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Government resources for coming PST return

The government of B.C. is reaching out to businesses to help them prepare for the return of the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) with all permanent exemptions on April 1, 2013.

Government increased business outreach activities in October and November to explain the timeline for re-implementation of the PST, what assistance is available to business, how to register, and to promote the new e-services option, eTaxBC.

This new online service will make administration of the sales tax easier for businesses. Starting Jan. 2, 2013, eTaxBC services will be available for online registration.

Chambers of commerce and business organizations are being offered special seminars covering the general principals of the PST and eTaxBC. Six were held in November and more are under development.

Here are some of the return to PST tools and services that are now available to help keep businesses informed during the transition:

• Book a one-on-one consultation with a ministry tax specialist. So far over 800 requests have been received and over 160 consultations have been completed.

• Participate in an online webinar covering the general principles of the PST and eTaxBC. Over 300 businesses have registered for webinars, three webinars have been held and more are being scheduled for December.

• Call the toll-free number with questions about the new PST (1 877 388-4440). Thousands of questions from businesses have already been answered.

• View the video: Returning to the PST - An Overview for Business.

• View the new notices and bulletins on the application of PST and related exemptions.

• Email questions to: CTBTaxQuestions@gov.bc.ca

Letters were mailed out to over 160,000 B.C. businesses in late September advising how to get information on the return to PST, and government has reached out to chambers of commerce and business associations to offer presentations with information businesses need for the transition.

Provincial legislation/regulations:

A new provincial sales tax notice, “General Transitional Rules for the Re-Implementation of the Provincial Sales Tax”, was issued in October.

This notice provides 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 Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in B.C. The rules outlined in the notice are subject to the approval of the legislative assembly.

The Ministry of Finance continues to work on developing the regulations, and transitional and consequential amendments to support the Provincial Sales Tax Act, which received royal assent on May 31, 2012. Government plans to publicly release a final proposed version of the Provincial Sales Tax Act with proposed amendments in late December. All amendments to legislation require the approval of the legislative assembly, expected in spring 2013.

Business transition:

More than 100,000 businesses will need to register to collect the PST, and about 30,000 of those are new businesses that have only existed under an HST tax system. They will need to learn to administer the PST in tandem with the GST, and adjust their accounting and administrative systems and prepare to collect a second sales tax, as of Apr. 1, 2013.

More information can be found at www.PSTinBC.ca.

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