Almost every receipt you get has HST marked on it. That is because the HST replaces the old GST and PST. However, that does not mean that you are paying a new, additional 12 per cent tax on the things you buy.

Whether the tax rate on something has gone up, down or stayed the same, the constant presence of the HST is a reminder that we have a new consumer tax system.

Some goods and services had both 5 per cent GST and 7 per cent PST before harmonization and some had only GST. But it is important to know that if there was no GST before, there is no HST now.

What we can tell you is that the majority of goods and services have the same amount of tax as they had before the HST.

For about 80 per cent of consumer spending in B.C., there has been no increase in tax as a result of harmonization.

Some common purchases that have the same total rate of tax under the HST are:

  • Buying a home that someone has lived in before
  • Prescription drugs
  • Child-care services
  • Car repairs
  • Gas and diesel for your vehicle
  • Furniture and appliances
  • Household goods and equipment
  • Books
  • Electronics & Travel
  • Child-sized clothing and footwear
  • Children’s car seatsand booster seats

This table is a list with common examples of things that have the same tax under the HST.

Basic Groceries

It can be confusing to hear that “basic” groceries are exempt and see an HST amount on your receipt at the supermarket. While the GST/HST treatment of food items can be complex, it is useful to know that under the HST in B.C., the federal GST/HST rules now apply. So if a food product had GST before, it has HST now. If it did not have GST, it doesn’t have HST.

Groceries annd the HST

Basic Groceries are not taxed. Generally basic groceries include things like fruit, vegetables, eggs and meat that you use to prepare meals at home

However, you are charged HST when buying snacks, candy, prepared foods and some other items.



Which Housing Purchases Have The Same Tax Rate After HST?

Buying / Renting a House

If you are buying a previously occupied residence (e.g., most resale or “used” homes) you do not pay HST on the purchase.

The HST applies only to the purchase of newly constructed (or substantially renovated) residential housing.

B.C. is providing a rebate for new housing purchased as a primary residence to ensure that, on average, purchasers of new homes up to $525,000 do not pay any additional tax due to harmonization. That is, they pay no more in provincial HST than was embedded as PST in the price of a new home.


Residential Energy Credit

The new Residential Energy Credit means you don’t pay the provincial part of the HST on energy to heat or power your home.

The provincial part of the HST is 7 percent, in 2012 it will be 6 percent and in 2014, 5 percent. For most residential customers, the credit is provided directly on their utility bills.

  • Cars
  • Clothing
  • Electronics
  • Food
  • Health & Beauty
  • Hotel & Travel
  • House & Home
  • Real Estate
  • Service

Learn more About HTC to PST

The PST will be reinstated effective April 1, 2013.

Will the PST be re-implemented at 7%?

British Columbia’s provincial sales tax (PST) will be re-implemented effective April 1, 2013 at a general tax rate of seven per cent

Will all permanent PST exemptions return?

The PST will apply to the same goods and services that were subject to PST prior to the implementation of the HST. All permanent PST exemptions will be re-implemented with the new PST.