GST/HST overview

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What is the GST/HST?

Different between GST and HST
Tax Province Meaning
Goods and services tax (GST)
  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nunavut
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

The GST is a tax that applies to most supplies of goods and services in Canada. The GST applies to the following: 

  • many supplies of real property (for example, land, buildings, and interests in such property
  • intangible personal property (for example, trademarks, rights to use a patent, and digitized products downloaded from the Internet and paid for individually).

In these provinces, there may also be a provincial sales tax (PST) or a retail sales tax (RST) in place. For the rates of each province, see GST/HST rates.

Harmonized sales tax (HST)
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island

Generally, the HST applies to the same base of property (for example, goods) and services as the GST.

In these provinces, HST is imposed in provinces that have harmonized their provincial sales tax with the GST. These provinces are referred to as “participating provinces”. For the rates of each province, see GST/HST rates.

In Quebec, Revenu Québec administers the GST/HST, except for certain types of listed financial institutions. If your business is located in Quebec, visit the Revenu Québec website.

Who pays the GST/HST?

Almost everyone has to pay the GST/HST on purchases of taxable supplies of property and services (other than zero-rated supplies). However, certain persons may not always pay the GST/HST on taxable supplies. These exceptions include Indians and some groups and organizations. For example, certain provincial and territorial governments do not always pay the GST/HST on their purchases. For more information, see:

Who charges the GST/HST?

Generally, GST/HST registrants, have to charge and collect the GST/HST on all taxable supplies (other than zero-rated supplies) of property and services they provide to their customers.

For more information, see Charging and collecting the GST/HST.

What supplies does the GST/HST apply to?

Differences in the tax status
Tax status Meaning If you are a GST/HST registrant, then
Taxable supplies (other than zero-rated)

Most property and services supplies in or imported into Canada are subject to GST/HST. GST/HST applies to these supplies at the rate of the province. For the rates of each province, see GST/HST rates.

Examples of taxable supplies (other than zero-rated)
  • sales of new housing (certain sales of new housing may be subject to a previous rate of GST/HST)
  • sales and rentals of commercial real property
  • sales and leases of automobiles
  • car repairs
  • soft drinks, candies, and potato chips
  • clothing and footwear
  • advertising (unless provided to a non-resident of Canada who is not registered for the GST/HST)
  • taxi and limousine transportation
  • legal and accounting services
  • franchises
  • hotel accommodation
  • barber and hairstylist services


  • You charge and collect the GST/HST on the supplies that are made in Canada.
  • You may be eligible to claim ITCs to recover the GST/HST paid or payable on purchases made to provide them.
Zero-rated supplies of goods and services

Some supplies are zero-rated under the GST/HST. The GST/HST applies to these supplies at the rate of 0%.

Examples of supplies taxable at 0% (zero-rated)
  • basic groceries such as milk, bread, and vegetables
  • agricultural products such as grain, raw wool, and dried tobacco leaves
  • most farm livestock
  • most fishery products such as fish for human consumption
  • prescription drugs and drug-dispensing services
  • certain medical devices such as hearing aids and artificial teeth
  • feminine hygiene products (as of July 1, 2015)
  • exports (most goods and services for which you charge and collect the GST/HST in Canada, are zero-rated when exported)
  • many transportation services where the origin or destination is outside Canada

For more information, see Zero-rated (0%) supplies - List of GST/HST zero-rated supplies.

  • GST/HST of 0% is charged. You do not collect the GST/HST on these supplies.
  • You may be eligible to claim ITCs to recover the GST/HST paid or payable on property and services acquired to provide these supplies.
Exempt supplies of goods and services

Some supplies are exempt from the GST/HST. GST/HST does not apply to these supplies.

Examples of exempt supplies
  • a sale of housing that was last used by an individual as a place of residence
  • long-term rentals of residential accommodation (of one month or more) and residential condominium fees
  • most health, medical, and dental services performed by licensed physicians or dentists for medical reasons
  • child care services, where the primary purpose is to provide care and supervision to children 14 years of age or under for periods of less than 24 hours per day
  • most domestic ferry services
  • legal aid services
  • many educational services such as:
    • courses supplied by a vocational school leading to a certificate or a diploma that certifies the ability of individuals to practice or perform a trade or a vocation
    • tutoring services made to an individual in a course that follows a curriculum designated by a school authority
  • music lessons
  • most services provided by financial institutions such as lending money or operating deposit accounts
  • the issuance of insurance policies by an insurer and the arranging for the issuance of insurance policies by insurance agents
  • most property and services provided by charities and public institutions
  • certain property and services provided by governments, non-profit organizations, municipalities, and other public service bodies including municipal transit services and standard residential services such as water distribution

For more information, see Exempt supplies - List of GST/HST exempt supplies.

  • You do not charge or collect the GST/HST.
  • You generally cannot claim ITCs to recover the GST/HST paid or payable on property and services acquired to provide these supplies.

If you are a public service body that provides exempt supplies, you may be eligible to claim a public service bodies’ rebate for the GST/HST paid or payable on expenses related to making exempt supplies whether or not they are registered for the GST/HST. For more information, see Guide RC4034, GST/HST Public Service Bodies’ Rebate.


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