Today, April 1, 2013, is the official implementation day for the new Provincial Sales Tax (“PST”), and returns British Columbia to a  two-tax PST and Goods and Services Tax (“GST”) system.   The province has now returned to a combined 12 per cent PST and GST tax system (i.e. 7% PST and 5% GST), following the referendum decision by British Columbians to extinguish the HST.

The enabling legislation has provided for a transition period, that  is expected to take a minimum of 18 months, consistent with the report of the independent panel on the HST. During this period, the provincial portion of the HST will remain in place at seven per cent.

In practical terms, there are a number of matters that all PST registrants should keep in mind:

bullet elimination of the BC HST credit
bullet re-implementation of the BC Sales Tax Credit
bullet BC basic personal amount tax credit enhancement will be reversed
bullet tobacco tax rates adjusted to keep price levels consistent
bullet 12% tax on private sales of vehicles, boats and aircraft will continue
bullet 10% PST rate on liquor will be reinstated
bullet tax on propane, at 2.7 cents per litre, will be re-implemented.

There are other changes being made to improve the PST from its earlier days, including:

bullet new online access for business, including registration, account updates, and online payments
bullet due dates for remittances and returns for monthly filers will be moved to the last day of the month to match GST remittances
bullet 8% Hotel Room Tax will be incorporated into the PST instead of requiring separate registration, remittances and returns
bullet businesses will be able to register with their federal business number
bullet retailers will be allowed to refund tax to customers in a broader range of circumstances
bullet business that collect and remit tax will again receive commission of up to $198 per reporting period

Further PST information is available from the Province of British Columbia.