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How Much is HST in BC?

18 October 2011 No Comment

The HST is a combined rate of 12% in the province of B.C. The province harmonized the tax officially on July 1, 2010 combining the 5% G.S.T. with the 7% Provincial Sales Tax to form the HST. This rate is lower than Ontario’s 13%, Newfoundland/New Brunswick’s 13% and Nova Scotia’s rate of 15%. ┬áThe HST was implemented in hopes that the streamlined system would attract business investors, be a long-term solution for the formerly tedious PST/GST system and move the province into a more modern approach to taxation systems.

It is important to note that although the August referendum in BC voted the HST out, the system will remain in effect for approximately two more years as the provincial government makes plans to reintroduce the PST/GST system.

The BC HST rate is applied to most goods and services including new homes, property, haircuts, and entertainment purchases. Select automobiles, snack foods and restaurant meals, newspapers and magazines, moving services, air transport originating in BC and taxi services have the BC HST rate added to the cost.

With the HST being implemented however, there are exemptions. Some of these exemptions include: basic groceries, rent paid on residential units, prescription drugs, and select educational, health and dental services. Overall, the general rule of thumb to be applied is if the product or service does not have GST added to the cost, then, HST is not applied either. All of the BC HST Exemptions can be found here.

Rebates have also been implemented. Gasoline, feminine hygiene products, books, and most children’s items are subject to an ‘instant’ rebate at the point of sale or through an application process. When building a home, the provincial government also offers a rebate. Low-income residents of BC have also been receiving rebate cheques every quarter since the implementation of the HST to off-set any additional costs.

Even though the Referendum in BC has defeated the HST, it is important to refresh one’s knowledge of the items that may or may not be affected in the next few years as the PST gets re-implemented.

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