Despite vigorous opposition by TREB (Toronto Real Estate Board), OREA (Ontario Real Estate Association) and other groups, the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada have both passed legislation that will implement the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).
On 11 December 2009, I, along with others from my office, prepared a petition and presented it to Brad Duguid - Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Deputy House Leader. Mr. Duguid seemed to disagree with the detrimental effects of HST. It remains to be seen what negative effects, if any, this tax has on the service industry.
The HST effectively combines the eight per cent Provincial Sales Tax (PST) with the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) for a combined 13 per cent sales tax rate. The HST will come into force on July 1, 2010 and apply the PST to a number of goods and services that are currently exempt.
For housing, the HST will add eight per cent more tax on services related to real estate transactions including legal fees, real estate commissions, home inspections and moving costs. OREA estimates that the HST will add about $1,500 in new taxes to the costs of an average residential real estate transaction.
The Government of Ontario held only one day of public hearings on Bill 218. Speaking on behalf of Ontario REALTORS® and homeowners, OREA was among the select number of groups to present to the committee.