Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tips 'n Tricks: GST/HST and Snack Foods

Ever buy trail mix? Ju jubes or other chewy candy? Chocolate or salted nuts?

GST or HST applies to all of them. In some cases, so does the provincial sales tax.

Any snack-type foods to which salt has been added, even if they are sold in bulk - such as salted nuts and seeds - are GST/HST applicable.

The tax also applies to unsalted or salted mixtures of otherwise non-taxable food items; ergo, trail mix. In that case, you're paying for the service component of the 'Goods and Services' tax.

Among non-taxable bulk food items are chocolate chips for baking; raisins; dried fruit such as mango, cranberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, apricots and pineapple; and unsalted nuts and seeds. (Beware: unshelled nuts sold in packages are taxable, regardless of whether or not they are salted.)

Therefore, if you want to buy trail mix but don't want to pay the tax, buy each of the ingredients individually - all unsalted. Then mix them together yourself and add salt, if desired.

For chewy candy, go for dried cantaloupe, which is eerily similar to sugar-coated candied jelly; or dried mango, grapefruit, pineapple, and so on. Experiment!

To satisfy your craving for chocolate, buy it in chip form from the bulk bin or in packages where it's sold for baking.

You can make a further saving if you have a food dehydrator. Then you can dry your own fruit and other foods.

I'd acquired a free food dehydrator a few months ago. Unfortunately, it didn't work. Am hoping that another, functioning one will find its way here eventually.

ETA: Carob chips, which are a vegan alternative to chocolate chips, are also sales tax free. Added bonus! - they're about two-thirds of the price of chocolate chips and can be used in baking as a substitute for chocolate.


Wandering Coyote said...

Well, I got my $160 deposited this weekend...I'm pretty sure I'll be paying out more than that with the new tax, though.

I want a food dehydrator, too! I think I might have a line on one I can have on long-term borrow, woo-hoo!

Chrystal Ocean said...

I track all my expenses, down into categories such as 'Sales Taxes' and 'Groceries', and sub categories like 'Protein', 'Fruit, Veggies' and 'Treats' (hard candies, especially Werthers' original, are my downfall).

So far this year, I'm in the black by $57.86 - and I haven't yet received the July HST/GST/carbon tax credit. (It's not supposed to be due until July 5th.)

I'd have been ahead in the Sales Taxes category by $10.80 more had I not bought a pair of pricey, but desperately needed, extremely well-made and durable sandals. They'll last me the rest of my life, they're that good, so they will prove to be an excellent economical purchase in the long run.

Wandering Coyote said...

PS, I am now going to keep track of my sales taxes on purchases now to see how it goes.

Wandering Coyote said...

I have my GST rebate direct deposited and it was in my account yesterday!

Congrats on the sandals! Woo-hoo!

Chrystal Ocean said...

I have my sales tax credit direct deposited too, but it hasn't shown up in my account yet. Tomorrow it should be there.