Provincial Sales Tax update: Auditor training, liaison officers available to help

Issues surrounding the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) constitute the majority of single-issue calls into our B.C. office. Because of this, the PST file is one of our legislative team’s main focuses. While there is still much work to be done, here is an update of some of our wins from the past year:

  • The introduction of PST Community Liaison Officers, whose attendance you can request to review your books and processes—with no risk of penalty!
  • Review of PST documentation and handouts for clarity and simplicity.
  • The creation of mandatory Small Business Sensitivity Training for all auditors at the PST branch—you can check out the training presentation they receive.
  • Scheduled recurrent monthly meetings with the executive director of the Consumer Taxation Audit Branch to discuss member’s concerns and files.

Real property contractors

The most common audit-related call that we receive surrounds real property contractors. If you sell goods like blinds, carpets and doors and offer installation onto “real property” (land or something permanently affixed to the land – that will become permanent as well), you are a real property contractor. Here’s how it works:

  • Wholesale of goods only: Do not charge PST.
  • Installation of goods onto real property: Do not charge PST.
  • Retail sale of goods to customer: Charge PST.
  • Retail sale of goods and installation of goods onto real property: Do not charge PST.

Confused yet? Our contacts at the PST branch say the simplest way to avoid any issues is to pay PST on all of your purchases, and then apply for a monthly refund with the government.

If you have a question in regards to a certain situation, getting a written ruling from the PST department is a good way to get insurance on their advice.