The British Columbia New Democrats have posted an HST calculator and so has the Ottawa Citizen. I think that this is a good idea and allows individuals to calculate what the implementation of a harmonized sales tax (HST) will mean to their family. This very useful tool may be used by families in British Columbia and Ontario.
The areas covered by the HST calculators are:
- gas for automobiles
- natural gas/heating oil
- home renovations/repairs
- Internet services
- Children's sports activities
- air, train and inter-city bus fees
- professional fees (lawyers, accountants, real estate, etc.)
- membership fees (gym, golf, tennis, yoga, pilates, etc.)
- veterinary care
- green fees/lift tickets
- restaurant meals/takeout
- tax preparation services
- movie/theater tickets
- taxi fare
- home telephone and cable
- dry cleaning
It is important to note that newspapers will be subject to a point of sale rebate in Ontario and certain telephone and telecommunications services and restaurant meals were subject to Ontario retail sales tax (ORST). It is also important to note that lawyers services are subject to British Columbia social service tax (BCSST).
In order to expand the list of items, it is important to remember that provincial sales tax is payable on most goods (unless an exemption exists) and a limited number of services (has to be in the definition of "taxable service"). As a general rule, provincial sales tax is not payable on real property and intangible property.
In order to calculate what HST will mean to your family budget, you will need to focus on items that were not subject to provincial sales tax and, after July 1, 2010, will be subject to HST.
A good starting point is your invoices/bills for the January - April 2010 period. Take the invoices out of the files, drawers, purses, wallets and wherever else they may be. Look at the invoices to see what was subject to goods and services tax (GST), but not provincial sales tax. Make a list of these items and the amounts you paid.
Then cross off that list any items that will be subject to a point of sale exemption (books, newspapers, prepared food under $4.00, children's clothing, etc.)
Then add to the list expenditures that occur in the year that did not happen in January - April (e.g., a vacation, travel for Christmas or Thanksgiving holidays, summer theater tickets, propane for the barbeque, landscaping, renovations, etc.) If you need to look at a short list of items that were previously not subject to ORST and will be subject to HST, go to the recently released Ontario Government publication on what is taxable and what is not taxable.
After undertaking this exercise using the HST calculator, how mush over/under the Statistics Canada average of $792 per family per year? We are searching for a copy of the Statistics Canada report and are currently are relying on new reports of its existence.