Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)


DEFINITION of 'Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)'

A Canadian tariff scheduled to be implemented on July 1, 2010, that combines the federal goods and services tax (GST) with the provincial sales tax (PST). According to the C.D. Howe Institute, a Canadian public policy organization, the HST is primarily an attempt to build a more efficient tax system, and not to increase sales tax revenues. Proponents believe that replacing the cumbersome provincial sales tax (PST) with a one-time, value-added tax will benefit consumers by simplifying the tax system and eliminating some of the current disincentives that many producers face.

BREAKING DOWN 'Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)'

The notion of a harmonized sales tax is nothing new. In 1991, the province of Saskatchewan, under the Progressive Conservative government of Premier Grant Devine, combined its existing PST with the GST, a move that proved to be tremendously unpopular. In the general election that year, the New Democratic Party under Roy Romanow swept to a landslide victory, due at least in part to a pledge to reverse the "harmonization."

Apparently, little has changed on the public perception front. A 2010 Ipsos Reid poll, conducted on behalf of Canwest News Service and Global National, revealed that 82% of British Columbians and 74% of Ontarians opposed the government's plans to harmonize the sales tax.

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