B.C. businesses prepare for return to provincial tax

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For those business owners who are finally used to the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), there's some bad news.

A recent survey conducted by the B.C. Chamber of Commerce has revealed that 63 per cent of businesses do not feel prepared for the transition back to the Provincial Sales Tax (PST), which happens on April 1, 2013.

“There are many PST resources now available that B.C. businesses need to avail themselves of and be made aware of,” said John Winter, president and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce.

“Many new businesses in B.C. have never collected the PST, and need brought up to speed so that consumers are not negatively impacted at the cash register come April.”

More than 100,000 businesses will need to register to collect the PST, and an estimated 30,000 of those are new businesses that have only existed under the HST tax system implemented July 1, 2010.

In total, 970 businesses across B.C. took part in the PST business survey. Of those, 62 per cent were not aware of the changes that will be made to the PST, and 73 per cent did not feel they had received adequate information.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for chambers of commerce to work cooperatively with the provincial government to make sure this knowledge gap is filled,” said Winter.

“Together, we can ensure that the coming transition is a smooth one.”

A new provincial sales tax notice was issued to businesses in October providing general descriptions of transition rules for the  re-implementation of the PST.

The transitional rules describe how and when PST applies to transactions that straddle April 1, 2013, and should be read in conjunction with federal transitional rules for the elimination of the HST in B.C.

Interactive webinars are being held this month that can help business owners get up to speed.

Those webinars are held from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Jan. 15, 17, 22, and 24.

People are encouraged to register for a webinar or a one-on-one consultation with a PST expert by calling 1-877-388-4440 or visiting

More information on the return to PST and links to related publications can be found at


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