You had a $10 bill in the wallet and joyfully walked into a store and grabbed a $10 item. Little did you know that the total bill came out to be more than expected, $11.30! 13% more than the figure stated on the price tag. Huh? It’s called the HST (harmonized sales tax) in New Brunswick. Along with Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, 13% of HST replaces the GST (goods and services tax) and PST (provincial sales tax). For the rest of the provinces, the federal tax, GST of 5% is applied to majority of the goods for domestic use or consumption. Some items such as basic groceries, prescription drugs and exports are exempted from the GST.
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An overview of the PST rates across Canada:
- British Columbia: 7%
- Saskatchewan: 5%
- Manitoba: 7%
- Ontario: 8%
- Quebec: 7.5%
- Prince Edward Island: 10%
HST doesn’t apply in Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon. It should be noted that in all provinces, except Quebec and Prince Edward Island, PST is charged based on the price of item before GST is applied. In other words, GST is calculated on the basis of the sum of selling price of item and PST, in these two provinces. How much more complicated can this get? :P
Does this matter? OF COURSE!! You might not notice much of a difference as a regular consumer, purchasing groceries and basic electronics; but think of this, what if you’re getting a car or a house? It does make a VAST difference, doesn’t it?? A difference in 1% on a $100,000 purchase can save you $1,000, depending in which province you reside. For instance, you’ll be paying $105,000 in Alberta, instead of $113,000 in New Brunswick, on a $100,000 purchase. Hmm… are you getting the big picture now?
Additionally, the variable income tax rate across Canada is an useful piece of information too; especially if you’re considering to relocate to a different province :) In general, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon have the lowest tax rates. However, how many people would actually consider living in the freezing world (pardon my expression)? Back to the reality, tax rates in British Columbia and Ontario are considerably lower, and those of Nowfoundland and Labrador, as well as Prince Edward Island don’t look too bad either. Surprisingly, New Brunswick is one of the provinces that has high tax rate for the low income bracket (i.e. annual income below $36,000). Hmm…
Many friends who graduated from the same university as me, have either gone back their home countries for good, or moved to different provinces for better job opportunities. What do you think? Besides the location, living environment, and job prospective, would the tax rates (sales tax and income tax) be one of the many criteria that you’ll look into before making a final decision for relocation?
Is your brain bombarded with tons of information now? Other aspects you may want to consider, of course, is the minimum wage (which I previously commented about) or the average income of your job, as well as the cost of living in the specific province you’re considering. Why? The answer is simple and straightforward. If you don’t make enough to cover your expenses or unable to purchase a home after 5 to 10 years of work, then you should really pause and think: is the standard of life satisfactory? Am I really enjoying what I’m doing and will have a bright future?
I admired those who have made up their minds to relocate for better opportunities in life. To my friends who are residing outside of N.B., wishing you all the very best in your future endeavours!