The new sales tax combines the five per cent GST and the eight per cent PST into a single 13 per cent levy called the HST, effective July 2010.
Some items that were previously exempt from the PST are now taxed at the higher HST rate: the new sales tax. These include: train or bus tickets, airline tickets, theatre and ballet tickers, landscaping and maintenance services, gym memberships, as well as energy and home utilities, home renovations, taxi fares & parking, home internet services, legal fees and real estate commissions.
The HST is supposed to help make businesses more competitive by reducing their costs, since they receive a refund of sales taxes paid on their input costs. The savings should be reflected in lower prices for their products.