Bookkeeper's News on Returning to PST in BCokkeeper's Handy Reference Page

Reimplementing PST in BC

CRA and BC Government Announcements
Newspaper Opinions and Newsletter Recommendations

Part 3 of 3

by L. Kenway BComm (Retired CPB)

What You'll Find In This Chat

This chat on reimplementing PST (Provincial Sales Tax) consists of overviews of the government announcements, accounting newsletter recommendations and newspaper opinions leading up to the return of PST in BC on April 1, 2013.

Are you wondering if accounting and bookkeeping services will attract PST? Click here to find out.

I have arranged the announcements about provincial sales tax by newest to oldest date of the original posting on this site. I also "bring forward" related news posts on a particular topic so you can quickly get a background on the subject.

Don't be afraid to open the actual government announcements and read them. For the most part, they have done a great job in keeping them "user-friendly" so it doesn't read like gobbly goop that only a tax lawyer could ever begin to understand!

Click here for:

  • PST rates effective April 1, 2013 (varies from 7%-12%)
  • a summary of the transitional rules you'll need to do backwork

Don't be afraid to open the actual government announcements and read them. For the most part, they have done a great job in keeping them "user-friendly" so it doesn't read like gobbly goop that only a tax lawyer could ever begin to understand!

You will find a short chat on the differences between GST/HST and PST towards the end of the page. It helps YOU as a business owner and/or bookkeeper to understand the differences between the two types of sales taxes.

A Guide To BC PST
Click on any image below to go to the chat.

BC PST basics.

Part One


Exemption Certificate Links,   PST Forms Released

BC PST rates and invoice requirements.

Part Two

 Invoice Requirements, Bulletin & Notice Index, Reporting Transition Tax

 PST Rates (vary 7%-12%) 

BC PST News Bulletins and Notices

Part Three

Executive Summaries of PST Notices & Bulletins

Chat Continues Below Advertisement

Good To Know

Who Needs To Register?

Generally, all businesses that sell taxable goods or provide related services AND have more than $10,000 in gross revenue annually. This will get confusing for small businesses because the GST/HST threshold when registration becomes mandatory is $30,000.

PST Bulletin 001 has a long list of businesses that are required to register with the BC Ministry of Finance.

Small sellers, direct sellers and their independent sales contractors are not required to register if certain criteria are met.

As part of the reimplementing PST process, existing businesses (those already registered for HST that have an BN) will be able to register starting January 2, 2013 through:

  1. the new eTaxBC online system;
  2. any Service BC Center;
  3. the mail.

New businesses (those not currently registered for HST) can register using .

Your old PST number is no longer valid. You need to register to be assigned a new number.


An Overview of BC's Return to PST - What Happened

It's August 16, 2012. With the reimplementation of PST quickly approaching, registration information will be made available in December 2012.

Businesses received a letter with instructions on how to register. Also, in September 2012, businesses received a letter advising them of the free consultation services of an online tax specialist to assist them during the transition.

Online registration began on January 2, 2013. The online service is called "eTaxBC". New businesses can use One Stop BC. Existing businesses (those with a BN) use the e-services. Companies use their BN as part of the registration.

Your old PST number is no longer valid so everyone needs to register and/or re-register. The new numbers assigned are 11 characters; something like this: PST-1234-5678.

Generally, when the PST was reimplemented on April 1, 2013, all the old permanent PST exemptions returned. This means there is NO PST collected on prepared foods such as restaurant meals; personal services such as hair cuts; memberships; books, newspapers and magazines; children's clothing and bicycles. Most professional services such as bookkeeping and accounting fees are also be exempt; as are transportation fares and real property.

PST applies to legal services, telecommunication services, most services to goods purchased, goods brought into BC, and the purchase or lease of new or used goods.

If you are interested in keeping up to date with everything regarding reimplementing PST in BC, follow this site or visit the BC Government's dedicated website on the topic -- .


BC's Return to PST - E&Y Tax Alert

Back on September 10, 2012, Ernst & Young released an excellent Tax Alert titled BC's transition from HST back to GST+PST: update (see 2012 Issue No. 40). As it contained an alert, I am sharing parts of the notice.

Look for your letter this month informing you about the Tax Specialist Assistance service. The subject heading in the letter will say "Re: Consultations with Provincial Sales Tax Specialists".

The update recommends "that businesses use the service if it is clear that the business is not required to register for BC PST purposes or that a particular product or service is clearly not subject to PST, as using the service will provide the business with a binding decision from the Ministry on these matters. If it is not clear, E&Y recommends you obtain independent advice first as any advice received through the service is binding.

Written and oral rulings received under the old SSTA cannot be relied upon and will no longer be binding. E&Y "strongly suggest that any businesses that had previously obtained rulings with respect to application of PST to their business operations under the old SST regime should re-apply for new rulings that can be relied on on a go-forward basis".

In the section of the update on Tax reviews - not audits, the update discusses that on-site reviews of your books and records may be requested between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014. "You will be advised of the errors but the Ministry will not issue an assessment. If such errors are corrected voluntarily on a prospective basis, Ministry officials have indicated that the prior-period errors will not be open to future audit assessments."

Audits for compliance return April 1, 2014. All ongoing audits under the old SSTA are expected to be completed before the reimplementation of PST, likely by the end of October.

