to personal income tax rates.  Nova Scotia’s personal income tax rates are set out below.

2020/2021 Nova Scotia Personal Tax Rates
Bracket 2020 Rates   2021 Rates
$0 – $29,590 8.79% 8.79%
$25,591 to $59,180 14.95% 14.95%
$51,181 to $93,000 16.67% 16.67%
$93,001 to $150,000 17.50% 17.50%
Above $150,000 21.00% 21.00%

For taxable income in excess of $150,000, the 2021 combined federal-Nova Scotia personal income tax rates are as follows:

  Personal Combined Federal/Provincial Marginal Rates
 2021 $150,000 to $151,978 $151,978 to $216,511 Above $216,511
Interest and regular income 47.00% 50.32% 54.00%
Capital gains 23.50% 25.16% 27.00%
Eligible dividends 31.92% 36.50% 41.58%
Non-eligible dividends 40.23% 44.05% 48.28%

Nova Scotia Personal Tax Credits

Personal tax credits for 2020 will be indexed by 1.0%. The maximum tax credit amounts and actual Nova Scotia tax credits for 2020 and 2021 are set out below.

Nova Scotia Non-Refundable Tax Credits

2020 2021

Maximum Amount

Nova Scotia




Maximum Amount

Nova Scotia



Basic Personal Amount $8,481 $745 $8,481 $745
Spousal Amount 8,481 745 8,481 745
Eligible dependent amount 8,481 745 8,481 745
Age amount 4,141 364 4,141 364
Infirm dependent amount 2,798 246 2,798 246
CPP Contributions 2,898 255 3,166 278
EI Contributions 856 75 890 78
Pension income amount 1,173 103 1,173 103
Disability amount 7,341 645 7,341 645
Disability supplement 3,449 303 3,449 303
Tuition and education amounts Variable Variable Variable Variable
Adoption expenses 0 0 0 0
Medical expenses Variable Variable Variable Variable
Medical expenses (other dependents) N/A N/A N/A N/A
Caregiver amount 4,898 431 4,898 431
Interest on student loans Variable Variable Variable Variable
Donations & Gifts

-first $200

– over $200



75% of income






75% of income




In general, credits are multiplied by 8.79% to arrive at the deduction from Nova Scotia Tax.  In the case of donations and gifts over $200, the credit is 21%

Corporate tax measures

Nova Scotia corporate tax rate

No corporate tax rate changes were proposed in the budget. As a result, Nova Scotia’s small business tax rate remains as follows:

Corporate Income Tax Rates — As of January 1, 2021

  Nova Scotia Combined Federal and Nova Scotia
General 14% 29%
Small business* 2.5% 11.5%
on first $500,000 of active business income

Contact FBC

Have questions about this or other COVID-19 programs for Canadian businesses? Unlimited consultation related to tax matters is a key benefit of FBC Membership. We’re offering a free consult where we get to know your business and determine next steps on saving you time and money. Book your appointment online.

You can also visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre for the latest information on Canadian small business grants and other resources that will support you and your business throughout this crisis.