Making sense of the transition back to the PST-GST system

On April 1, 2013, the province moves back to a PST-GST tax system

By Ann Harper



In June 2011, British Columbians received a referendum ballot in their mailboxes. On Aug. 25, 2011, it was announced that a year after implementation, B.C. residents voted “yes” to extinguish the HST, and on April 1, 2013, we will officially move back to the PST-GST tax system in this province.

Unfortunately, making the move back to the PST-GST tax system won’t be a snap for small businesses and a bit of paperwork will be required.

To help make the transition easier for small businesses, here are some things that they need to know, especially for those which were formed after March 2010 and have never dealt with the PST-GST tax system before.


Are there any improvements from the “old” PST?

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

• new online access for business, including registration, account updates and online payments;

• due dates for remittances and returns for monthly filers will be moved to the last day of the month to match GST remittances;

• eight per cent Hotel Room Tax will be incorporated into the PST instead of requiring separate registration, remittances and returns;

• businesses will be able to register with their federal business number;

• retailers will be allowed to refund tax to customers in a broader range of circumstances; and

• businesses that collect and remit tax will again receive commission of up to $198 per reporting period


When does PST-GST system take effect?

• April 1, 2013. However, you could register for a new PST number as of January 2.


Can I use my old PST number?

•    No. You will need to register for a new one.


Will I still have to file HST?

•    No. You will be filing GST at 5 per cent using the same number and the same method as you do the HST


What do I need to do before April 1, 2013?

•    You need to register to for a PST number that will be 11 characters long

•    Go to E-Services online for businesses with a business number. Review the website first because you need to know certain things before you can register.

•    You can also register in person at any Service BC Centre.

•    Mail or fax 1-250-356-2195


What do I charge PST on?

•    The re-implemented PST, like the previous PST, will be a retail sales tax that is payable when a taxable good or service is acquired for personal use or business use, unless a specific exemption applies. PST generally applies to:

• the purchase or lease of new or used goods;

• goods brought into B.C. for use in B.C.;

• the purchase of most services to goods (for example, vehicle maintenance, furniture assembly, computer repair);

• the purchase of telecommunication services including Internet access, non-basic cable, non-residential telephone services, cell phone use, satellite services and fax services; and

• the purchase of legal services.


What is exempt from PST?

•    The PST will apply to the same goods and services that were subject to PST prior to the implementation of the HST. All permanent PST exemptions will be re-implemented with the new PST, including:

• all food for human consumption (e.g. basic groceries and prepared food such as restaurant meals);

• most services (e.g. personal services such as haircuts, dry cleaning, funeral services);

• admissions and memberships;

• professional services, other than legal services (e.g. accounting);

• bicycles;

• newspapers and magazines; and

• all permanent PST exemptions for business.


How will I remit the PST I collect?

•    You will be able to remit your taxes:

• online through the E-services website (letters sent to businesses in December 2012 will have additional information on the E-service website)

• at your bank (in person or online)

• by mail

If you’re looking for more information on how to prepare for the transition back to the PST-GST system, a good place to start is the Government of B.C. website,

Ann Harper is a Chartered Accountant (CA), Sage 50 Accounting–Canadian Edition Certified Consultant and owner of Mission City Business Center.

Just Posted

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

Father’s Day Parade planned for Mission

Classic vehicles from the 1920s to the 1970s will drive through Mission, Hatzic on June 20

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

Fraser Health monitors long-term care vaccination rates amid local COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 transmission has largely been on the decline in Agassiz-Harrison

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras contained high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus students Ethan Reid, from left, Brenden Higgins, Ty Oviatt, Kaleb Alphonse, Nathan Kendrick and Landon Brink with RCMP officers Const. Nicoll and Const. Stancec. (Photo submitted)
RCMP thank 6 teens for helping prevent forest fire in Williams Lake

The students came across fire in a wooded area and used the water they had to try and extinguish the flames

Most Read