News and Insights

Telecommunication Services and British Columbia’s PST

Tax Development Dec 20, 2012

British Columbia’s Provincial Sales Tax (PST) Notice 2012-018, “Telecommunication Services”, provides a general overview of how the new PST will apply in respect of telecommunication services, other than dedicated telecommunication services, provided in the province. These services are subject to PST of 7%, effective April 1, 2013. 

Telecommunication services are generally defined to include: 

  • the use of, or the right to use, a telecommunication system to send or receive telecommunications via an electronic device ordinarily situated in the province; or
  • the right to download, view or access audio books, audio programs, music, ring tones, television programs, movies or other videos via a telecommunication system. 


  • Basic cable television services;
  • Local residential landline telephone services;
  • 1-800, 1-888, and 1-877 telephone and facsimile services not acquired for family or domestic use;
  • Downloading, streaming, viewing or accessing audio or video content that are: qualifying educational programs; or live lectures, seminar or similar workshops that allow for real time communication;
  • Electronic books (other than audio books); and
  • Telecommunication services acquired for resale purposes.

It is worthwhile to note that under British Columbia’s new PST, the right to download, view, or access telecommunications via an electronic device ordinarily located in the province are defined as taxable telecommunications.  As indicated in this publication, examples of taxable rights include audio books, audio programs (such as pod-casts, music and ring tones) and television and other videos.

More information on telecommunication services will be provided in future bulletins and notices.

BC Notice 2012-018