BC HST Hits 20% !

Well, that didn’t take long!  Remember all those promises BC retailers wouldn’t use the HST to rip off consumers? And the Premier, the Finance Minister and the business community wouldn’t lie to us, would they?

 Been to Zellers lately?

I was there today … and the cashier asked,  BEFORE ringing up the total for my single item, ,  if I would like a bag.

“No, don’t need one,”  I replied in my best save-the-environment green society tone.

Then out of curiousity … and  perhaps because of the 38 years of journalistic experience  …  I asked  “Are they charging for them now?”

Yes, the cashier replied:  Five cents for the bag and one cent HST.

Wait a minute.  On a nickel purchase, a penny HST works out to 20 per cent HST!!

How many hundreds of thousands of  bags does Zellers use each month? Charging a penny HST on each one “sold” to consumers may sound like a small thing. However,  adding an extra 8 per cent to any item beyond the actual authorized tax rate, even just to “round it up”  could add up to millions of dollars extra in someone’s pocket: theirs or the government’s!

And how many retailers are now charging “extra” for their cheap plastic bags?   Even at a nickel apiece, I suspect they are ripping off their customers.  But to charge an extra penny HST … now that’s chutzpah!

But there’s the rub …who is going to do anything to stop the 20% HST!  Certainly not the retailers, who could be cashing in EXTRA (and big time too for large chain retailers) just by doing that; and not likely the government, if the extra is being passed on to Victoria.

Now I understand what they mean when they say the HST is good for business.

Harv Oberfeld

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27 Responses to BC HST Hits 20% !

  1. Terrence says:

    Speaking of shopping – I did some grocery shopping this afternoon. The ice cream I bought was not charged any vile HST; the roasted chicken was charged the vile HST. So, ice cream must be a basic food, which the ads tell are not charged the vile HST; and roasted chicken is not a basic food.

    So, I will continue to buy ice cream, but will no longer buy roast chicken. I make a point of not buying things that now have the vile HST on them.

    (Response: Actually a cashier at Safeway explained it to me … a COOKED chicken has HST, because it’s like a prepared meal, but a RAW chicken has no HST, because it’s grocery. That’s the law 🙂 h.o

  2. Ray K says:

    I wonder if you were given the price and amount of HST as if you only bought the one bag. Would not the price of the bag be added to your total purchase and the HST calculated on the grand total.

    (Response: I didn’t buy the bag so I don’t really know… except the cashier seemed quite familiar with it being charged as five cents for the bag PLUS one cent HST ..and I can’t imagine anyone shopping at Zellers for just one of their plastic bags…so maybe they just add it in at six cents total. h.o)

  3. Kim says:

    Bulk peanuts are exempt, unless they are salted. Salted nuts are charged HST. One doughnut is charged HST but you can avoid the tax by buying six.
    So if they pay you peanuts, avoid the salted ones.

    (Response: I can just imagine a committee sitting arouind and coming up with lists of what’s in and what’s out. I just hope they don’t also travel to warm climates in the dead of winter to see for themselves how others do it. h.o)

  4. Crankypants says:

    Actually, the rules get goofier regarding that roasted chicken. If you buy one of these chickens that was left over from the day before, and therefore cold, there is no HST. Also you can buy a package of fried cold chicken with no HST added to the price, but if you buy the same chicken from the deli,where is is sitting under infrared lights, you pay HST.

    Apparently the CRA has created a multi-page manual dealing with food products and from what I’ve heard, it contains a lot of suspicious rules. Milk from animals is HST-free, but milk from soy or rice gets charged the HST. One doughnut gets dinged, but a sixpack is tax free.

    Finally, at a nickel per bag, Zellers must be making more profit from selling bags than they do from a lot of other items they sell.

    (Response: Shoppers Drug Mart also charge a nickel for a bag …that probably costs them a half a cent … but I don’t think they add insult to injury by adding a penny for HST. h.o.)

