As of April 1, 2013, British Columbians reverted to paying a varying percentage of tax that ranges from no tax, five per cent (GST) or twelve per cent (PST), depending on the service or product being bought.
Travel services that remain tax exempt:
- International air travel, Continental U.S. flights excluded, when originating in B.C.
- International rail, bus, or ship travel (originating in B.C.)
- Public transit fares
- BC Ferries fares
- Basic groceries
Travel services that incur GST only (5%):
- Domestic travel by air, rail or bus (originating in B.C.)
- Continental U.S. air travel (originating in B.C.)
- Restaurant meals
- Attraction admission fees, including for passes for ski resorts, museums, theatre performances, sports events, and driving ranges
- Books, newspapers, and magazines
- Snack foods
- Camping sites
- Massage therapy
Travel services that incur GST and PST (12%):
- Accommodations (plus any additional hotel tax)
- Alcoholic beverages (10% PST)
Tax Rebates for Travellers
The federal government cancelled the GST/HST Visitor Rebate Program in 2007. The lone rebate available to tourists is through the Foreign Convention and Tour Incentive Program. This is a 50 per cent refund of tax paid on tour packages purchased from a tour operator or as part of a convention. This rebate applies to travel packages that bundle transportation and accommodation, such as ski, golf and other package vacations. This rebate does not apply to independent travellers.
For more information, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website cra-arc.gc.ca.