Footnote: Reimpelmenting PST questions should be directed to the PST toll-free number is 1-877-388-4440 ... or the PST email address is CTBTaxQuestions at To request a consultation with a tax specialist, complete the online request form at> ctb> ask_a_tax_specialist.htm. Questions about the process should be emailed to PST.OutreachProject at Please see the alert above before using this contact information.


PST Bulletin 005 Buying A Business

November 18, 2014

A new bulletin was real eased that explains how PST applies to buying and selling a business. You can find it at


Some Interesting Articles on PST

June 9, 2013

Two interesting news articles on PST and a "made-in-BC" HST input tax credit.

Don't understand what the articles are talking about? You will find a short chat on the differences between GST/HST and PST towards the end of the page.

It helps YOU as a business owner and/or bookkeeper to understand the differences between the two types of sales taxes.


New Guides Released

June 3, 2013

Two useful BC PST guides were finally released Friday; Guide to Completing the PST Return and Guide to Completing the MRDT Return.

Take note that step 3 of the PST Guide explains how to report and pay self assessed PST for business use purchases where PST was not charged but should have been.


Free PST Interactive Webinar For BC Businesses

March 3, 2013

The BC Ministry of Finance is offering another round of the free webinar to assist BC businesses with reimplementing PST.

The additional sessions scheduled for 10:30 am to 11:30 am PT on Tuesdays and 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm on Thursdays on the following days:

  • Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2013
  • Thursday, Mar. 7, 2013
  • Tuesday, Mar. 12, 2013 
  • Thursday, Mar. 14, 2013 
  • Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2013 
  • Thursday, Mar. 21, 2013 
  • Tuesday, Mar. 26, 2013 
  • Thursday, Mar. 28, 2013 

The webinars are interactive and there is a question and answer period. More sessions will be added based upon demand. New dates will be published as they are scheduled.

Click here to register.


December 7, 2012

The BC Ministry of Finance is offering the free webinar again to assist BC businesses with reimplementing PST.

Apparently earlier webinars filled up quickly, so don't wait to sign up for these additional sessions scheduled for:

Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The webinars are interactive and there is a question and answer period.

November 23, 2012

The BC government is holding a free webinar to assist BC businesses with reimplementing PST.

Topics covered will be:

  • general principles of PST
  • eTaxBC - the online service

You have two choices - Tuesday November 27 at 1:30 pm or Thursday Nov 29 at 9:30 am.

Source: BC Information Bulletin 2012FIN0052-001835 dated Nov 22, 2012


Unofficial Consolidation of New PST Act

March 1, 2013

Unofficial Consolidation of New PST Act contains consolidated versions of reflecting amendments made in Bill 2:

  • the Provincial Sales Tax Act which includes PST Regulation and PST Exemption and Refund Regulation
  • the Motor Fuel Tax Act
  • the New Housing Transition Tax and Rebate Act

The government announced Friday, "The legislation and regulations to re-implement the PST on April 1, 2013 are now complete, giving businesses all the information they need to successfully transition to the PST."

Deloitte has a good article summarizing the main categories of exemptions in the Regulations. Read more ...


PST Act Tabled in Legislature

February 14, 2013

Reimplementing PST requires passing of the new act which includes transitional provisions and final amendments which have been previously published. Yesterday, the BC government tabled Bill 2 - Provincial Sales Tax Transitional Provisions and Amendments Act, 2013.

The draft act released in January is no longer available.

Draft PST Act Released

January 9, 2013

The BC  Government released the draft of the PST Act. The Act will be introduced to the legislature in February 2013.

Click here for your draft copy of the act. It is in pdf format so downloads as soon as you click on their link. You will find it under the Legislation section towards the bottom of the page.

March 2, 2012

PST Legislation is Introduced in BC

Bill 54 - 2012 Provincial Sales Tax Act was introduced on May 14 to re-introduce BC residents to PST on April 1, 2013. The bill modernizes the administration of the tax allowing online registration and remittance and coordinating the due dates with GST. It also allows you to register using your federal business number.

The government will start accepting online registrations for PST in January of 2013.

Ernst & Young have an excellent summary of all the proposed changes involved with reimplementing PST at> Services> Tax>Tax Alerts> BC Tables PST Legislation No. 26 May 15, 2012.

Two PST Notices Released - Vehicles & Real Property Contractors

February 18, 2013

Notice 2013-002, PST on Vehicles, is a new notice that provides information on how PST applies to vehicles (other than multijurisdictional vehicles registered under the International Registration Plan). It covers:

  • Vehicles Purchased at a Private Sale in BC
  • Vehicles Purchased from GST Registrants in BCVehicles Leased in BC
  • Vehicles Acquired Outside of BC and Brought into BC
  • Vehicles Received as Gifts
  • Trade-ins
  • Modified Vehicles

The notice explains that "there will be exemptions from PST in certain situations including, but not limited to, vehicles:

  • gifted between immediate family members
  • gifted to registered charities
  • won as part of a lottery or prize
  • received as part of the distribution of a deceased’s estate
  • transferred between closely related companies
  • purchased solely for the purpose of resale

If the vendor is a PST registrant, the vendor collects the sales tax; otherwise the tax is paid when the vehicle is registered or "the last day of the month following the month in which you purchased or received the vehicle" - whichever is earliest.


