PST returning to BC – What you need to know

The provincial sales tax (PST) will be re-implemented on April 1, 2013, following the results of the 2011 referendum.  The return to a PST and GST system in BC is complex and CFIB is lobbying government to ensure the transition for our members goes smoothly.

The BC Government has announced a series of measures to improve PST including:

  • The due date for tax remittance and returns 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).

What to expect

Once implemented, PST rules will for the most part be the same as before, applying to all the same goods and services.

All PST exemptions will also be re-implemented, including:

  • Basic groceries and prepared food e.g. restaurant meals
  • Personal services such as haircuts, dry cleaning and funeral services
  • Admissions and memberships
  • Bicycles
  • Print media including newspapers and magazines

PST will also once again be payable when a taxable good or service is acquired for personal use or business use. This will include: 

  • Purchase or lease of new or used goods  
  • Goods brought into BC for use in BC
  • Servicing of goods e.g. vehicle maintenance, furniture assembly and computer repair
  • Telecommunication services including: internet access, non-basic cable, non-residential telephone services, cell phone use, satellite services and facsimile services
  • Purchase of legal services

Preparing your business

Business outreach seminars will begin in October and will explain how the PST applies. Registration of approximately 100,000 businesses using a new online system will begin in January 2013. Businesses will be able to register and online.

Businesses owners will also need to start thinking about what changes need to be made in their business including:

  • Update sales equipment, such as cash registers, to show the two tax rates.
  • Update price lists, catalogues and other sales materials that are preprinted with the new tax information.
  • Update website or online payment software for businesses that sell products or services over the internet.
  • Update accounts payable software.
  • Update input tax credit calculations.
  • Update formulas and spreadsheets, such as expense reports.

For More Information

Information on the return to PST and quarterly progress updates are available at:

Still need more information contact 1 877 388-4440 or email