  5. sunshine coast girl says:

    Recall in the fall is sounding better all the time!

  6. Henri Paul says:

    You hit it smack on the head Harv when you said,
    adding an extra 8 per cent to any item beyond the actual authorized tax rate, even just to “round it up” could add up to millions of dollars extra in someone’s pocket

    This is why the BC business groups launched a challenge against the HST petition, the pricks plan on lineing up at the trough like pigs and two biting us consumer’s to death.

  7. D.M. Johnston says:

    Just last night, my wife returned from filling the family chariot in Point Roberts and did a little grocery shopping.

    She saved $40.00 buying selected groceries! Then add the $20.00 savings in gas, a wee jaunt across the 49th saved $60.00!

    We have found that the cost for just about everything has increased about 10% since July and a lot more items taxed with the HST.

    My wife is going to Seattle at the end of the month to shop and if last year was any indication, she will save about $200.00 for clothes etc. (in the USA a lost leader is truly a loss leader)

    The HST is nothing more than a scam by a ‘tax and spend’ government which hasn’t a clue about how to run a peanut stand and large corporations gouging the the consumer.

    AND if I hear Bill Boring mention the NDP and fast ferries once more, I will start phoning CORUS’s advertisers and will say I will not purchase any of their product……in effect I will boycott them!

    I am no NDP supporter but my god, all the screw-ups and money-pits good old Gordo and his mob have created makes the Glen Clark NDP look good!

    I pine for the 90’s when everyone had money to spend and business was good!

    (Response: Interesting how the MSM cant forget the fast ferries fiasco several governments ago … and cant remember all the cost overurns, overspending and wasteful spending of the current government. h.o)

  8. Steve says:

    We do a ” big shop ” every two weeks at the supermarket and have always paid close attention to prices and taxes. We are paying double the amount of taxes we used to with the HST. IF Colin Hansen really believes the HST roll out is going better than expected he should stop by our house for coffee. We would like to show him in black and white that the HST is bad for our family’s budget. Then let him know how we feel about that.

    (Response: And I hear that, as predicted, many restaurants and servers are taking a hit: adding 12% HST, plus 15% tip, not to mention really high taxes, markups on wine etc, has led to a lot of middle class families eating out less often. Don’t listen to those very rich radio commentators who go to high end restaurants and say they are full. In fact it only proves the rich (especially business owners) are getting richer under the HST, while the rest of us pay more. h.o)

  9. D.M. Johnston says:

    Quote: “adding 12% HST, plus 15% tip, not to mention really high taxes……” is so true.

    My wife’s relatives from the USA were up in July and took us to dinner and they said a comparable meal in Seattle (including taxes and tip) was about 30% less. They absolutely detested the 15% service fee and they now think BC is a massive gouge.

    How soon will other American tourists just think that BC is just too expensive to visit? Me thinks there is a massive ‘tourist’ snowball rolling down a overly large ‘tax’ hill and will hit the BC economy with a big splat.

  10. Kim says:

    A couple from Calgary wrote the TC this morning how they decided to back out of their condo deal in Victoria, because of the HST.

    This is going to sink the whole BC economy. I used to hate that people took their money across the border for their shopping, but I’ve changed my mind. It’s not like we support any manufacturing jobs here. If I could afford the GD ferry, I’d be shopping there too, in a New York minute!

    (Response: On top of the HST , there’s the outrageous price we now pay for petrol now in B.C. … the highest of any major metro area in the country ..and most remote areas too! Does the government think we haven’t noticed? Many close to the border with Nexus passes are heading south for gas and grocereis now and almost everyone seems to be just waiting “to get back at them”. h.o)

  11. Kam Lee says:

    About the HST… So far I have saved about $300.00 . I have had contractors do work for me, bought wood, paid cash. There was no HST incuded. It is a sign of the times. Another point if I may, where I work, we charge a ecofee for spray paint. The HST is then added to that tax!

