Money & taxes
In Nova Scotia, most people use bank cards (also called debit cards) and credit cards to pay for goods and services. Cash is used for some smaller items and can be used to pay for large items if needed.
Opening a bank account
You should open a banking account soon after arriving in Nova Scotia. It is not safe to carry large amounts of money (cash) with you.
You will be able to deposit or transfer monies from your account in your country of origin, but there are some restrictions on the amounts. Your bank will have information on these restrictions.
To open a bank account, you will need at least two pieces of identification such as your passport, social insurance number (SIN) or personal identification card from Access Nova Scotia. Your passport and landing documents are good documents to bring with you.
To find a bank branch near you, search online or look under banking in a phone directory.
Canadians pay many different taxes to the government.
In Canada, taxes contribute to social programs and benefits such as health care, social assistance and old age pensions.
All residents must submit annual Income Tax Returns to the Canada Revenue Agency. This tells the government how much income you have earned in the year and how much you have paid in taxes. Taxes are automatically deducted from your pay cheque. If too much has been taken off, you receive a refund. If too little was deducted, you have to pay the remaining balance.
Filing an income tax form also makes you eligible for such tax credit programs as the Child Tax Credit and Goods and Services Tax Credits.
You can find out more information on the Nova Scotia Department of Finance website or from the Canada Revenue Agency website.
In Nova Scotia, a sales tax called the HST is charged on most goods and services. The HST is a combination of the federal Goods and Service Tax (GST) and Provincial Sales Tax (PST). It is 15% of the total cost of the item or service being purchased.
This tax is not shown on the price tag of an item. It is added to the cost when you pay for it at the cashier. Some people qualify for a Goods and Services Tax refund, depending on their income and the number of dependents in their household.
All property owners pay residential taxes to their local municipality. What you pay is relative to the size, type and location of your property. Properties are assessed by the Property Valuation Services Corporation, but it is the municipal government that sets the tax rate and collects taxes. The taxes help pay for services such as:
- Snow removal
- Road repairs and upkeep
- Street lighting
- Fire protection
- Garbage collection