Thanks to the Goods and Service Tax and Provincial Sales Tax being combined into the Harmonized Sales Tax in Ontario in the summer of 2010, a whole whack of things cost a whole whack more than they did before in my home province. They added tax to a lot of things that used to be charged only GST. For example, before this increase, we only paid GST on gas, which was 5%. Now it’s charged HST at 13%. The same thing happened with taxis, haircuts, tobacco, sports lessons, legal fees, real estate commissions, electricity, internet… the list goes on and on. You can check it out here if you’re so inclined.
Because of this, obviously people freaked the hell out about having to pay more. Therefore, the Ontario government started sending out GST cheques to “help” with the transition from the original tax to taxing us an arm and a leg to do anything but breathe. Every three months I get a cheque in the mail for $93.87 (it used to be $60, but now I’m working full-time).
Basically, people see this as free money. Even I did, when I first got it. My first GST cheque went straight to a cheque-cashing place (I cringe thinking about this now) where I paid a 5% fee to get some beer money. Now I understand that all they’re doing is taking more of my money, then sending some back to bribe me. I’m willing to bet that in the past I spent twice the amount given back on HST in that three month time period, especially with gas when I used the family cars for personal reasons.
I’m actually pretty excited to get this right now though- I thought about putting it down on my debt, but I decided that I’m going to put it towards my taxes so I don’t have to worry about it. Anything left over at the end of the month will obviously go to debt. In 3 months I’ll have another cheque sent to me, and that one will definitely be paid on Credit Card #2.
I just can’t get past the irony that the government sent me back my own money, and I still have to turn around and give it right back to them.