There are a number of exemptions, rebates and credits that help to offset the impact of the HST. Some are part of the GST/HST structure itself, some were negotiated by B.C. as part of the harmonization process and are administered by the federal government, and some are provided separately by B.C.

Exemptions Under the HST

Certain exemptions are part of the GST/HST structure.

People do not pay any HST on basic groceries, prescription drugs, residential rent, most health and dental services and most educational services.

That is because no GST/HST applies to these goods and services – they are either exempt or have a 0 per cent tax rate.

Returning to PST

  • The Government is working to bring back the PST as qickly as we responsibly can.
  • An action plan has been established to ensure an effective and orderly transition back.
  • The Independent Panel report released in May 2011 estimated it would take 18-24 months to complete the process.
  • Senior Citizens

B.C. Negotiated Rebates

As part of the HST negotiations, the federal government agreed to administer certain rebates for B.C. Some of these are point-of-sale or “instant” rebates, which are like PST exemptions, and some you need to apply for.

Under the harmonization agreement, B.C. is able to provide a limited number of provincial point-of-sale rebates. Consumers only pay 5 per cent HST (the federal part) on point-of-sale rebate items. There is no provincial HST on:

  • Motor Fuels
  • Books
  • Child-Sized Clothing and Footwear
  • Children’s Car Seats and Car Booster Seats
  • Children’s Diapers
  • Feminine Hygiene Products

B.C. is also providing new housing rebates and rebates for eligible public service bodies like municipalities, schools, hospital authorities, universities, public colleges, registered charities and qualifying non-profit organizations.

Provincially Administered Credits

B.C. is providing a provincially administered credit for energy – e.g., electricity, natural gas, home heating fuel – purchased for residential use. The credit is equal to the 7 per cent provincial part of the HST on residential energy. For most residential customers, the credit is provided directly on their utility bills.

Other Measures

Quarterly Low Income Credit

To further reduce the impact of the HST on low-income individuals and families, the Government of B.C. introduced the B.C. HST Credit.

About 1.1 million British Columbians receive the B.C. HST credit every three months, including low-income seniors, students, individuals and families.

Reduced Personal Income Taxes

Effective January 1, 2010, the basic personal income tax exemption was increased for all British Columbians. This measure reduces provincial personal income taxes payable by up to about $80 for single taxpayers and by up to $160 for taxpayers claiming a spouse or equivalent to spouse.

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.

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