Jane McLean is a writer and self-proclaimed “hoser.”
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For visitors to Canada, getting the check at the end of a meal or signing off on your hotel bill can be a quite a shock, especially for Americans.
Nationwide, there is a goods and services tax (GST) of 5%, so no matter where you are in Canada, expect 5% to be added to just about everything you buy (except groceries - so you pay the tax on restaurant food, but not at a grocery store - municipal transit and a few other things).
Of the 10 provinces and three territories in Canada, four have no other tax besides the GST: Alberta, Nunavut, Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories.
Four provinces have a harmonized sales tax (HST). which means its GST has been merged with
a provincial sales tax. The HST is added on to the same goods and services that the GST is and appears as one tax on your restaurant, hotel and store bills: New Brunswick (5% + 8% = 13% ), Newfoundland and Labrador (5% + 8% = 13% ), Nova Scotia (5% + 10% = 15% ), Ontario (5% + 8% = 13% ) and PEI (5% + 9% = 14% )
The remaining provinces all have a separate provincial sales tax (PST) that shows up independent from the GST on all your bills and applies to different items depending on the province: British Columbia (7%), Saskatchewan(5%), Manitoba (8%), Quebec (9.975%).
Canada does not have a value added tax rebate (VAT) for goods purchased in Canada. It was eliminated in 2007.
At a glance, here are the top 10 cities in Canada to visit and the tax you will pay in those cities: