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September 28, 2021

HST fallout: Does anybody really care anymore?

We’re almost three months into Ontario’s new 13% harmonized sales tax and consumers are still confused about the rules.

Many are complaining about being nickel and dimed to death when it comes to applying the tax on certain items inappropriately or, in other cases, finding out that they’re not saving nearly as much as they thought when using coupons.

Others claim that the HST is taking a bite out of tourism and that real estate sales are also drying up as a result. Even though existing homes aren’t affected, many buyers rushed to buy them under the mistaken impression that HST applied, thus helping to push up prices.

And then there's the jump in the size of those monthly hydro bills and, of course, the price of gas.

How are you faring? Have you figured out what now costs more, which products haven't been affected and which ones are still exempt?

Some products are eligible for a point of-sale rebate for the provincial part of the HST. This means you'll only pay the 5% federal portion of the HST (equivalent to the current GST). These include print newspapers, books, diapers, children’s clothing and footwear, children’s car seats and booster seats, feminine hygiene products and diapers.

Many household expenses that weren’t subject to the PST are now included under the HST, however. These include: basic cable TV, local residential phone, landscaping, lawn care, private snow removal, home renovations, and service calls from electrician and plumbers.

Still puzzled or simply irritated? HST Ontario is a forum that offers taxpayers the opportunity to share their thoughts about this highly criticized tax.

Traffic and posts have slowed significantly, however – which begs the question: Why has a tax that caused such uproar in British Columbia received just a whimper in Ontario?

After almost 3 months is the HST still a hot topic? Are you talking about it with your friends? Do you care?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...