Notice 2013-003, Real Property Contractors, is a new notice that provides an overview of how the PST applies to goods purchased, brought, sent or received in BC by real property contractors and used to improve real property. It includes various definitions as well as:

  • general rules and transitional for real property contractors; general rule - " As a real property contractor, you must pay PST because you are the user of the goods used to fulfill the contract. For the purposes of the PST, supplying and installing goods under a contract to improve real property is NOT a sale of those goods to your customer. Therefore, you are not eligible for the exemption for goods acquired for resale." 
  • Real property contractors who sell goods at retail - "If a person acquires goods for resale and then subsequently uses the goods for another purpose, including fulfilling a contract as a real property contractor, the person using those goods is required to self-assess PST on the goods, unless a specific exemption applies." 
  • Exemptions for real property contractors - "Ithe contractor and their customer enter into an agreement that specifically states that the customer is liable for the PST on the goods, and the agreement sets out the purchase price of the goods. There must be written evidence of the agreement that specifically states that the customer is liable for the PST on the goods. The customer must pay PST on the greater of the contractor’s purchase price of the goods (i.e. the contractor’s cost) and the purchase price set out in the agreement."
  • How contracts with persons exempt from PST will work.

Source: BC Consumer Taxes


HST Quarterly Credit Ends As BC Sales Tax Credit Returns

January 17, 2013

Along with the likelihood of higher income taxes returning to BC residents as HST transitions back to PST and GST, the HST quarterly credit  will return to the annual BC sales tax credit, previously at $75/year for person, $150 for a couple.

The BC HST credit was combined with the federal GST credit for a maximum $230 per person per year ($57.50/quarter). The credit was tied to income and reduced as thresholds were met.

This is a loss to low income individuals and families.

You can find more on both credits at under taxes and rebates.


PST Registration is now open

January 2, 2013

PST registration began today. You can register in person, by mail, by fax or online.

Click here to go to eTaxBC.

Click here to get your mail in/fax application.

If you want to register in person, go to any ServiceBC office.


PST Rates and PST Bulletin 001 Released

September 30, 2012 (Updated October 1, 2012)

The BC Government's website has released the PST rates that will go into effect on April 1, 2013 when reimplementing PST. You will also find a general description of what it will be applied to.

Click here for the PST rate table.

The news release stated that "businesses that provide taxable goods, software or services will generally be required to be registered and to charge and collect the PST on their sales and leases"

Bookkeeping and accounting services, as mentioned in an earlier post, will once again be exempt from PST. Legal services will continue to attract PST just like they did under the old PST tax regime (Social Service Tax Act).

Online registration begins January 2, 2013. (Registration is now open.) Under the new system, you'll be able to pay online through most banks.

Get a summary overview here ...

Get more detailed information in Bulletin PST 001 about the registration rules and requirements, some of which are subject to legislative and regulatory approval.


3 PST Notices - Accommodation,  MRDT and Software

December 21, 2012

The BC Ministry of Finance released three PST notices yesterday.

PST Notice 2012-022 Accommodation sets the tax rate at 8%. It is no longer the separate tax known as the provincial hotel room tax ... but is incorporated into the PST.

The notice defines which types of accommodation attracts the tax ... pretty much all short term accommodation offerings.

The exemptions as stated in the notice are:

  • Accommodation provided by a person who offers less than 4 units of accommodation in the province (regardless of how many units are actually sold on any given night)
  • Accommodation where the cost of the accommodation is $30 or less per day, or $210 or less per week
  • Accommodation provided to the same person for a continuous period of more than one month
  • Accommodation provided in hospitals, assisted living residences as defined in the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, and in long term care facilities
  • Accommodation in a ship or train while the ship or train is in transit or is making a scheduled stopover in B.C.

PST Notice 2012-023 Municipal & Regional District Tax

The up to 2% MRDT levied on behalf of municipalities, regional districts and eligible entities, such as non-profit tourism associations, to raise revenue for local tourism marketing, programs and projects will continue after April 1, 2013 and will also be incorporated into the PST. The program will continue unchanged, other than the due date for remitting the tax will change to correspond to the due date for remitting PST.

Accommodation providers must charge and collect this tax where applicable. The exemptions are the same as listed above in notice 022.

Sales of accommodation will be subject to the 5% GST. The 8% PST and the MRDT imposed under the PST Act will NOT be included in the purchase price for determining the amount of GST payable.

The MRDT return will be separate from the PST return. You will be required to file a separate return for each community if you operate in more than one community.

The MRDT return and remittances are due at the same time as PST and GST/HST returns ... the last day of the month following the reporting period.

PST Notice 2012-024 Software

Software is subject to 7% PST and is defined as a software program that is delivered or accessed by any means. Examples of software include source code, executable code, operating system software, application software, “apps” and gaming software.

Electronic device is defined as a device by which a person may use software. It does not matter whether the software is downloaded to the electronic device or accessed remotely by the electronic device. Examples of electronic devices include desktop computers, gaming devices and mobile devices, such as smart phones, tablets and laptop computers.

Software does not include eBooks or live webinars. These are discussed in PST Notice 018 on telecommunications.

Exemptions include:

  • Custom and custom modified software
  • Software used for the purpose of being processed, fabricated, manufactured or incorporated into other software for the purpose of retail sale, or goods for the purpose of retail sale or lease.
  • Services provided to software, including installation and modification services.

Where a seller of  software is located outside of BC or the software is purchased for multijurisdictional use, purchasers may be required to self-assess tax.


2 Notices to the Tobacco Industry - Inventory Reporting Requirements

December 19, 2012

The BC Ministry of Finance issued two notices to the Tobacco Industry; one for retailers and one for wholesalers.

