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HST (Harmonized Sales Tax)

Currently, services associated with a real estate transaction pay only 5 percent federal Goods and Services Tax (GST). A harmonized sales tax (HST) will result in the 8 per cent Provincial Sales Tax (PST) being levied on a variety of real estate related services, including legal fees, commissions and home inspections which are currently exempt.

HST and the Average MLS® Ontario Home

Taxable Service

Current Tax



Legal Costs




Sample Real Estate Commission1




Home Inspection




Moving Costs




Home Appraisal




Mandatory Home Energy Audit




Total New Tax:


For the average Ontario home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) priced at $318,366 a HST will add $1513.00 in new taxes to closing costs. The HST will add an estimated $310 million in new taxes to 2010 residential resale real estate transactions.2

A HST will also hurt the affordability of homeownership by adding hundreds, potentially thousands of dollars in new taxes to home carrying costs. Under sales tax harmonization, home owners can expect to pay 8% more on utilities such as gas, electricity and home heating fuel, home renovation labour, the cost of lawn upkeep or landscaping and the cost of snow removal.

Current Status
The Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada have both passed legislation that will implement the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

The HST will come into force on July 1, 2010.

OREA Position
OREA opposes any system of harmonized sales taxation because it will hurt the affordability of housing. New and resale home transactions will face significantly more tax under a HST system.

1Based on 5% commission example; note that all commissions are negotiable.

2The Canadian Real Estate Association estimates that Ontario MLS® sales in 2010 will number 200,400 with an average selling price of $326,800. OREA estimates that the HST on these transactions will be $1547.20.

HST Transition Rules

October 21, 2009 -- The provincial government has provided rules/guidance on how it will transition to the implementation of the proposed Harmonized Sales Tax.

Details are provided below, including links to common questions and answers, background information, and ongoing updates on REALTORLink. Members are encouraged to review this information. If, after reviewing this information, you require more detail, you can contact:
   - The provincial government HST enquiry line at 1-800-337-7222
   - The Canada Revenue Agency GST/HST enquiry line at 1-800-959-8287
   - TREB staff at 416-443-8000 ext. 8043 or mritacca@trebnet.com


The provincial government has announced that it intends to combine the eight percent Provincial Sales Tax with the five percent federal Goods and Services Tax, creating a 13 percent Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

  • The HST is NOT YET IN EFFECT. The provincial government has indicated that it intends to bring the HST into effect beginning on July 1, 2010; however, note transition rules below.
  • HST will not apply on the purchase price of re-sale homes.
  • HST would apply to services such as moving cost, legal fees, home inspection fees, and REALTOR® commissions.
  • HST will apply to the purchase price of newly constructed homes. However, the Province is proposing a rebate so that new homes across all price ranges would receive a 75 per cent rebate of the provincial portion of the single sales tax on the first $400,000. For new homes under $400,000, this would mean, on average, no additional tax amount compared to the current system.
  • Click here for more background information on how the HST will affect REALTORS®.
  • Click here for some common questions and answers.
  • Visit REALTORlink for on-going updates, provided by CREA. To access, log in to www.REALTORLink.ca , using your TorontoMLS log-in information, then select “Toronto”. CREA’s HST updates are provided in the sidebar titled “HST Update”.

GST/HST for transactions that straddle July 1, 2010
(Information Provided by CREA – Click here to see full document)

In general, GST would apply to the supply of a REALTORS® commission to the extent that the services were performed prior to July 1. HST will apply to a REALTORS® commission paid or payable on or after May 1, 2010 to the extent the services are performed on or after July 1, 2010. However, if 90% or more of the services are performed prior to July 1, GST would apply to the entire transaction, including the services provided after June 30.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has verbally agreed that a reasonable method of prorating could be based on the number of calendar days covered by the service agreement. This would save REALTORS® from having to keep track of the actual amount of time spent providing services to their clients.

The beginning of the service period is the date of the Listing Agreement. The most conservative approach to determining the end date to use for the calculation would be to use the date of closing of the transaction. This ensures that any additional or incidental services are captured after the Purchase and Sale Agreement is concluded and is also consistent with the point in time that the commissions become payable.

If a REALTOR® feels that all of the services are provided once the Purchase and Sale Agreement is concluded, the REALTOR® could use the Purchase and Sale Agreement as the final date in the calculation. However, a REALTOR® should be prepared to prove to a CRA auditor through documentation that the last day on which services were supplied was the date of the Purchase and Sale Agreement, and that no further services were provided after this date. This could be difficult to prove in practice.

Transitional Rules for New Housing

  • Generally, sales of new homes under written agreements of purchase and sale entered into on or before June 18, 2009 would not be subject to the provincial portion of the single sales tax, even if both ownership and possession are transferred on or after July 1, 2010.
  • The tax would also not apply to sales of new homes under written agreements of purchase and sale entered into after June 18, 2009 where ownership or possession is transferred before July 1, 2010.

Additional Transitional Rules
  • Where services straddle the HST implementation date of July 1, 2010, the tax charged for the service may have to be split between the pre-July 2010 and post-June 2010 periods. However, the HST will generally not apply to a service if all or substantially all (90% or more) of the service is performed before July 2010.
  • Four key timelines are important (see below). All are based on the earlier of the time the consideration is either due (In general, an amount is due on the date of the invoice or the day required to be paid pursuant to a written agreement), or is paid without having become due. If consideration is due or paid,
    • Before October 15, 2009, HST will generally not apply (however, see above transition rules for new housing).
    • From October 15, 2009 to April 30, 2010, certain business that are not entitled to recover all of their GST/HST paid as input tax credit may be required to self-assess the provincial component of the HST with respect to goods or services supplied after June 30, 2010.
    • From May 1, 2010 to June 30, 2010, HST will generally apply for services supplied after June 30, 2010.
    • After June 30, 2010, HST will generally apply. An exception to this rule would be where ownership of the property is transferred before July 2010 or the invoice relates to services provided before July 2010.
  • With regard to the lease or license of goods, including non-residential real property, HST will generally apply to lease intervals or payment periods on or after July 1, 2010 and the general rules noted above will apply. However, where a lease interval begins before July 2010 and ends before July 31, 2010, it is not subject to HST.
  • With regard to the sale of non-residential property, HST is due where both possession and ownership of non-residential property occurs on or after July 1, 2010.

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