Harmonized Sales Tax
The HST is charged on most goods & services in the province of Ontario and currently sits at a rate of 13% of your purchase. It is made up of two sub-categories:
1. Ontario Provincial Sales Tax (PST) is charged on most goods and some services that you purchase. For a list of goods and services that charge PST, go to http://www.rev.gov.on.ca/english/taxtips/rst/01.html. The current rate of PST is 8%.
You may have an exemption to paying PST. Expatriates with diplomatic immunity are exempt, but need to show their diplomatic immunity card and sign a waiver at the time of purchase. For more information about this exemption, visit http://www.rev.gov.on.ca/english/guides/rst/803.html.
2. The Goods and Service Tax (GST) is a federal tax that was originally instated to help eliminate the Canadian deficit. This tax is in the process of being phased out, and has been reduced from its original rate of 7% to its current rate of 5%. GST is charged on most goods purchased and services rendered in Canada. More information about GST can be found at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/gst-tps/thr/frgnrps/menu-eng.html.
Like PST, there are some situations in which you may be able to get a rebate for GST payments. Details of the rebates available are at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/gst-tps/rbts/menu-eng.html.
If you own property, you are responsible for paying taxes on that property. Property taxes are paid at the municipal level, and are based upon the assessed value of your home. These taxes are used to cover a range of services in your municipality including police and fire services, public transit, social services, and much more. For detailed information of Toronto’s property tax system, visit http://www.toronto.ca/taxes/property_tax/index.htm.
You will need to pay other visible and hidden taxes while staying in Toronto. For example, if you lease or own a vehicle in the city, you will be charged a vehicle tax that is added to the renewal fees on your license plates. There are taxes on alcohol, on tobacco, and on fuel. Each of these taxes is applied toward services related to the goods or services that they tax. While Canadians are one of the highest taxed people in the world, they also have access to far better public services than most other parts of the world.