    What a load of crap. Campbell is a criminal. The mainstream media are cowards, and liars, allowing this madman to continue. Maybe if they did their jobs…

    (Response: I think a lot more people are paying cash for things ..and not asking for official receipts. Tax the people too much and they will rebel. I believe we’re there now much more than the government lets on. h.o)

  12. Lynn says:

    Boycotting the advertisers is bang on! cknw is a bore. All they are over there is the liberal’s public mouth piece. I don’t even tune them in anymore.
    Shopper’s wanted to charge me a bag. I stood there and said,
    “Soon I wil be working for free”. I refushed the bag, and juggled my items out the door. I have NOT been back since. Shoppers should know when my last visit was based on the optimum card. A friend of mine was outraged. She now visits Shoppers (when she HAS to) accompanied by her plastic London Drugs bag seen swinging on her arm.
    I found it amusing to find out hanson will not be mailing out the hst flyers after all. He said because the bruhaha has settled down. I believe he knew they would all be mailed back with some sort of message only a pissed off B.C.er could write.
    I know I was so looking forward to submitting my message on the dam thing. And gleefully putting a stamp on it so it doesn’t cost me more down the road.
    DMJ, I still don’t approve of shopping in yankee-land, but I also recognise you have to look after your family by any means necessary. All the more reason to keep up the anti hst pressure. Perhaps put aside 10% of your saving and send it towards the cause. Just a thought.

  13. Stan M says:

    Hi Harv;
    The problem on bags is the rounding of the penny. I do not worry too much about the bags issue anymore we take our own bags which is kind of blessing as now I do not have to store/ dispose of those plastic ones as often as in the past. For anyone interested, Guildford Mall has plastic bag recycling bins in the mall and since I am there doing my company banking several times a week, its’ kind of a joint trip on occassion.
    With regards to the restaurants, I went downtown yesterday evening the catch up with a client and while waiting for the appointment time at 7:30 I wandered around and checked out a few of the restaurants we used to frequent and noticed a few of them were offering discounts on their meals of 50% which seemed more so on Denman than on Davie.

    The HST is forcing many folks to reconsider their purchasing options and in a couple of cases that I am aware of some folks are opting just to leave BC and not solely because of the HST. I had a young family tell me they were moving back to the Netherlands as they could live more cheaply there than here. The other evening I was at the corner convenience store and the young clerk there said she and her boyfriend were leaving at the end of the month to go back to Newfoundland as BC just is not living up the expectations they were led to believe and yes they felt they could live better there than here.

    In both cases, yes BC is beautiful but terribly expensive. As a business, I have to concur with that assessment.

    Yes, you can have the lowest corporate and income tax rates but they are only one factor in a business decision to locate here. It is all of the other fees, tolls and levies that add up and quite frankly in this province, this backdoor taxation exceeds the taxation levels in other jurisidictions with higher upfront taxes.

    (Response: It’s not really about the penny. It’s about retalers charging a penny HST EXTRA when they are already charging you a nickel for a bag that I suspect costs them nowhere newar that and to cart away goods you bought at their store! It results in the store or the government cashing in 20% under the guise of an 12% tax. Believe it or not …that adds up to BIG money if multiplied a million times across BC every month. h.o.)

  14. Lynn says:

    Tourists believe B.C. stands for Bring Cash. If we keep up this nickling and diming everyone to death the tourists will find an another equally best place on earth to visit.

  15. SB says:

    I have noticed no reduction to prices at all and certainly an increase and have adjusted my spending i also have had a late teen son lose his job as kitchen helper in a pizza shop as business has gone down almost 25 % since July 1st and last week a freind laid off from a good paying service job due to 20% loss of customers since July 1st and i have real trouble believeing this is coincidence im getting itchy waiting to help with RECALL.

    (Response: But HST is great for BIG business .. just imagine how much they’re saving, while consumers pay for it all! h.o)

  16. Terrence says:

    Regarding the price of gasoline – I just checked gasbuddy.com. It lists the low price in Kitsilano as 117.9/liter, and the high price as 119.8/liter.

