How Does HST Affect Students?
Despite all the “ban the HST” facebook group requests you got over the summer, Ontario’s Harmonized Sales Tax is here. You may still be a bit fuzzy on what exactly that means for you. What’s going to be taxed more and what won’t?
To help you sort out your budget for the coming school year, we’ve outlined where students will feel a slight pinch and where they won’t.
In Your Car
The pumps are the first place you’ll notice a difference. You probably already have. Prior to July 1st, gasoline/diesel was only subject to the 5% GST tax, with no PST. Now, however, you’re paying the HST’s full 13%.
The rest of your auto-expenses stay the same. Things like tires, oil-changes, parts, and labour were previously taxed at 13%, so no change there. The good news is auto insurance is not affected by the HST, so your rates aren’t going up.
Don’t panic, your tuition is not subject to the HST. And neither is the bus/ transit pass that gets you to campus.
You’ll also continue to pay 5% when you buy supplies like pens, stationary and textbooks, but audio books jumped up to 13%.
Electronic purchases like computers, TVs, cell phones and MP3 players will continue to be taxed at 13%.
Your rent thankfully won’t go up, but a lot of your utilities may. Your water, cable and cell phone bills will stay the same, but your electricity, heating and Internet bills will see the HST.
Your grocery bill should stay the same. Nearly everything in your local grocery store is taxed at the same rate it was prior to July 1st.
If you’re going out, be prepared to spend a bit more. Taxi service used to be exempt from the PST, but is now subject to the full HST.
Most restaurants have always charged both GST and PST, so you’re still paying 13% to eat out (restaurant meals under $4.00 are only charged at 5%. So enjoy, High-rollers). Any alcoholic beverages are also charge the full rate.
Movie tickets and tickets to professional sporting events have actually gone down in price, from 15% to 13%. Tickets for live theatre events with less than 3,200 seats jumped up to 13%.
On Your Health
If you want to quit smoking, know that cigarettes have jumped from 5 to 13%. But sadly, so have nicotine replacement products.
Your physiotherapist, chiropractor, and dental services are all exempt from the HST. You’ll also be paying the same price for eye glasses, as well as both over-the-counter and prescription meds.
However, massage therapy services, vitamins, and gym/ athletic membership fees have jumped from 5 to 13%.
For a more complete list, you can download the Ontario Government’s HST guide.