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Canadian HST - some products partially exempted

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  • Canadian HST - some products partially exempted

    I'm just getting started and have a tax question.
    We're in Canada and some of our products are exempt from part of our HST tax (or exempt from PST and not GST in some provinces) because they are baby items. Is there a way to have certain products taxed at 5% and others taxed at 13%?

  • #2
    I think you want to use "tax codes". There is a lot of help info about setting up taxes. Here is one that might be helpful:


    • #3
      I think if you go into the edit page for a product then click on advanced at the top. You should be able to set the tax to a certain amount


      • #4
        Configuring GST/HST

        [edited slightly same day to reflect new findings]
        I am sharing my findings. Support was unable to help me with this, but I found out most of this on my own. I am not a lawyer, accountant, or programmer. Use this advice at your own risk and only if you know what you're doing.

        The short version:
        - You can get it to tax your items properly
        - You can't get it to tax your shipping properly
        - You can't (as far as I've found) get it to report the taxes separately on the single-page checkout.

        Our Tax Requirements
        • We are an organization based in Canada that ships most orders to destinations across Canada.
        • Orders from outside Canada are tax-exempt (that's the easy part!)
        • In some Canadian provinces, there is no Provincial Sales Tax (PST), only Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is a national tax of 5%. This is also not difficult to configure.
        • However, in five provinces, we must charge Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), which combines GST with the former provincial sales tax. The rate varies from 12% to 15% from province to province...
        • On top of that, some of our resources, such as textbooks, are exempt from the provincial portion of the HST, and therefore are only charged GST, even in provinces that have HST. Other resources, such as CDs, are charged the full HST in the relevant provinces.
        • Some customers in provinces with HST will purchase in the same order resources that are HST-eligible and HST-exempt.

        Configuring Tax Codes
        I've attached a screenshot of how to configure the taxes in Settings > Payment > Tax Manager. This configuration will charge GST to everyone in Canada on items with tax code G, and and it will charge GST or HST on items with tax code H depending on which province they are in. Make sure to use the "tax1" field for all items that would charge GST, including on the "H" code for provinces that don't have HST. Only use "Tax 2" for those provinces that use HST, and only use it for the H code in those provinces.

        Unable to set tax code on shipping
        Even though shipping should be charged on tax code H, there is no way to tell the system which tax code to apply to shipping. Instead it charges tax on shipping based on a weighting of the taxes on what the customer orders. So if you order a $20 GST-only (5%) item and a $10 HST-eligible (e.g. $13%) item, if your shipping rate is $9, the shipping will be $6x5%+$3x13%.

        If you unselect the "shipping" checkbox one of the tax codes, as I did in the screenshot, it will calculate the same way but only charge the tax selected, i.e. $3x13%. At least it's not overcharging the customer.

        Configuring inventory
        When editing the product, go to the "advanced" panel and enter G or H in the "tax code" field.
        NOTE: If you delete a tax code in the tax configuration page, it will remove the tax code from all items that have that tax code, even if there are other tax codes with the same name.

        Configuring labels
        To change the names of the taxes, go to Settings > Design > Store Language and rename "taxes" from "Sales Tax" to GST/TPS, and "taxes2" to "HST/TVH".
        NOTE: There are many locations (at least in the template that I'm using) that just lump the taxes together and use the label for "taxes". This includes the single-page checkout (before ordering) and the e-mail confirmation--the two places I'd like them to be!!! Of the pages that I use, only the payment confirmation page (that the user sees after submitting their payment - in the template this is "checkout-step4receipt.html" even when using the single page checkout), and as an administrator if you go to print their order (though the labels are hard-coded as "Tax" and "Tax 2", at least in the template I'm using). Note the "START: TAX2" and "END: TAX2" container tags.
        Exerpt from the "print order" as administrator, which works:
        	<tr class="report-font1">
        		<td width="15%"> </td>
        		<td width="1%"> </td>
        		<td width="9%"> </td>
        		<td width="1%"> </td>
        		<td valign="top" align="right" width="9%"><b>Tax:</b></td>
        		<td width="2%"> </td>
        		<td width="10%"><div align="right">[TAX]</div></td>
        	<!--START: TAX2-->
        	<tr class="report-font1">
        		<td width="15%"> </td>
        		<td width="1%"> </td>
        		<td width="9%"> </td>
        		<td width="1%"> </td>
        		<td valign="top" align="right" width="9%"><b>Tax 2:</b></td>
        		<td width="2%"> </td>
        		<td width="10%"><div align="right">[TAX2]</div></td>
        	<!--END: TAX2-->
        Configuring in the e-mail confirmations
        In the order confirmation e-mail (Settings > Design > Emails > Orders Emails > New Order - Customer), the variable [otax] shows the combined taxes, while it shows the amount for Tax1 on the order confirmation page after you've submitted your payment (Does anybody know where I can customize this page?? It's not step4receipt.html like I thought.). [otax2] shows Tax 2 (the START: TAX2/END: TAX2 container is not required). Therefore, I set GST as tax2 and HST as tax3, and edited the e-mail confirmation accordingly (you can either omit Tax1 or use it with the label "sales tax"). Exporting the orders confirms there is no separate otax1 code, though otax shows the correct value of only Tax1 (as opposed to all taxes combined) in the export.

        Where it breaks down
        In the single-page checkout, the variable [TAX] displays the total combined tax amount. I have tried various ways to get it to show the separate taxes, but none of these taxes work (including if they are wrapped in the START:TAX/END:TAX and START:TAX2/END:TAX2 tags): [tax] [tax2] [otax] [otax2] [TAX2] [OTAX] [OTAX2]

        Additionally, as mentioned above, some of the variables for tax1 and total tax are used inconsistently. Use tax 2 and tax 3 instead to avoid this.

        Help please!
        Does anyone know how to get the 1-page checkout to display the taxes separately?

        I'm assuming the shipping-tax issue is a lost cause.
        Attached Files
        Last edited by chcsep; 05-18-2012, 05:16 PM.