Notice 2012-019, Notice to Tobacco Retail Dealers AND Notice 2012-021, Notice to Tobacco Wholesale Dealers discuss inventory reporting requirements for dealers who hold a Tobacco Retail Authorization (TRA) certificate or a Tobacco Wholesale Dealer (TWD) permit.

Dealers will be "required to take an inventory of the unsold tobacco products you hold in BC immediately after midnight on March 31, 2013. You must then report your inventory to the ministry and remit the difference between the security you paid when you purchased the tobacco and the tax you will be required to collect on the tobacco you sell on or after April 1, 2013. Blackstock tobacco should not be included in the inventory.

  • The inventory return and additional security due must be received by the ministry no later than April 30, 2013.
  • If you submit your inventory return and payment on time, you will be eligible to deduct a commission of 5% of the additional security due.
  • The inventory returns and instructions for completion will be provided to you, and be available online, in March 2013."

With the re-implementation of the PST, the provincial portion of the HST on tobacco products will be eliminated. To offset this reduction, tobacco tax rates will increase to generally keep the overall tax on tobacco constant. The specific amount of the increase will be announced at a later date.

FYI - Notice 2012-20 does not exist ... oops!


GI-132 Elimination of the HST in BC: Builder Information Requirements for the Transition Period

December 18, 2012

GI-132 info sheet explains the written information that a vendor (including a builder or an agent of the builder) must provide to a purchaser of new housing, or an interest in such housing, in B.C. where:


Notice 2012-018 Telecommunication Services

December 13, 2013

Notice 2012-018 Telecommunication Services was released today. You also want to refer to Notice 2012-010 Transitional Rules for the Reimplementation of PST for purchase of telecommunication services that straddle April 1, 2013.

Telecommunication services are defined as:

  • Digital download and/or viewing of audio books, audio programs (e.g. radio programming or pod-casts ), music (e.g. iTunes) and ring tones, and TV programming, movies and other videos (e.g. Netflix);  downloaded webcasts (the recorded version of a live webinar) are considered a digital product.
  • Sending or receiving telecommunications by an electronic device such as phone and fax, TV, radio, internet access, email and text messaging services; and
  • Sending or receiving telecommunications such as phone calls and faxes, TV and radio signals, emails and text messages (including where the message is not limited to text by means of an electronic device situated in BC.)

Generally,Telecommunication Services will be subject to 7% PST. Billing address of cell phones determines where the service is situated. For example, if the billing address is in BC, the service is considered to be situated in BC. PST applies to the purchase price which includes:

  • Sign up
  • Access
  • Air Time
  • Usage
  • Service
  • Other charges related to the use of, or right to use, the service

Reimplementing PST pertaining to telecommunication services previously exempt will apply as follows:

  • Electronic books other than audio ... Whoop! Whoop!
  • Live (not recorded) online lectures / webinars ... Whoop! Whoop! 
  • Qualifying streaming educational programs
  • Telecommunications services purchased for resale
  • 1-800, 1-888, and 1-877 phone and fax services if acquired for business use. Personal and domestic use are not exempt.
  • Local residential land line telephone services including features such as call waiting
  • Basic cable TV services - excludes services over basic service AND satellite or internet TV

See the notice for more information.


Notice 2012-017 Restaurant Industry

December 12, 2013

Notice 2012-017 Restaurant Industry was released yesterday. You also want to refer to Notice 2012-009 Notice to Liquor Vendors.

The restaurant industry will be subject to 10% PST for sales of liquor of:

  • Beer, wine, spirits
  • Liqueurs, ciders and coolers
  • Mixed drinks
  • Any beverage with an alcohol content greater than 1%

You will pay PST on taxable goods and services for use in your business.

Foods for human consumption are PST exempt and include non-alcoholic beverages, snack foods, meals, prepared foods including any disposable or non-reusable materials as part of a customer's food purchase, liquor incorporated into food for resale such as cooking wines.

See the notice for more information.


List of What's Taxable and What's Not

November 29, 2012

Download this handy reference listing of everyday items and services. It compares items before HST, during HST and after HST broken down by categories:

  • Around the house list
  • Clothing, footwear and accessories list
  • Food and beverages list
  • Home services list
  • Accommodation and Travel list
  • Motorized Vehicles list
  • Home Purchases list
  • Health and Beauty list
  • Memberships, Entertainment and Sports Equipment list
  • Leases and Rentals list
  • Electronics list
  • Other services list
  • Tobacco list
  • Banking and Insurance list

This reimplementing PST list is a keeper!!!


Notice 2012-016 Related Services

November 29,2012

Notice 2012-016 Related Services was released today.

Related services will be subject to 7% PST. It is defined as services provided to tangible personal property (goods), such as:

  • repair,
  • adjustment,
  • restoration,
  • reconditioning,
  • refinishing and maintenance services, and
  • services provided to install goods.

The general rule is if a good is taxable when purchased, services provided to that item are also taxable.

Related services do NOT include:

  • services provided to install goods that will become an improvement to real property on installation,
  • services provided by a person to the person’s employer in the course of their employment, or
  • services to manufacture goods that are fundamentally different from the goods from which they were manufactured.

Related service exemptions are:

  • Services to goods that a PST registrant stores, keeps or retains for the purpose of resale or lease
  • Services to most exempt goods
  • Cleaning services
  • Services to clothing and footwear
  • Services to the following household appliances and goods: refrigerators, stoves, ovens, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, freezers, vacuums, rug cleaners, rugs and carpets, and curtains and drapes
  • Services to most affixed machinery
  • Services to animals

See the notice for more information.


