This article on harmonized sales taxes provides backup to the high level overview ... and consists of overviews of the government announcements in the year leading up to the implementation of HST for BC and Ontario on July 1, 2010.
I also tracked the initial bulletins released pertaining to PEI's transition to HST on April 1, 2013. BC transitioned back to PST on April 1, 2013 as well.
Newfoundland will be increasing their HST rate to 15% effective January 1, 2016. Deloitte has summarized the transitional rules here ... Newfoundland and Labrador HST rate increase and transitional rules – issues to consider.
Place of Supply Rules Flowchart
Invoice Presentation Rules,
Self Assessing Out of Province Purchases, PST Basics in BC
You can scroll down to find which topic on harmonized sales taxes you are looking for or click on one of the QUICK LINKS below to go right to the spot.
April 5, 2013
March 13, 2013
December 10, 2012
It is based on information presented in the 2012 P.E.I. budget.
This information may be useful if you are a bookkeeper in P.E.I.. You can find the notices by googling "CRA Notice278" or "CRA Notice279" (no space between Notice and 278). It is located on the CRA website under forms and publications.
Both notices are in a question and answer format. You may find some of the information released in July 2010 for BC and Ontario useful when implementing HST in Prince Edward Island.
December 10, 2012
July 24, 2009
The Campbell government announced yesterday that BC will be switching to harmonized sales taxes beginning July, 2010. It is being done so that BC can remain competitive. BC will have the lowest harmonized sales taxes in Canada at 12%. The change over will be revenue neutral to the province.
I'm not sure how I feel about this as it seems to have come out of the blue although I was expecting it to happen at some point. It will be less work for business owners and bookkeepers in the long term ... which is good ... not sure about how much work will be involved during the transition though.
I would love to hear from bookkeepers in other provinces on how the switch to HST went during the transition period ... more work?
What will the effect be to business owners and consumers?
It will be a direct cost of living increase for the end customer pertaining to SERVICES as they were PST exempt before ... but under HST they won't be. It will affect things like personal services such as hair care, dry cleaning, repair services, home renovations and painting, real estate fees, membership fees, movie and theatre tickets, funeral services, professional services such as accounting and home care, and airline fares within Canada.
Some GOODS will lose their tax exempt status, so their cost will go up. Some of the goods that will be affected are residential fuels, cable and residential phone, all food products, non-presecription medication, vitamins and dietary supplments, bicycles, school supplies (except books), magazines and newspapers, work related safety equipment, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, safety helmuts, life jackets, first aid kits, and energy conservation equipment.
Oh and of course, eating out will be higher as restaurant meals do not currently attract PST.
There will be some point of sale rebates that are different than GST. They will be gasoline and diesel fuel for motor vehicles, books, children’s-sized clothing and footwear, children’s car seats and car booster seats, diapers and feminine hygiene products. As I understand it, all other goods and services will be treated the same as GST.
The BC HST credit will offset some of the impact of the tax for people with low incomes.
It will benefit businesses as they can now claim the ITC on the PST portion which they couldn't before so they will pay less tax.
It is my understanding too that if businesses in Alberta were to sell goods to a BC resident, then they have to charge the 12% HST. However, if a BC resident were to drive to Alberta to pick them up, then they only have to pay the GST. I'm going to assume that services would be treated the same way.
October 1, 2009 addendum. The Taxtips.ca October newsletter said the BC September budget update announced the government is proposing to provide a provincially administered harmonized sales taxes exemption for residential energy use.
Go to CRA HST notices for BC and Ontario.
Update May 18, 2010 - I have done a bit of research on HST and have two chats on what I have learned - How Governments Raise Tax Revenues and Compare and Contrast GST/HST to PST/RST.
September 27, 2009
This information may be useful if you are a bookkeeper in Ontario. You can find the notice by googling "CRA Notice244" (no space between Notice and 244). It is located on the CRA website under forms and publications.
Revised October 22, 2009
CRA has revised Notice 244. The title was also changed to better reflect what is being covered. It is now called Harmonized Sales Tax for Ontario –Questions and Answers on Housing Rebates and Transitional Rules for Housing and Other Real Property Situated in Ontario.
It contains a new section of questions and answers on non-residential real property. You can locate the document on the CRA website under Businesses>GST/HST>Forms and publications>GST/HST Notices.
BC Ministry of Finance released HST Notice#2 on Point of Sale Rebates for BC HST. The notice does not deal with the residential energy rebate.
The notice does look at the 7% POS rebate on:
CRA will administer the POS rebates.
