On July 23, 2009, Premier Gordon Campbell and Finance Minister Colin Hansen announced that, effective July 1, 2010, BC will adopt a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), combining the seven per cent Provincial Sales Tax (PST) with the five per cent federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) for a single sales tax rate of 12 per cent.
Looking to offset the increase in costs, the Government of BC plans to offer a partial rebate of the provincial portion of the HST for new housing to ensure that new homes up to $400,000 will bear no more tax than under the current PST system, while homes above $400,000 will receive a flat rebate of about $20,000.
As proposed, the HST will increase the cost of buying or selling a home and becomes essentially an additional tax on home ownership. Under the HST, REALTOR® commissions will be subject to a 12 per cent tax, replacing the five per cent GST now charged.
Although no consultation occurred before the announcement, BCREA is working on recommendations to keep the impact of the HST as neutral as possible with respect to housing attainability. BCREA President John Tillie is preparing an opinion editorial for publication in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesday, July 29.