William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson
nova_one

tax talk: HST hike

I'm not necessarily against the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax - originally it was to be the "Blended Sales Tax" but this was redacted for obvious reasons) hike, as long as it's coupled with other austerity measures.

And, hopefully, a view to eventually putting it back to where it was (fat chance, I know) because you know the federal GST is going to go back up to 7% eventually. I imagine that'll be an item in the first Liberal or Coalition budget.

Then we'd be left with a 17% HST, up from where it started at 15% (and where it is now) and the low of 13% it was just at (due to the 2% federal GST cut).

I suppose that's still marginally better than the separate taxes we had before, which I think were (correct me if I'm wrong) 7% GST and 11.5% PST (Provincial Sales Tax). In fact, you even paid PST on GST - quite literally "tax on tax", so the effective rate was 18.8% once you included the 11.5% of the 7% (~0.8%). PEI still does this, with their 10% on the 5%, so their present rate is effectively 15.5%. It's fundamentally absurd.

It should also be noted that you may pay less overall sales tax in PEI even with the effective rate being 0.5% higher. Provincial sales taxes have historically been loaded with exemptions, and the reason the HST rate could be lower while everything stayed revenue neutral was that the exemptions would disappear. Many of them did. I'm not entirely cognisant of what's subject and what's not, though. Is there a website?

OK... http://www.gov.ns.ca/news/details.asp?id=20100629007

Fail! It's not a "tax restoration". It's a tax increase. It LOOKS like a restoration, because the federal portion had shrunk by two points since the tax was implemented. I sent the media contact an e-mail. You might do so, too. Government has a responsibility to forthrightly communicate with citizens, not merely spin or regurgitate spin.

Update: I got a reply from the Minister of Finance himself - Graham Steele! The gist of it according to him is that it's to remind people it's going back to 15%, what it was before, and since it's an integrated tax (not two separate taxes), it's not any different (to the taxpayer) from what it was before.

He acknowledged the revenue was being distributed differently "behind-the-scenes", but I don't think he directly addressed my point that if the feds "restore" the GST to 7% (and I think that's a good bet!), the HST will end up being higher than it's ever been.</end update>

OK, here's the info. Apparently the federal Canada Revenue Agency administers the HST, so that's where to go for the info:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/hrmnztn/fq-eng.html#q5

This doesn't explain why you pay provincial tax and not federal when you privately buy and register a used car, yet you pay both taxes at a dealership, but it's a start.
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