The retailer will not have to show the POS rebate on its invoice ... which means it does not need to be reported on the HST GST return. Purchases at BC retail stores and internet purchases are eligible for the POS rebate.
Imports of designated items will not be required to pay the 7% portion of the harmonized sales taxes.
The Bookkeeper's Tip (added February 17, 2010)
The rebates are the same as Ontario with these exceptions:
Yesterday, CRA released Notice 246 Harmonized Sales Tax for British Columbia - Questions and Answers on Transitional Rules for Non-Residential Real Property Situated in British Columbia.
It covers sales and leases of non-residential property, progress payments and holdbacks.
You can locate the document on the CRA website under Businesses>GST/HST>Forms and publications>GST/HST Notices.
BC's plan to implement harmonized sales taxes still has to be approved by the legislature, but plans are moving forward.
On October 14, 2009 a notice was released from the BC Ministry of Finance entitled HST Notice #1 General Transition Rules for British Columbia HST.
Revised April 6, 2010 HST Notice #1 General Transitional Rules has been updated to add the tax policies about the transitional period around July 1, 2010, when harmonized sales taxes comes into effect.
The transition will be handled in the same manner as Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. HST will apply to pre-payments beginning May 1, 2010 for services and products to be provided after June 30, 2010 with some exceptions.
The transitional rules would not apply to prepaid subscriptions and publications, round trip tickets for passenger transportation services that started before July 1, 2010, prepaid funeral services, and the PST inventory rebate for residential contracts.
The rules for transitioning new residential real property are still being worked out.
CRA released Notice 247 Harmonized Sales Tax for Ontario and British Columbia - Questions and Answers on General Transitional Rules for Personal Property and Services.
As discussed earlier, harmonized sales taxes generally must be charged on amounts that become due or are paid without having become due on or after May 1, 2010 for goods and services to be delivered on or after July 1, 2010.
Although it shouldn't apply to most small business owners, be aware that non-consumers will be required to self-assess amounts that come due or are prepaid between October 14, 2009 and May 2010 with the goods and services being delivered after July 1, 2010. More information will be provided on prescribed reporting forms in the coming months.
You can find a list of the rebates and exemptions where the proposed harmonized sales taxes will not apply on the Ontario government website.
The Bookkeeper's Tip (added February 17, 2010)
The rebates are the same as BC with these exceptions:
Yesterday, HST Notice #4 was released. It discusses Additional Information for Homebuyers and the Housing Industry under Ontario HST.
New Housing Rebate and New Rental Housing Rebate along with transitional rules were discussed in HST Notice#2.
Houses $400,000 or lower would be subject to 2% additional tax up to $400,000 and 8% over $400,000. The rebate is 75% of the provincial portion of harmonized sales taxes up to a maximum rebate of $24,000. As there will not be a phase out, housing over $400,000 is eligible for the maximum rebate.
In effect, I think it is saying that homes prices in Ontario currently have RST embedded in them. Harmonized sales taxes will not be more than the embedded RST on homes priced up to $400,000. The rebate would be 6% (75% of 8%).
Interpreting what the bulletins actually say is not my area of expertise, so please read the notices for yourself or find an expert in the housing market to explain the new rules.
Bookkeepers and small business owners should be aware that the CRA released new GST/HST reporting requirements this week along with the publication Notice 249 Questions and Answers on the New Reporting Requirements for GST/HST Registrants. The proposed changes go into effect July 1, 2010 ... the same date Ontario and BC are scheduled to switch to HST.
In the past, online filing of GST was restricted by certain criteria. The criteria has now been loosened so that more registrants qualify to file their GST/HST returns electronically through GST/HST NETFILE. Electronic filing for the following registrants is proposed:
Failure to comply could result in penalties. More information can be found at www.cra.gc.ca/gsthst-filing.
The Notice 249 Q&A publication addresses the following areas:
CRA has released GST/HST Info Sheets GI-053 through to GI-059 dealing with the Ontario and BC transitioning to harmonized sales taxes in July. The Info Sheets cover the following topics in numerical order:
On February 11, 2010, CRA released GST/HST Notice 250 Proposed Changes to the Definition of Financial Servies.
Financial services are exempt from HST GST. This notice proposes to specify services that are not considered financial services. They are:
I understand this to mean HST GST applies after December 19, 2009 ... once parliament has enacted the proposed amendments put forth by the Department of Finance.
The notice gives excellent laymen examples of what each service means.
The Ontario government website has an excellent page on what businesses need to do to get ready for harmonized sales taxes.
The Small Business Transition Credit of up to $1000 is mentioned.
