I'm so glad you could stop by. This is my personal blog of daily life and my journey through life. You will find a strong emphasis on family and friends as well as finding my ancestors through genealogy. Unlike my other blogs this blog is more of a catch-all so any topic is fair game.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Ontario Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) Update

It's now been over 2 months since the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) came into effect into Ontario.  Despite election promises of no new taxes, Dalton McGuinty effectively increased taxes on 17% of consumer goods in Ontario.  The HST has had a bit of an unexpected effect though in both BC and ON as well as the rest of Canada.  BC has announced it will scrap the HST if voters demand it.  No such announcement has been made by the ON government and it is doubtful if there will be given McGuinty's greedy tax grab policies.

We have been finding ways to avoid paying the HST as well as voicing our displeasure over the HST.  In essence we have decreased our support of ON businesses for most consumer goods but we continue to support local farmers, growers and producers.   This isn't about the actual monetary costs of the HST either.  It is a matter of principle that we don't agree with the HST and the less of our money going to support McGruinty's greedy tax grab the better!  Overall the HST has had little impact on us other than purposely avoiding paying it if we don't have to.  Here's a few ways we've of avoiding HST or minimizing the HST we must pay:

  • stopped buying any plastic shopping bags - We use mainly cloth shopping bags but occasionally end up having to buy a plastic bag at the grocery store.  The store charges 5¢ but did you know that HST on that is 1¢?  That's ridiculous! So we have made it a point not to buy any bags at all there.
  • reduced our internet service - We were paying $70 for horrible satellite internet service which is the only high speed service available to us in our rural location.  Now that HST is added to the service we reduced it to the lowest available package of $50 per month plus HST.  The next option is to go back to dial-up or cancel the internet service all together.
  • took our house off the market - We listed the house in March so planned to have it sold before the HST kicked in July 1.  The HST now applies to land transfer fees, real estate fees and lawyers fees so on the sale of a house that can really add up.  Once the HST kicked in it was obvious that those extra charges were hindering the sale of our house so it became one of the deciding factors in taking the house off the market.  If we ever put the house on the market again it will be privately which will at least save us the cost of HST on the real estate commission.
  • general shopping - Since the HST kicked in we have dramatically cut shopping in ON for any item that has HST on it.  If it is something we really need then we look for the item used. Kijiji and eBay are great places to shop for used items from the comforts of you home without using the gas of yard sales since gasoline now has HST tacked on.  If it can wait it goes onto our shopping list for buying in the US when we can bring them back duty/tax free under our personal exemption allowed based on the length of time out of the country.  
  • gasoline - We buy gasoline as much as possible in the US.  For day to day driving of the vehicles and when traveling any distance in ON then we still end up buying gas in ON so pay that HST but for the most part we can avoid a good chunk of the HST on gasoline.  We always fuel the boat in the US so that eliminates that HST.
  • haircuts etc. - The HST now applies to services like barbers, hairstylists, nail salons and those types of things.  I trim my own hair and gave up on nail salons in favour of the all natural nail so pay no HST on these services.  A friend cuts my husband's hair for free so again no HST.
  • hydro - There is now HST on our hydro bills based on the kWh used.  We are already well under the average household use of 1,000 kWh per month which makes us very good candidates for going solar.   We are moving in the direction of solar while using less electricity every chance we get.  I will guarantee you we won't fall into the ON solar plan where you sell back hydro for 84¢ per kW generated because McGuinty has already cut that price to infuriating farmers who bought into the scam.  We have a 5 year plan to be completely off the grid.
  • natural gas - There is now HST on the natural gas we use to heat our home.  In our little corner of ON home heating in the winter is a must, something McGuinty fails to realize.  Aside from using good energy conservation methods we are also moving towards solar for subsidizing our home heating and we may convert our fireplace from gas back to wood that we will buy using cash through the underground economy.
  • using the underground economy - The very fact that an underground economy exists means the above ground economy isn't working.  The HST has strengthened the underground economy.  Cash talks!  If we need something done around the house that we can't do ourselves it is as simple as putting the word out to find someone who will do the job for cash, cheaper and without HST.
  • vacations - Our vacation home is in the US as is our other favourite vaction destination.  If we fly, we fly out of a US airport since there is now HST on flights out of ON.  Most of our two or three day mini-getaways are in the US as well.  This avoids having to pay HST on motel rooms.

Garden Gnome

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