PST Notice 015 Notice to Propane Purchasers and Sellers

November 16, 2012

Ministry of Finance issued reimplementing PST Notice 2012-015, Notice to Propane Purchasers and Sellers.

It explains how propane will be taxed under the Motor Fuel Tax Act. Items discussed are:

  • Propane includes LPGs.
  • Propane will be taxed at 2.7 cents per litre.
  • Exemptions include propane purchased for use in a residential dwelling, qualified farmers, sealed 4 litre or less containers, and cylinders designed to hold 28 litres of propane.
  • Propane sellers must pay a security deposit and be appointed as a collector of propane.
  • Propane seller inventory reporting requirements and security payment on inventory


CRA GST/HST Notice 276 Revised

November 16, 2012

Reimplementing PST has transitional rules for BC home builders that went into effect on April 1, 2012.

The CRA revised GST/HST Notice 276, Elimination of the HST in British Columbia in 2013 – Transitional Rules for Real Property Including New Housing to reflect regulations made under the New Housing Transition Tax and Rebate Act (British Columbia) and the Excise Tax Act.

For convenience of reference, all new and revised questions and answers are identified as such. They didn't put the reference in red print though so if you want to quickly find the new or revised information, I suggest you pull up the page and do a search on the words "new" or "revised".

This notice covers the new disclosure requirements in detail. Additional obligations and requirements for builders and their agents were introduced. Penalties for failing to comply are steep, so it is important to review these new / revised regulations.

If you don't like slogging through CRA publications, KPMG has an excellent TaxNewsFlash summarizing the disclosure obligations and requirements. To locate the article, type in KPMG's search box "BC Home Builders" and you should get the November 15, 2012 article on Transitioning Back To GST/PST.


October 10, 2012

CRA released GST/HST NOTICE 276, Elimination of the HST in British Columbia in 2013 – Transitional Rules for Real Property Including New Housing yesterday.

This publication provides questions and answers that reflect the tax changes set out in the New Housing Transition Tax and Rebate Act.

It is located under Forms and publications> Document type> 14. GST/HST Notices> Notice276.

Information and links to all CRA notices pertaining to BC's transition back to PST + GST can be located at About CRA> Changes to Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).


PST Notice 014 Legal Service

November 6, 2012

Ministry of Finance issued PST Notice 2012-014, Legal Services.

It provides a general overview of the application of the PST to purchases of legal services. Items discussed are:

  • Defining what legal services are
  • How legal services purchased in BC will be taxed
  • How legal services purchased outside BC will be taxed
  • Legal services will be taxed at 7% and includes all fees, charges and disbursements for legal research and secretarial or other support services that relate to BC
  • Fees and charge for the transmission, printing, or copying of documents are excluded from the 7% PST as well as legal services related outside the jurisdiction of BC
  • Legal services provided to an individual that are partly paid for by the Legal Services Society (Legal Aid) or by a funded agency within the meaning of the Legal Services Society Act are exempt
  • Lawyers will charge and collect  the PST tax; BC residents will self-assess legal services purchased outside of BC.


PST Notice 013 Tangible Personal Property (Goods) Brought Into BC

November 1, 2012

Ministry of Finance issued PST Notice 2012-013, Tangible Personal Property (Goods) Brought Into British Columbia.

It provides a general overview of the application of the PST to purchases of goods, other than leased goods. Items discussed for reimplementing PST are:

  • How goods brought or delivered to BC will be taxed
  • Examples of taxable goods are given but generally any goods brought, sent or delivered into BC for use in BC. Tax applies to the purchase price which includes transportation and freight charges, customs and brokerage fees and other costs prior to use in BC. For example, pet food shipped into the province is taxable.
  • A list of permanent exemptions such as all food for human consumption including vitamins, bicycles, newspapers, magazines and books; household effects from a residential move, inheritances.
  • How the paying and collecting of the PST tax will work.

Tangible personal property is defined as personal property that you can see, weigh, measure, feel or touch, or that is in any other way perceptible to the senses—generally, all goods. Tangible personal property also includes natural or manufactured gas, heat, electricity and affixed machinery, but does not include real property. Real property is land and any items permanently attached to land (buildings and structures).


PST Notices 2012-11 and 2012-12

October 30, 2012

Ministry of Finance issued two new bulletins today. Some of the rules and requirements described in these notices about reimplementing PST are subject to legislative and regulatory approval.

Notice 2012-011, Purchases of Tangible Personal Property (Goods) in British Columbia gives an overview on the following items:

Notice 2012-012, Leases of Tangible Personal Property (Goods) discusses:

  • What tangible personal property is
  • What a lease is
  • The leasing of goods in BC and how it will taxed
  • The leasing of goods brought into BC and how it will be taxed
  • The taxing of vehicle leased outside BC but registered for use in BC
  • The tax rates for leased goods including the sliding scale for vehicles
  • Examples of taxable goods
  • Lists the permanent exemptions that will be re-introduced; time-limited exemptions will NOT be re-implemented
  • The imposition of the passenger vehicle rental tax
  • How the paying and collecting of the PST will work


Bulletin PST 002, Charging, Collecting and Remitting PST

October 22, 2012

Bulletin PST 002 explains the rules and requirements coming into effect with the reimplementation of PST on April 1, 2013. Some of the rules and requirements are subject to legislative and regulatory approval.

