As of 2015, the Goods and Services Tax, or GST tax, rate is 5 percent for British Columbia, notes the Canada Revenue Agency. A provincial sales tax used to also apply to purchases in the province, and its removal lowered the total tax on purchases, notes the Retail Council of Canada.
The GST tax applies to many products in British Columbia, although some accept items related to groceries, education financial services, health care, transportation, medications and residential rents. For items that are taxed, some rebates are available for taxpayers who meet requires as low-income.
Basic groceries, agricultural products, prescription drugs and associated dispensing fees, and medical devices are taxed at 0 percent. Some goods and services are fully exempt, including long-term residential accommodation and associated condominium fees, most health-related services, child care services, travel tolls, and legal services. Other exemptions include legal aid, select items and services from not-for-profit organizations and government entities, and certain educational, financial and insurance services.
Before the 2013 switch to only charging GST tax, a rate of 12 percent applied to purchases in British Columbia, notes the Canada Revenue Service website.