News Release Archive


The new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) means some items will be taxed
more, some will be taxed less and some will remain unchanged.

In fact the biggest items in a consumer's shopping basket remain
unchanged. People currently pay no sales tax on basic groceries,
mortgage interest and residential rent. That will not change. The
tax is not charged for medically-based home care, dental
services, day care and babysitting. Publicly operated transit
services and tuition for post-secondary education is also sales
tax free now. Businesses selling less than $30,000 a year do not
charge the Goods and Services Tax (GST). In fact, nothing that is
tax-free under the GST, will be taxed under the HST.

Some items and services will cost less under the HST. That's
because right now they are taxed by both the GST and the
Provincial Sales Tax (PST) at a combined rate of 18.77 per cent.
The new HST rate is 15 per cent. The tax reductions apply to some
services such as automobile and equipment repairs, cable and
telephone, including long distance. But, the most significant
reductions come when people buy goods.

Everyday household items including supplies such as light bulbs,
kitchen utensils, soaps and detergents, garbage bags, toilet
paper and paper towels, and batteries; personal items such as
shampoo, razor blades, and cosmetics; non-prescription drugs for
common aliments such as colds, allergies and upset stomach aches;
household maintenance items such as gardening and hardware tools
and supplies, paint, wallpaper, lumber, and other building
materials, will all be taxed less.

The tax on entertainment will also go down. The Amusement Tax
will also be harmonized with the GST and the PST. Movies, video
rentals, commercial sporting and music events will be taxed less.
The HST means a lower tax on beer, wine and liquor at the Liquor
Commission or in a restaurant, lounge and tavern. Lunch or dinner
will be taxed less if you eat out or have it delivered to your

And, finally, expensive, long lasting items such as new cars,
televisions, VCRS, and other appliances, furniture, lamps and
rugs, bedding and towels, curtains and blinds, bicycles and other
sporting goods and equipment, toys and games will also be taxed
at a lower rate.

As a result of government decisions the tax on books will remain
at 7 per cent, there will be rebates to make sure the tax raised
on new home construction remains the same, and tobacco taxes are
being adjusted to make sure harmonization has no impact on the
price of cigarettes.

Harmonization does mean an increase in taxes for some important
goods and services. Home heating fuel will see a tax increase as
will gasoline. The tax on electricity goes from 10.2 per cent to
15 per cent on April 1. Clothing of all kinds will have one tax
rate at 15 per cent. That means a tax rate increase for clothing
under $93.46, a tax rate decrease for items over that amount.
Personal services such as haircuts as well as business services
such as legal and accounting services will also be taxed more.
Private, for-profit homemaker and maid services when done by a
registered business, as well as dues for golf, yacht, and other
clubs will also have a tax increase.

Planes, trains and buses within Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and
Newfoundland will be taxed more as will travel to the rest of
Canada. International travel is unaffected. Travel to our region
will be taxed the same. The rule will be if the trip begins in
our region it will be taxed at 15 per cent, if it begins outside
the region it will be taxed at 7 per cent.


Contact: Bruce Cameron  902-424-8787

trp                     Mar. 26, 1997 - 8:55 a.m.