    The low price in Edmonton is 88.9/liter; the high price is 92.9/liter.

    In Calgary, the low price is 92.9/liter; the high is 95.9/liter.

    So, Vancouver gas is 29 cents a liter more expensive than Edmonton’s; and 25 cents a liter more than Calgary’s.

    I am sure that most of the difference in Vancouver is taxes and “fees”.

    I will be in Alberta in a week or so, for about four weeks. I will buy lots of stuff that only has GST on it. I will also go to a LOT of restaurants.

    It has been quite awhile since I was in Seattle – so I will have to go to lots of good restaurants there, too; and buy LOTS of stuff.

    Before the vile HST, I would have spent much of that money here in Vancouver, especially in restaurants, but no more.

    (Response: Many cities have taxes, transit fees etc added onto gasoline prices: but in B.C. ..governments have clearly think there’s no limit to what they can impose on motorists so everything is going through the roof: gas taxes, tolls, pay parking taxes, resdential parking fees, commercial licence fees, etc. They say the NEED the money to cover services…but how do other jurisdictions function and still offer all kinds of comparable public services without milking their citizens with much higher fees? Even making allowances for higher living costs in Vancouver, the others quite apparently are simply better managers of public funds .. and stay away from kookie projects, studies and bylaws …that all cost BIG bucks. h.o)

  17. Henri Paul says:

    For sure the retailers are laughing at us consumers.
    First off the mark, bags are already factored into the pricing , second , whether you supply your own bags or not, the retailers have not, will not remove the cost of the these bags.
    As Im going to be forced to pay for as yet an additional bag , I demand my choice, paper bags ,like we use to get before they imposed plastic bags onto us.
    Paper bags can and are made of recycled paper , this will put some of our local people back to work in recycling , manufacturing, distribution.
    Additionally, there thousands of bug killed pine trees that are going to rot standing in the bush, lets utilize them, and put even more people to work turning them into paper bags. At the very least ,this way were putting local people back to work.

    (Response: I always opt for paper bags (often avail as a choice in U.S. grocers) …but in Canada you don’t seem to have much choice…plastic rules. h.o)

  18. Alexander says:

    I wonder if its time for the Social Credit centre right vehicle to be revived….it’s time for us to feel good about being British Columbian again.
    these current party’s with connections to Ottawa have done nothing for us.
    Is it just me or has this been the decade that B.C.’s Crown Corporations, Taxation powers, and Autonomy has been served on a silver platter to Central Canadian interests???

  19. sunshine coast girl says:

    So, I’m in London Drugs and they have a notice posted on the till explaining which things are HSTable and which aren’t. One of the items on the list was diapers. You know, the things that Hansen so proudly held up on TV and proclaimed HST free? Well, according to this list, they are. However, now they are subject to something called an LST. I believe it was either 2.5 or 5%. The manager wasn’t there to ask what that was and the teller didn’t know. I wasn’t aware of an LST tax or fee in BC. Anyone know?

    (Response: Never heard of ity ..but at the rate they’re going, we may soon run out of alphabet letters for various taxes! h.o)

  20. Paul says:

    I do most of my grocery shopping at MarketPlace IGA

    They don’t charge for bags but instead give me a three cent refund for each used/recycled bag that I bring in.

    The refund is always listed at the bottom of my receipt.


    20% HST on a five cent bag is ridiculous.

    Has anyone confirmed that with Zellers Canada head office?

    (Response: Haven’t called Toronto to confirm it (I’m retired! 🙂 but wrote about it because the cashier seemed quite knoweldgeable about it and reeled it off without any hesitation. I take my extra bags back to the grocery store and just put them in the recycling bin. Funny…I don’t mind giving away that three cents each time as much as I’m bothered by that one penny tax on a nickel purchase. I guess it’s just the principle of a retailer or government doing it to us again! h.o.)