You can find the bulletin at> Finance> Revenue> Consumer Tax> What's New Section 2012> Bulletin PST 002


Plan Now For Tax Savings Opportunities

The Bookkeeper's Tip
A Good Bookkeeping Practice  

If you are planning on any capital purchases for 2013, make them AND pay for them before April 1, 2013. You will be able to claim your FULL HST ITC.

Capital purchases made after March 31, 2012 will only be able to recover 5% of the 12% sales taxes (GST + PST) charged.

October 17, 2012

Ernst & Young's latest TaxAlert publication provides key highlights regarding the October 15th release of the transitional rules for reimplementing of BC PST. It lays out the rules in ordinary English.

At the end of the newsletter, they also provide 4 planning opportunities.

One of the points the newsletters explains that PST can be reduced in the short-term by prepaying for goods and services prior to April 1, 2013 ... however they warn that there is a difference between deposits and pre-payment.

You can find the downloadable newsletter at> Services> Tax> Tax Alert -Canada latest tax issues (on the right (not left) hand side navigation bar)> No 43 October 17, 2012


August 23, 2012

Deloitte's release an update titled BC PST implementation timeline: Update and planning opportunities on August 20, 2012.

It is worth a read as it has "6 planning opportunities that should be considered and executed right now in order to generate tax savings".

You can find the downloadable article at> global> Canada> services> tax> tax publications> BC PST implementation timeline: Update and planning opportunities.


General Transitional Rules for Reimplementing PST (Notice 2012-010)

October 15, 2012

Consumer Taxes of BC released Notice 2012-010 General Transitional Rules for Reimplementing PST today. This is what the news release said:

"This notice provides a general overview of the PST and general descriptions of transitional rules for reimplementing PST, other than transitional rules related to housing. The transitional rules describe how and when PST will apply to transactions that straddle April 1, 2013. These rules should be read in conjunction with the transitional rules for the elimination of the HST in BC released by the federal government. The rules outlined in this notice are subject to the approval of the legislature."

With the exception of new housing there will not be a transitional period as there was when HST was introduced. It is a simple cutoff date of April 1, 2013. New housing transitional rules went into effect on April 1, 2012.

The notice is located on the provincial website> Finance> Revenue> Consumer Taxes> What's New>Notice 2012-010.

The Ministry of Finance also released Information Bulletin 2012FIN0044-001561 -- New tools help BC businesses prepare for PST return.



October 14, 2012

While catching up on my reading about reimplementing PST in BC next year, I came across a report published by The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary. Their SPP Research Paper ...Volume 5 Issue 28 September 2012 was titled "2012 Annual Global Tax Competiveness Ranking – A Canadian Good News Story" by Cuanjie Chen and Jack Mintz.

Here is the summary:

"Since 2000, Canada has been remarkably successful in building a more competitive corporate tax system, principally by lowering tax rates and broadening the tax base. Canada’s marginal effective tax rate (METR) is now the lowest, and hence the most tax-competitive among the G-7, the 20th most tax-competitive in the 34-member OECD, and 57th among the 90 countries surveyed in this paper. The result has been greater investment and improved economic growth despite recessionary pressures. In particular, provincial sales tax harmonization with the GST has heightened Ontario’s competitiveness and promises to do the same for PEI, the latest convert to the cause. However, progress has not been uniform. Some provincial governments have lost focus by raising rates or introducing tax preferences that narrow the base, inevitably harming business efficiency. British Columbia’s decision to replace the new Harmonized Sales Tax with the old retail sales tax will cost it dearly, especially when it comes to public spending. [my emphasis] On the other hand, corporate tax rate reductions of more than 30 percent (since 2000) have, contrary to the critics’ cries, failed to make an appreciable dent in tax revenues thanks to multinationals’ habit of shifting profits to Canada to take advantage of lower rates. This paper, in providing a candid snapshot of Canadian taxation measured against 89 other nations, serves as an invaluable foundation for understanding how far this country has come, and what its next steps should be."

You can read the entire report on The School of Public Policy's website ( under Research&Publications> 2012> 2012 Annual Global Tax Competiveness Ranking – A Canadian Good News Story.


PST Exemptions Announced

October 5, 2012

The BC Government announced the permanent exemptions from the previous PST will be re-implemented. The regulations to establish these exemptions are being finalized.

PST exemptions include:

  • goods purchased for resale or lease
  • goods incorporated into goods for resale
  • bicycles
  • kid's clothing
  • magazines, books and newspapers
  • basic groceries
  • restaurant meals
  • sale of real property
  • professional services like accounting and bookkeeping -- the exception: legal services are PST taxable
  • personal services like hair cuts, fitness trainer and funeral services
  • bus, train, ferry and airline fares
  • memberships and admissions

See PST Notices 011, 012, and 013 for a more detailed list of exemptions.

Most exemptions will occur at point of sale. PST registrants making a purchase of goods for resale will be required to provide their PST registration number to receive the exemption from PST at the time of purchase.

If they are a wholesaler or a vendor who has not yet received a PST registration number, they must provide an exemption certificate to receive the exemption from PST at the time of purchase, or pay PST and apply for a refund.

I'd say a good reference as to what items will attract PST or not would be the list that was published when BC transitioned to HST. On the list is a column for "PST-taxable before July 1, 2010". Click here to view the list.