This is a one time credit for Ontario (not BC) HST GST registrants. Businesses with annual taxable sales of under two million will receive:
You will claim it on your first HST filing (July to September 2010).
PST vendor compensation ends March 31, 2010 with your final RST return due July 23, 2010. See notices #3 and #4 for more information ... and Tip #8 on compensation for the period April to June 2010.
Update May 20, 2010 - The HST blog reported today that the Department of Finance confirmed earlier this week that the Small Business Transitional Support Payments will be considered taxable income.
Non-Personal Consumption of Goods and Services Non-consumers must self assess IF goods or services are delivered and ownership transferred on or after July 1, 2010 AND the amount is paid between October 14, 2009 and April 30, 2010.
Persons required to self assess will need to report the tax on either:
Who must self assess?
"Non consumers acquiring the goods and services for consumption, use or supply otherwise than exclusively in the course of their commercial activities (ie an exempt business)"... non consumers who use the simplified method of calculating their sales tax ... non consumers who are subject to the large business ITC restrictions.
Non consumers would be corporations, not for profits, registered charities, and individuals such as doctors and dentists who purchase for business use.
My understanding is ... the general rule is ... if you can't claim input tax credits, then you must self assess.
Bookkeepers take note ... self assessment date begins October 14, 2009 and ends on April 30, 2010.
So if you receive a bill in January 2010 for an annual membership, the invoice will be billed out, correctly, at the 5% GST rate. However, as a non-consumer, you will have to self assess the July to December portion for the provincial component of harmonized sales taxes.
If this invoice was prepared after April 30, harmonized sales taxes should be applied by the vendor on services provided after June 30. You will not have to self assess in this situation.
The self assessed portions do not get reported or remitted until after June 30. This means when you or your bookkeeper prepare your second quarter GST report, do not include self assessed amounts at this time.
Bookkeepers, take note that as of May 1, 2010, HST applies to all billings/invoices for services and products provided on or after July 1, 2010.
If a good is delivered and ownership transferred before July 1, 2010, HST does not apply ... even if the customer does not pay until after July 1, 2010.
Exception to the general rule - If 90% or more of the services have been provided before July 1, 2010, HST does not apply ... even if the invoice is issued after July 1, 2010.
If you invoice your customer on April 30 for a service for personal consumption for the entire season (lawn mowing service was the example given) ... and some of the service happens after June 30, the entire season is taxed at 5% GST.
However, if you were to prepare this invoice on or after May 1, then you would have to charge GST on the portion up to June 30 and HST for the period July 1 forward.
So bookkeepers and business owners, here is an opportunity to save your customers some money by pre-billing before May 1, 2010.
Appendix B for goods and Appendix C for leases of CRA publication "GI-070 Ontario and British Columbia: Transition to the Harmonized Sales Tax – Goods" has excellent flow charts to follow to help you decide whether HST applies or not.
Deloitte's website (www.deloitte.com) under Indirect Tax and Customs has a news article released on March 12 called "Proposed Harmonized Sales Tax Place of Supply Rules Released" which has two flow charts, one for intangible personal property and another for services which will also help you decide if HST is applicable or not.
Resource: IPBC webinar February 3, 2010 by Garth Steele, Welch LLP Chartered Accountants and CRA webcasts and updated March 2010 GST HST Info Sheet GI-070 Ontario and British Columbia: Transition to the Harmonized Sales Tax – Goods
Here are some things to be aware of as we move closer to the July 1 deadline:
Hotel Room Tax - After June 30, 2010, the HRT will be at 13% for both provinces. Currently Ontario is 10% = 5% HRT + 5% GST while BC is 13% = 8% HRT + 5% GST. BC will have an additional tax on top of HST ... Update July 5, 2010 See BC HST Notice#9 Hotel Room Tax Transitional Rules for Transitioning to BC HST for more information as well.
Insurance Premiums - There will be NO input tax credits (ITCs). BC (see update note) and Ontario are going to retain their tax on insurance ... that is currently in place.
Update May 2010 ... the BC government blog on harmonized sales taxes at hst.blog.gov.bc.ca states that insurance premiums in BC will be HST exempt.
Alcohol - After June 30, the new rate will be 8% for Ontario and 7% for BC. The rates currently are 10% (restaurant) and 12% (liquor board). To make up for the shortfall, adjustments will be made to existing alcohol fees and levies.
Private Transfer of Motor Vehicles - Ontario ... There will be NO input tax credits (ITCs) ... the 13% sales tax will be retained. BC ... has not decided yet what they will do.