  21. Doesn't apply to me says:

    I was wondering about this issue. The first time I purchased a bottle of pop after July 1st, I looked at the bill. I noted that the price itself had gone up by 10 cents, then there was the eco tax which had the HST applied, then there was the recycling tax.

    Here are the values:

    pop $1.89 ( was only $1.79 before July 1st )

    eco tax $0.04 plus HST added $0.01

    recycling tax $0.05

    Doing the math this is what the HST tax on top of a tax should be: .04 times .12 = .0048. Now from everything that I remember, if it is less the 5 don’t round up, if it is 5 or greater, round up.

    The thing is that even with the GST in play, calculation is .04 time .05 = .002, it still brought the government a 1 cent tax grab.

    It is my understanding that the tax is calculated directly on the item that has the tax applied, in other words, they do not accumulate the taxable items and then apply the HST. Think about how much revenue is being acquired by the extra .00… amounts.

    There was an article a few years ago about a skimming scam where people were taking the extras .00…. from interest in banks. I believe if I remember correctly, these people were prosecuted for theft.

    I think that we as a society that has had it so good for such a long period of time that we forget to look at what is being done to us. I call it the ‘head up our . . . ‘ syndrome. I don’t believe that live is going to be that good for some time to come.

    I also believe that people think only about the ‘here and now’, completely omitting the future, the time when getting to the point of ‘over 40’ makes being employable daunting, and the time, even though one is full of experience and wisdom, society considers one unemployable. This is the definition of unemployable: not able of likely to get paid employment, esp. because of a lack of skills or qualifications. What’s up with that?

    The HST is a ‘great #@%%&^&* tax grab that is only good for the politicians. Ever wonder what they are doing with the millions of dollars of undeclared revenue that they are collecting?

    (Response: Right on! You have summed it up perfectly and I really appreciate the details of how they are not only taxing, but ripping us off and, adding insult to injury, even topping up for that extra penny when they should level down. Believe me those pennies add up …when millions of transactions are involved. h.o)

  22. Kim says:

    Alexander, not central canadian interests, as much as american, chinese and EU interests.

    Paper bags are great, they have so many secondary uses!

    Three skilled tradesmen in my building have seen work shortages this summer.

    Consumer confidence is way down, prices are up, even stuff that was already taxed. Look for wheat products to double in price, stock up on flour, bread and cereal, between Russian wildfires and Saskachewan’s nasty spring weather.

    On a lighter note, I read this in the Tyee this morning.

  23. Stan M says:

    With regards to the HST applicable on Fees and Levies and Deposits on pop, Ottawa actually has a 49 page bulletin on this complete with flow charts, if you want to go to sleep in a big hurry or have your eyes glaze over have a look at it:
    Something so simple has been made so complicated that you need both a lawyer and an accountant to review just to make sure the corner store guy gets it right, God help you if you screw up the math, they have AMPS (Administrative Monetary Penalities) ready to take whatever money you may unfortunately (in their eyes) have left.
    Maybe we need just to assign all of our income to them and tell them to send back what they don’t need. Hmm, that won’t work either, we’ll get nothing back at all.
    Taxation used to be so simple a process, here’s what we earn, this is how much we pay and here is what’s left.
    If the FI tells me tax freedom day is in May, I’m gonna feel like shoving that report down someone’s throat as I suspect they are not including all of the taxes, fees, levies, tolls, surcharges etc. that we are being hit with.

