The provincial NDP say that the time it has taken to re-implement the PST is ridiculous; and the BC Liberals say they have moved through a very complex process as quickly as possible.
But while the politicians argue the timeline, the fact is that on April 1, 2013, the HST will be gone and the former PST system will return.
For consumers the transition will be simple, and for most, less expensive, as all previous exemptions under the PST (which were subject to HST) will return.
Consumers will once again not pay PST on purchases like food, restaurant meals, bicycles, gym memberships, movie tickets, and others, nor for personal services like haircuts.
Locally, it will mean buyers no longer have to pay HST on resort homes, something which local real estate agents had lobbied heavily against.
Tourism operators such as golf courses, rafting companies and ski hills will no longer have to charge HST, something the industry had maintained was hurting the bottom line, especially in regions close to the Alberta border such as the East Kootenay.
For business however, the provincial government always maintained that the HST was simpler and a time-saver.
While all exemptions etc. return for consumers, the provincial government is tweaking the legislation that returns British Columbia to the former PST system to make it more simple and convenient for business.
New measures to improve the PST include:
New online access for businesses, including the ability to register, update their account, and make payments.
The due date for tax remittance and returns for monthly filers will be moved to the last day of the month to match GST remittance, simplifying administration for business.
The Hotel Room Tax (eight per cent, as it was before July 2010) will now be incorporated into the PST—no more separate registration, remittance or returns, reducing paperwork.
Businesses can register with their federal business number, making registration easier.
Retailers will be allowed to refund tax to customers in a broader range of circumstances.
Businesses that collect and remit tax will again receive commission of up to $198 per reporting period (typically monthly).
In the past two months, a number of notices have been posted by the government, to assist in the transition back to PST.
They include Notice to Liquor Vendors: BC Returns to PST on April 1, 2013; General Transitional Rules for the Reimplementation of the PST; Purchases of Tangible Personal Property (Goods) in British Columbia; Leases of Tangible Personal Property (Goods); Tangible Personal Property (Goods) Brought Into British Columbia; Legal Services; Propane Purchasers and Sellers; Registering to Collect Provincial Sales Tax; Charging, Collecting and Remitting PST
Links to these publications, FAQs, an online sign-up form for one-on- one tax consultations for business, along with additional information about the return to the PST, can be found in the business outreach section of: www.PSTinBC.ca
More bulletins and notices on the application of PST in specific circumstances will be added as they become available, so check the website often, or subscribe to email updates at the What’s New page at: www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/msbr/whats_new/consumer_taxes/whatsnew.htm
If you have questions about the return to PST, you can call toll-free at 1 877 388-4440, or email your questions to: CTBTaxQuestions@gov.bc.ca