Update May 2010 - BC will tax the private sales of vehicles, boats and aircraft as released on their website ... here is the link:
Update July 2010 - Bulletin CTR 001, Tax on Designated Property (Vehicles, Boats and Aircraft) is a new bulletin that explains how tax applies on vehicles, boats and aircraft purchased in British Columbia at a private sale or brought into British Columbia.
Resource: IPBC webinar February 3, 2010 by Garth Steele, Welch LLP Chartered Accountants.
On February 19th, the BC Ministry of Finance released HST Notice#4 Temporary Recapture of Input Tax Credits (RITC) Requirement for large businesses. This will not be an issue for most small businesses and I present it only for informational purposes for bookkeepers.
The Ontario Ministry of Revenue released HST Notice#5 Temporary Recapture of Input Tax Credits (RITC) Requirement for large businesses in February 1.
The RITC rules for both provinces appear to be similar.
It is applicable if your taxable sales (including zero rated) are greater than $10 million (large business) and certain financial institutions. It does NOT apply to public service bodies or people who make their chief source of income from farming.
The recapture applies to the provincial portion of harmonized sales taxes only ... and will be reported on a separate line of the HST return.
Unless purchased for resupply, the restrictions apply to (1) road vehicles weighing less than 3,000 kg (plus fuel in Ontario), (2) energy (not energy used directly for manufacturing), (3) telecommunication services (not internet, web hosting, or toll free service), ... and (4) meals, beverages and entertainment which are currently subjected to a 50% repayment rate in the Excise Tax Act.
The rate of recapture is 100% for the first five years, then phased out over the next three years to no restrictions by July 1, 2018.
The requirements were modeled after Quebec's Sales Tax Act which was introduced in 1992 as a temporary restriction ... and is still in place. It is my understanding that the temporary recapture is being put into effect because the provincial governments can't afford to refund their portion of the ITC just yet.
The BC HST Notice can be found at www.sbr.gov.bc.ca > Harmonized Sales Tax Proposed Transition Rules > Temporary Recapture of Input Tax Credits Requirements.
The Ontario HST Notice can be found at www.rev.gov.on.ca > Forms and Publications by Client > Accountants, Lawyers, Tax Professionals > HST Information Notice 5: Temporary Recapture of Input Tax Credits Requirements ... or a summary can be found under Harmonized Sales Tax Tips - Tax Tip 1.
Deloitte's has an excellent summary of Ontario's RITC at www.deloitte.com > tax > indirect tax and customs > featured content article "Ontario HST input tax credit recapture rules".
Again, this will not be an issue for most small businesses and I present it only to keep bookkeepers informed on HST transitional rules.
Large businesses subject to RITC must self assess HST as well.
Update May 17, 2010
Both BC and Ontario amended their notices regarding how the credit applies to telecommunication service and specified energy services. The simplified reconciliation process under the Estimation/Installment Approach was clarified.
Update June 23, 2010
CRA published GST/HST Technical Bulletin B-104 Temporary Recapture of ITCs in Ontario and BC. It can be found on the CRA website under Forms and Publications> Publications listed by publication number> B> B-104.
British Columbia's Ministry of Finance released HST Notice #6 yesterday. It deals with supplies of taxable property and services to BC government entities.
CRA also published GST HST Info Sheet GI-070 Ontario and British Columbia: Transition to the Harmonized Sales Tax – Goods. Appendix B and C are worth looking at as they have decision flowcharts to help you decided whether harmonized sales taxes applies or not ... I first talked about this back in February.
British Columbia's Ministry of Finance released HST Notice #7 yesterday.
It deals with the disclosure and invoicing requirements for BC's HST. As explained, it will follow the existing rules for GST/HST.
Links are provided to three CRA publications that discuss the rules:
Update March 30, 2010 - Bulletin HRT 007 deals with the 2% Hotel Room Tax that BC operators will still have to collect after HST begins on July 1, 2010.
The Ontario Ministry of Finance released two new HST tax tips. HST Tax Tip 3 deals with Compensation for RST Vendors while HST Tax Tip 4 covers Insurance Premiums.
Ontario proposes to continue RST on insurance premiums which are exempt under HST. While auto insurance premiums will remain exempt from RST, the following types of insurance premiums will not:
Insurance businesses will be automatically registered while businesses that provide self-insured employee benefits must contact the Ministry to register prior to June 30, 2010.
Compensation rates are given in both notices 3 and 4 with regards to April 1 to June 30, 2010 and July 1, 2010 forward.
Previous HST Tax Tips dealt with Invoicing Requirements and Restricted Input Tax Credits (RITC)