Chartered accountants explain how HST can affect business people

The HST is now a reality.

“Under the HST, some items are subject to additional tax, while others are exempt or not charged the full 13 per cent,” said chartered account­ant Doug Robinson, of Orange­ville. “For many purchases there has been no impact at all. Transition payments, tax cred­its, and other measures have also been introduced to ease the transition to the HST.”

Robinson has information on how the HST might affect busines­ses:

Understand what is subject to additional tax: Services such as tele­com­munications, real estate fees, and legal and accounting fees are subject to more tax. The HST applies to new home purchases, although peo­ple may be eligible for a rebate of up to $24,000 for a portion of the HST paid.

Know what is exempt: Groceries, prescription drugs, some medi­cal de­vices, municipal public transit, health and education services, legal aid, most finan­cial services, child care, tutor­ing, music lessons and resi­dential rents.

Be aware of point-of-sale rebates: Children’s clothing and footwear un­der $30, kids’ car seats and booster seats, diapers, feminine hy­giene prod­ucts, books, News­papers and prepared food pro­ducts sold for $4 or less will be charged only a five per cent federal portion of HST, not the 13 per cent. The rebate for the provincial portion will be provided at the point of sale.

Use transition measures: The pro­vince is provid­ing three HST transition pay­ments. The payments are $1,000 for families with annual in­come under $160,000 or $300 for those over age 18 with annual income under $80,000.

To get them, people must file tax returns in 2009 and 2010. Low-in­come earners are eligible for a sales tax credit up to $260, by filing a tax return. Ontario tax on the first $36,848 of in­come was reduced from 6.05 per cent to 5.05 per cent, effec­tive Jan. 1. There are two things to do – control spending and file their tax returns.

from the Institute of Chart­ered Accountants of Ontario