    (Response: I can imagine all those bureaucrats sitting around and designing their pop bottle taxation guide… in both official languages of course. Not sure whether to laugh ..or cry. h.o)

  24. Curt says:

    Home Depo is also charging for bags. Was there yesterday. 5 cents

  25. cassandra says:

    With an after-tax family income averaging $100K per year we have used the aversion power of HST to save more than $50 a week in ordinary expenses. Since Gordon campbell’s gang imposed the tax on July lst we have become determined penny pinchers: While previously once we often ate lunch in (moderately priced) restaurants i.e. Earl’s, The Whitespot, Milestones – we haven’t done so since June 30th. We no longer buy any food item that is subject to GST. For household provisions, supplies and repairs we seek every opportunity to make cash deals to cut HST from the total bill. This is much easier when we use qualified individuals rather than incorporated service companies.
    We’re using the tax savings to support the Recall Campaign.

    (Response: Interesting. I had lunch at a White Spot the other day …and there were lots of tables available, even at 12:30 p.m., when that same location almost always had a wait at that time of day. My local Chinese food delivery guy says things are definitely slower, but the pizza guy (am I confessing too much here?) says they are busier because people are staying home, ordering in a cheap treat, rather than eating out, even in mid-range restaurants. So people are changing their habits, and looks to me like they’re spending less overall. h.o)

  26. Scott says:

    Harv, thanks for following up on this taxing item. The liberal government foisted upon British Columbians a 2 Billion dollar tax shift from businesses to the consumer. Now their radio ads like us to feel all warm and fuzzy that approx 1.3 million British Columbians are receiving some kind of HST rebate/transition cheque. The rub is those of us middle class folk who make just enough money do not benefit from this largesse. Naturally some one has to pay these taxes and it is the hard working middle class that does. I get no tax benefit and my yearly living costs increase around $300.00/year. Of course Minister Hansen pontificates that businesses will give us the benefit of their Input Tax Credits or ITC. Well Mr Hansen i haven’t seen anything go down now that all these businesses receive ITC’s on their 7% portion of the HST. Only businesses that truly have to compete will give you that benefit, the Shaws, Telus’, Rogers’, etc of the world are not going to give you a break. Extra money towards their bottom line. I suppose. So the liberals can bleat on about this being the “best place on earth” when it is really the one of the most “expensive places on earth” to live for the ordinary person.

    (Response: It’s one thing for those of us who have decent income to pay this horrid tax when we make purchases ofr go out for dinner etc. But do you realize that if a couple of kids go to McDonalds and just buy two small ice cream cones, they pay $2.78 for the cones and 33 cents tax! Even kids buying a treat are now taxed 12 per cent. That’s outrageous. Surely there should at least be a minimum purchase .. like $5 before the tax kicks in. h.o)

  27. Don says:

    I have read the post about having to pay for bags and will share my shopping experience at Metro (never again) .

    Day 1 I bought quite a bit of groceries and when asked for bag I replies politely , “yes please ” …
    When asked to pay 5 cents for the bag I put out my hand with the nickel in it and kindly asked for a double bag since I had rode my bike to the store that day and one bag alone may not be strong enough for the ride home . The teller took this as as complaint , sneered at me and told me I did not have to pay for the bag at all then . I kindly thanked her and left the store .

    Day 2 : After purchasing another product at Metro in Thunder Bay , The teller kindly asked me now for 6 cents . The line was long behind me , I kindly mentioned that yesterday the bag was 5 cents . I don’t mind the nickel , the groaning and moaning whining and misery sounds coming from the others in the checkout lineup was overwhelming ~! .

    My point is exactly this , why is Metro in Thunder Bay (a very busy store) charging 20% FOR A PLASTIC BAG ? Over a short time this adds up to big bucks and it seems to me they at least land in someones pocket 🙂 .

    I’m just going to Safeways to give them all my personal information for free to save a nickel by having join their “club” Not only that , I really want to tell everybody in the lineup at Safeways my telephone number because their store is in such a great neighborhood maybe I can make some new friends .

    (Response; Exactly my point..they said in BC the HST would be 12% …but in some cases it works out to 20%! They also promised pricaes would come down as a result of easing the burden on business: haven’t seen ANY of that in my shopping. But apparently if I ever get to the point in my life where I again need diapers, I could save a few pennies! h.o.)

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