What You Should Know About Ontario's Taxes

On July 1st 2010, the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) came into effect in the Province of Ontario.  It is a 13% value-added tax charged on most goods and services sold in the province.  (If you hear mention of the "GST" or "PST", those are the taxes that were charged before the HST came into effect.)

In most cases, the HST is added to the price tag or advertised price of the item, so if you grab $100 worth of merchandise at a store the total bill will come to $113.  However, a few purchases are tax-exempt (such as prepared food and beverages under $4.00 are exempt from the PST) or already have the taxes built into the price.

How sales taxes apply to common tourist purchases:

 Tax rate Taxes are not included in listed price, unless noted
Accommodations, travel and passenger transportation   

Municipal public transit

(TTC, OC Transpo, etc.)

GO Transit Zero
Taxis 13% Included in fare shown on meter
Hotel rooms 13%
Campsites 13%
Houseboat rentals 13%
Air travel 13% HST plus additional taxes and fees Many additional taxes/fees may only be shown late in the booking process
Rail, boat, and bus travel within Ontario 13%
Rail, boat, and bus travel to locations outside of Ontario Zero


Gasoline (petrol) 13% HST plus additional fuel taxes All taxes are included in posted rate
Food and Beverages    
Basic groceries Zero
Snack foods    13%
Restaurant meals 13% Normally not included in menu price
Alcoholic beverages at restaurant 13% Normally not included in menu price
Alcohol products bought at the LCBO / Beer Store  13%   Included in price
Sports and Entertainment    
Admission to pro sporting events 13%
Golf (green fees) 13%
Movie tickets 13%
Tickets for live theatre 13%
Services and Tobacco purchases    
Hair stylist / barber 13% May or may not be included in listed price
Esthetician / spa services 13%
Cigarettes & tobacco items

13% HST plus

tobacco tax

HST is not included in listed price; tobacco tax is built into price