Remembering a comprehensive list of items which are taxable, zero-rated (0%) and tax exempt can be very difficult and confusing. Below is information and links from the Canada Revenue Agency website to clarify and outline details about the questions and queries people have and can not find the information easily on the web.

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What is the GST/HST?

Difference between GST and HST
Taxe Province What it means
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 many supplies of real property. For example, land, buildings, and interests in such property. It also applies to 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 the “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 What this means 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 (orther 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. GST/HST applies to these supplies at the rate of 0%.

Examples of supply taxable at 0% (zero-rated)

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

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.

***The information on this blog and website is for educational purpose only and not to be relied upon as professional advice or used for planning without first seeking professional advice. Information is subject to change without notice.***