Opinion: Eliminating barriers at home will help business compete globally

October 6, 2012

The Vancouver Sun had an article written by Kevin J. Clarke stating the reasons why the municipalities and regional governments need to include industry and manufacturing as part of their growth strategies to remain competitive as we transition towards reimplementing PST in this province.

You can read Mr. Clarke's opinion here ...


Notice to Liquor Vendors (Notice 2012-009)

October 3, 2012

As most British Columbians are aware, BC will be reimplementing PST on April 1, 2013. As we get closer to the date of returning to PST, more PST Notices will be released.

The latest notice is Ministry of Finance PST Notice 2012-009. It provides information to help liquor vendors understand when and how to register with the Ministry of Finance to collect and remit PST.

Some of the rules and requirements described in this notice are subject to legislative and regulatory approval.

If you sell liquor at a beer and wine or liquor store, restaurant, bar, pub, hotel or similar establishment, you are required to register for PST.

Liquor will be taxed at 10%.

Some examples of tax exempt items are juices, cocktail mixes and non-alcoholic drinks, beer & wine making supplies that are considered food for humans and refundable deposits, containers included with your sale at no charge such as shopping bags.

Update: You may also want to look at PST Notice 17 for the Restaurant Industry.


Expert Panel Calls For Tax Credit To Ease Pain

September 20, 2012 - Updated December 23, 2015

The Province had an excellent article by Laura Jones. She was a member of the Expert Panel on B.C.'s Tax Competitiveness and executive VP of CFIB.

The article, Businesses need break on new PST,  explained the panel's recommendations however it is no longer available online.

September 19, 2012

There was a good article in the Vancouver Sun yesterday titled "Panel calls for PST relief for businesses in B.C.". It outled the findings from the Expert Panel on B.C.'s Business Tax Competitiveness.

The higher costs that businesses will bear in reimplementing PST in BC will get passed onto consumers. It is likely that businesses that have a choice on where to invest will likely look elsewhere.

To reduce the likelihood of that occurring, the Panel is recommending an investment tax credit claimable over two years to level the playing field with other provinces. They are recommending a half percent rise to corporate tax rates with the idea it is better to tax profits than investments.

The Panel is also recommending widening the PST tax base by charging PST on phone and cable services, school supplies, and snack food; increasing tobacco taxes.

The idea of a Business Transfer Tax was introduced but is expected to not be embraced given it is an election year.

You can find the government's Information Bulletion 2012FIN0042-001368 summarizing the panel's interim recommendations at> Ministry of Finance> News

The final report can be found on the BC government website. Search for "Report of the Expert Panel on BC's Business Tax Competitiveness" published August 31, 2012.

Perhaps this would be a good time to read The Tax System Explained in Beer.

J. Rhys Kesselman has an excellent analysis of reimplenting PST in his two part series in "Opinion: A prescription for what ails B. C.'s economy". After reading his prescription all I can say is, "I want HST to stay!". Part one in the series was titled "Grim diagnosis for B.C. revenues" and is not longer available online.


BC New Housing & Residential Rentals Rebates

Septemeber 7, 2012

CRA GST/HST technical publications regarding proposed enhancements to new housing rebates and residential rental property rebates in B.C. are available online. See GI-128 and GI-129 respectively.

GI-130 Stated Price Net of the Enhanced British Columbia New Housing Rules was also released.

You can access these publications at> Forms and publications> GST/HSTinfo sheets.


BC's Return to PST Legislation

June 22, 2012

The government introduced legislation on May 14, 2012, to meet government's commitment to reimplementing PST on April 1, 2013. The Provincial Sales Tax Act received Royal Assent on May 31, 2012. More information was initially reported on website at 39th 4th/3rd_read/gov54-3.

Some highlights:

  • registration, remittances, and tracking will be done online using eTaxBC
  • harmonization of remittance dates for PST and GST
  • companies are allowed to use their federal BN to register
  • commissions will be restored


BC's PST Transitional Rules - Residential Properties

June 7, 2012

You may want to take a peek at Deloitte's May 31, 2012 article (12-4) examining the impact BC's transitional rules for residential properties will have on (a) builders including self-supply, (b) owner built homes and (c) home buyers of primary residences and recreational properties.

I find the site difficult to move around in. So the easiest way to find the article is to type "BC PST" in the search box and look for the article titled Transitional rules for residential properties: Return to BC PST or you can hunt around> Indirect tax> Indirect tax (GST, HST, PST or VAT). (Editor's note - May, 2017 - This article is no longer available on the website.)

In February, Deloitte released an article outlining the transitional rules surrounding reimplementing PST.


Transitional Rules To Eliminate BC HST Announced

March 20, 2012

CRA release Notice 272 today, Harmonized Sales Tax – Proposed Enhancements to the British Columbia New Housing Rebates and New Residential Rental Property Rebates.


February 27, 2012

CRA release Notice 270 today, Elimination of the HST in British Columbia in 2013 - Questions and Answers. There are three parts to the notice:

  1. Information for businesses
  2. Information for consumers
  3. General - Real property

You can find the release under Forms and Publications> Publications listed by publication number> N.

February 17, 2012

The Department of Finance, along with the B.C. government, released "the proposed transitional rules [that] specify how and when the BC component of the HST would cease to apply to transactions that straddle that date".

April 1, 2013 is the "that date" ... the date B.C. returns back to the old archaic system of double taxation and tax cascading. Is it a coincidence it is the same day as April Fool's Day?

Here is the link to the transitional rules announced so far:

Transitional Rules Relating to the Elimination of the HST in British Columbia.

BC Government's announcement can be found here:

Transition Measures Support New-home Buyers, Builders.

KPMG's NewsFlash is also excellent:

B.C. Announces HST-PST Transitional Measures.

For background information on reimplementing PST in BC, see the August 22, 2011 postings below.


BC Voted to Retract HST
BC Returns to PST April 1, 2013

March 2, 2012

HST Notice #13 - Grant for Purchasers of New Residential Housing Used as a Secondary or Recreational Residence was released today by the B.C. government.


February 27, 2012

PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) released two Canadian tax update memos last week:

Eliminating the HST in British Columbia - Canada's Department of Finance proposes transitional rules (PWC Memo No:2012-06).

Returning to B.C.'s Provincial Sales Tax - Transitional rules for new housing (PWC Memo No: 2012-05).

They can be found on their website at> publications> tax memos.

Februrary 24, 2012

The provincial government released more details on new home purchases and returning to PST on their website .

See>Buying goods> Buying a Home> New Home Purchases for a user friendly explanation with excellent diagrams.

For the formal notice see HST Notice #12 - Enhanced New Housing Rebates and Transitional Rules for the Re-­‐‑implementation of the British Columbia Provincial Sales Tax.

February 17, 2012

April Fool's Day, April 1, 2013, is the date set for BC to return to PST. Transitional rules on our way to reimplementing PST have been introduced effective April 1, 2012.

Deloitte's has a good summary of the initial transitional rules announced by CRA in their February 20, 2012 Canada Indirect Tax News. The article is titled Return to BC PST: Transitional rules for residential properties.

"In general, HST will continue to apply to goods and services which are paid for or invoiced prior to April 1, 2013. GST (and PST, if applicable) will apply to goods or services invoiced after March 31, 2013.

HST will apply to lease payments that become due before April 1, 2013. GST (and PST, if applicable) will apply to lease payments that become due after March 31, 2013.

The HST will continue to apply to sales of real property where ownership or possession transfers prior to April 1, 2013. Where both ownership and possession transfer after March 31, 2013, only the GST will apply. The same timeline applies to deemed self-supplies of real property, for situations where a builder must self-assess tax.

The BC component of the HST will not apply to goods or services acquired outside of BC for use in the province after March 31, 2013, nor will it apply to goods or services imported prior to March 31, 2013 where payment is due after March 31, 2013.

It should be noted that the general transitional rules for the re-implementation of BC PST (when PST will start to apply to goods and services) have not yet been announced."

Read more here


September 1, 2011

On August 26, 2011, the Department of Finance Canada released the proposed transitional rules to reimplement PST in BC. They can be located at> Publications & reports> Transitional Rules Relating to the Elimination of the HST in BC .

Ernst & Young has an excellent write-up on "what we know at this time" and "what to be concerned about" with regards to how BC will reimplement PST.

At the conclusion of the article, the following comment was made:

"It is widely agreed by economists, tax policy experts and tax professionals that reverting back to the PST + GST system is a significant step backwards for BC. It will negatively impact both job creation and economic growth not only in BC, but in the rest of Canada as well.

It is also widely recognized that going back to PST + GST as opposed to keeping the pure HST value-added tax system will give pure GST/HST provinces like Ontario and Alberta a significant competitive tax advantage over BC as a place to invest and do business. This is particularly true with respect to the film and television and high- tech industries.

However, because this is the path that has been chosen by BC voters, all businesses in and outside BC that sell to customers in the province need to prepare for the reintroduction of the PST. All affected businesses should start thinking about how this policy change will affect their operations, systems, customers, budgets, staff, etc. and start the process of converting to operating once again in a GST and PST jurisdiction."

Read their excellent article at> Publication> Tax Alert - Canada 2011 Issue No. 31 30 August 2011> Turning back the clock: BC to extinguish HST and reinstate provincial sales tax.

BC Votes To Retract HST

August 22, 2012

The votes are in and counted. BC voted against the HST in the recent referendum. Results were released today.

In about 18 months ... businesses need time to change their systems back, federal and BC governments need time to create transition rules, and BC government needs time to hire PST staff back ... BC will revert back to 5% GST and 7% PST.

The BC HST credit is now an annual credit of $230 per family member for individuals with incomes up to $20,000 and families with incomes up to $25,000. The credit is phased out by 4 per cent of income above the thresholds. I expect it will revert back to a $75 sales tax credit when you file your income tax return.

I need time to process this. I hope this vote does not result in income tax increases ... but how else will we pay back $1.6 billion back to the federal government?

I expect that companies will make plans to move to Alberta or Ontario where they can recoup their entire sales tax amount ... something they won't be able to do here. Our ability to compete on the international market will also be handicapped.

If a business has to choose where they are going to invest capital infrastructure ... BC will now fall way down the list. In my mind, the jobs follow the capital investment.

This is how I see it. Capital investment brings jobs. Jobs allow people discretionary income. Discretionary income creates spending. Spending creates profits. Profits creates better paying jobs.

When the cycle reverses, jobs are the first thing to disappear. I heard people were perturbed because it cost more to eat in a restaurant. If jobs are reduced, the discretionary income to eat in restaurants is the first thing to go.

With the HST killed, BC will now revert back to the archaic system of double taxation and tax cascading. Wow. I need time to process this.

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